As you may be able to divine from the title of my post, spelling errors are one of my pet peeves. In fact, it was almost physically painful for me to write that headline. *shudders*
In a way, the written word is less forgiving than spoken interaction. The presence of homophones (words that sound the same but are completely different) allows for a certain level of imprecision. After all, the “three 2’s” (two, too, to) all sound exactly alike. But writing is less ambiguous, almost by necessity. When speaking face-to-face with someone, we can pick up subtle cues from body language and intonation in addition to phrasing. But when writing, all those cues get lost. We are left with a threadbare facsimile of the finely detailed tapestry that is human communication.
So accuracy and precision become more important with the written word almost immediately. In fact, written language is itself structured to follow certain rules of grammar and spelling. Writing things down also gives them more permanence, as a written record has the potential to outlast any individual involved in its creation.
Maybe that’s why I despise spelling errors so much: I strive to be able to communicate in a succinct and accurate manner. It’s probably the scientist in me that dislikes this sort of ambiguity so much. I just wish other people would take the time (or do the research) to keep their communications as clear as I try to. That’s not to say that I don’t make mistakes; I’m not perfect. But I do take a certain pride in being able to communicate effectively that seems rarer than I’d like these days.
Now get your lolcats off my lawn you kids! Don’t make me sic McKean’s Law on you! *shakes dictionary*