Academic casts a spell

13 Aug

It makes a great news story: the university tutor who has collected and published examples of poor spelling and illiteracy from his students.

The problem is that good spelling is more a sign of experience than of intelligence given the notorious irregularity of written English. While I agree that good written communication skills should be expected of all graduates – and are essential for PR graduates – it helps to admit to our own howlers. Here are some of mine:

  • I circulated a questionnaire among staff when at school as research for a magazine article. Many gleefully corrected my use of ‘favor’ in place of the conventional UK spelling.
  • When I worked as a typesetter, I produced a menu for a local pub. They came back months later to ask me to insert a second s in ‘lemon mouse’.
  • As a PR consultant, I pitched my plans for a product launch to a very large client. Problem was, the slide said it was a ‘press lunch’. Hard to justify the expense.
  • My wife – who now writes for a living – once completed a graduate job application for the role of a university Accommodation Officer. She spelt accommodation wrong throughout (easily done) – and failed to be shortlisted.
  • In recent years, I misnamed a local university in a presentation to colleagues. There’s a second s in Teesside. Odd, but true.

5 Responses to “Academic casts a spell”

  1. Stephen Davies 13/08/2007 at 11:46 am #

    My latest blog post title is: “Facebook security flaw found.”
    Didn’t always say that though. “Facebook security floor found” was the first attempt.
    Not that I didn’t know the difference between flaw and floor. I just had a “Doh!” moment.

  2. Heather Yaxley 13/08/2007 at 1:55 pm #

    The idea of a lemon mouse will keep me smiling all day – thanks.
    Of course, the greatest fear working in public relations is omitting that first l. Haven’t we all done it? Worth setting the autotext to correct it automatically.

  3. chris marritt 13/08/2007 at 4:48 pm #

    Neither of these are admissions, as such, but both are funny.
    From my hacking days, a story once went out on the wires under my name with the following intro:
    “A woman today told of how she woke up in enormous paint…” (I blame copy-takers.)
    A colleague at a similar time had a story about illiteracy go out with “literasy” in the intro.(He blamed subs.)

  4. Sherrilynne 13/08/2007 at 7:47 pm #

    I once wrote a newsletter story on pubic relations. Never noticed until it was published.

  5. Philip 20/08/2007 at 5:58 pm #

    I invariably write that my head is attached to the flabby bit below by a kneck…

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