As a professional writer, I like to think it matters when words are spelled correctly and used correctly. I’m usually trying to convey something specific when I write, and sometimes I agonize over choosing exactly the right word with exactly the right nuance of meaning.
But then I received my October 2011 issue of Peter Bowerman’s e-newsletter. He included a link to this video, which I found not only comical but thought-provoking (in spite of the raciness in places):
I mean, really, it’s amazing that we can decipher the story fairly easily, in spite of the preponderance of faulty homophonous substitutions! (Know what I mean?)
It reminded me of this email that was going around several years ago, using the following paragraph to demonstrate the power of the mind to find the meaning, even when words are jumbled:
Arocdnicg to rsceearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm. Tihs is buseace the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
If people can read this and understand it, why do I spend so much time carefully crafting messages? Is all that editing, refining, and re-writing necessary? Is proofreading important?
I’m hoping to post an answer next week, but I’d like to hear your thoughts about this subject. Please post a response in the comments below!