Monday, September 4, 2017

Does good spelling still matter in the age of Trump and Twitter?

I sure think so, even though I'm a self-professed bad speller who still cringes with embarrassment at the errors I've made on this blog and elsewhere over the years. Making sloppy spelling errors, especially for lawyers, affects one's credibility in a profession that values attention to detail and the self-discipline needed to avoid such careless mistakes.  Surprisingly, however, this recent editorial from the New York Times argues that good spelling doesn't matter as much as it used to in the age or Twitter when people are composing on smartphones and dealing with the foibles of auto-correct.  Indeed, the author, Farhad Manjoo, even goes so far as to urge that we all cut the Twitterer-in-Chief some slack when it comes to his spelling gaffes that have made him the butt of many jokes on late night TV.

Judging from the response by the NYT commentariat, Mr. Manjoo's editorial is the minority position. Most of the people who left comments believe we should uphold standards when it comes to typos and misspellings. Details still count and the reality is that others will judge you - sometimes harshly - in a professional context based upon your ability to get the details right by avoiding sloppy mistakes. Contrary to Mr. Manjoo, I'm not willing to cut Trump any slack for his Twitter snafus and instead suggest they represent yet another example for students of what not to do.

But what do you think? Does good spelling still count or are those who care about such things hopelessly out of touch with contemporary culture and values? Let us know in the comments below.


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