Thursday, October 14, 2004
The incident reminds me of Lord Chesterfield's advice to his son (Letter CXXXIV, November 19, 1750, Old Style):
You spell induce, enduce; and grandeur, you spell grandure; two faults of which few of my housemaids would have been guilty. I must tell you that orthography, in the true sense of the word, is so absolutely necessary for a man of letters, or a gentleman, that one false spelling may fix ridicule upon him for the rest of his life; and I know a man of quality, who never recovered the ridicule of having spelled wholesome without the w.There's a Jewish expression about someone who can't spell: "He writes Noah with seven mistakes."
My mother, who never went to college and whose native tongue was not English, worked for many years as a secretary in a high school. She spent a lot of her time correcting spelling errors in documents written by teachers and school officials.