Poor Spelling

11th February 2004 · Last updated: 5th October 2016


Can't anyone spell properly anymore? I'm tired of seeing silly mistakes on web pages, in programs, in magazines, everywhere spelling should be considered important. If you can't spell properly, then run your text through a spellchecker!

One of my pet hates is when people get "loose" and "lose" mixed up. Why??? I see this all the time. It makes no sense to get these words mixed up. In the registration screen for Newsmonster, the Mozilla and Firefox extension for reading RSS feeds, they get the words mixed up. I wouldn't mind but half the options in the window are also hidden off the bottom edge. (I find that a lot with Mozilla windows - they don't seem able to expand automatically to allow for long lines of text.)

Aggreg8From a similar program called Aggreg8 comes a range of spelling mistakes you'd have thought the programmer would have spotted. Here he seems to have trouble spelling "Category". The Aggreg8 website also falls foul of similar errors. [Click on the thumbnail to see the full-size screenshot.]

Perhaps these aren't all spelling errors but merely typos? The product of a programmer short of time? In any case I would like to add that in no way am I putting down the software itself. I know the examples here are two useful (if sadly buggy) programs that the programmers have put a lot of effort into. I just wish they would get someone to check for errors before releasing any further versions.

Comments (11)

Comments are locked on this topic. Thanks to everyone who posted a comment.

  1. dusoft:
    Sometimes it's difficult, when you do one man show and you want to release it soon. I knov it, I doo mistekes, to.

    Posted on 12 February 2004 at 9:00 am
  2. Ian:
    What specifically is your problem with 'poor' spelling (have you thought about the ever increasing number of dyslexics in the English speaking world)? What upsets you about this?

    English suffers from incredibly bad orthography - and this is a resultant symptom of that. Being dyslexic, I find it generally arrogant of people to correct my mistakes as-if it signifies some sort of stupidity. Brains of dyslexics simply process language in a different way, which outside the realms of spelling tests, only negatively impacts those dyslexics who are made to feel inferior by criticism of their spelling.

    Posted on 12 February 2004 at 8:30 pm
  3. Chris Hester:
    So it's OK to allow mistakes? Or should a note be made that the author is dyslexic?

    I've nothing against people with a spelling problem, but they need someone to proof-read their text if it's highly likely to contain errors people will mistake for a lack of intelligence. This has always been the case with book publishing. But the net allows anyone to publish freely.

    Some of the greatest minds are dyslexic - a classic example is Nicholas Negroponte (founder of the Media Lab etc). He uses email every day and publishes articles, but I don't see words with letters mixed up in them. I don't see "lose" where "loose" should be.

    In quickly written text, I'd expect 1 or 2 mistakes, but in a program interface, it should be free from spelling faults. The problem probably lies in the way programs like Aggreg8 are hand-coded by one guy, working alone. But even then people must have tested the program, pointed out any obvious errors?

    One last thing - I too make mistakes. I missed a letter out in a post I made yesterday and had to correct it!

    Posted on 12 February 2004 at 9:05 pm
  4. Moose:
    Time to turn off offensensitivity, Ian, and others who think the same. This is a final product, and there is no room for typos, just like there is no room for typos in school textbooks. Period.


    Posted on 13 February 2004 at 6:03 am
  5. Adam:
    While I agree that there is no room for typos in publishing, I think the root problems are bad english orthography (shouldn't it be orthografy?) and a reliance on spell-checkers. Notice that a spell-checker isn't going to catch the loose/lose example.

    Posted on 13 February 2004 at 3:10 pm
  6. Moose:
    Someone who is responsible for putting "cetgory" instead of "category" should be fired on the spot.

    The guy above claims that he is offended that such outrageous typos are even pointed out, but he seems to not give a damn that who knows how many users can be critically confused when using software with such crap in it.

    Yes, let's project our own inferiority complex on all others. Good solution!



    Posted on 13 February 2004 at 3:31 pm
  7. Chris Hester:
    "Notice that a spell-checker isn't going to catch the loose/lose example."

    Good point! Even Word's built-in grammar checker probably wouldn't catch that one. There's another example where both words are correct, but only one fits the meaning. If only I could remember it.

    Moose - please be careful what you post. I do not wish to upset my visitors. If anyone - including yourself, who I have great respect for - stirs up flames or unacceptable levels of bad feeling here, I'll have no choice but to edit or delete such posts. In the extreme I will close the page down, so no more comments can be made.

    Posted on 13 February 2004 at 10:09 pm
  8. Chris Hughes:
    It should be possible for a grammar checker to differentiate between "lose" - a verb, and "loose" - an adjective, surely?

    Posted on 14 February 2004 at 12:28 pm
  9. Chris Hester:
    I just did a quick test in Word with the grammar checker on. All the text below passed as OK:

    I had to loose the trumpet.
    I had to lose the trumpet.
    I had the trumpet to lose.
    In the end and then again.
    Nothing is nothing is real.

    Clearly the first line is wrong. Yet Word didn't spot I should have used "lose" not "loose".

    Posted on 14 February 2004 at 8:50 pm
  10. dodo:
    i don't think i will trust using that software every much.

    Posted on 23 February 2004 at 4:38 pm
  11. inti:
    you're all forgetting that maybe, just maybe, the guy releasing an opensource application for you all to freely use is german, italian, peruvian, japanese...
    i do think everyone should spell-check their typing or even better: get it spell-checked by someone else, but you just can't expect them to actually do so.
    look at it this way... it's a small price to pay if you're getting a free application in buggy english instead of arabic doodles.

    tolerance, try it.

    Posted on 28 February 2004 at 8:02 pm