How do you freak out a perfectionist? By sending a message like this:
Not only have I got no idea how to respond to this, I’ve also spent the last one and a half hour going through every post I’ve made to correct all spelling mistakes (and I only got through September and October 2014…). Which is stupid, silly and useless, for three reasons:
- I use three spell checks for everything I write on here. I even installed a special language pack for my web browser, which automatically underlines mistakes. The pack is based on British English spelling, because that’s what I was taught in high school and my philosophy is: pick a spelling and stick to it. So British it is.
The second spell check is Google. If I “invent” a new word (e.g. “inexorability”) and my first spell check doesn’t recognise it, I google the word and voilà! I instantly know whether it is an existing word and if I’ve spelled it correctly.
Thirdly, even though most of the time I find it more annoying than helpful (why would I want to change “eight” into “ate”?), I use the WordPress Proofreader after I hit “publish”.
- I realise that when I make a typo, neither one of the spell checks is going to mark it as a mistake (e.g. writing “that” instead of “than”). So to minimise this, I proofread and edit my story at least five times before I press the publish button, and at least as many times after.
- I am not perfect. I am a human being and no matter how hard I try, English will always be a second language to me. I’ll never be 100% skilled at it, because my native language is Dutch and anything else is just extra (which is also why I use extra spell checks).
But the paranoia has struck and now I must go through all my posts again before I will be able to sleep tonight. I am sure the message was well-intended and harmless, but here is my advice to whoever is about to give someone unwanted advice:
- Sugar-coat it. No matter how good your intentions are, it’s scientifically proven that typed messages are always negatively interpreted. That’s why people invented emoticons and smileys. I don’t mind to receive feedback if it means I get to improve myself, but I’d like it better if it’s accompanied by the occasional smiley ;)
- If you are going to tell someone off for (in this case) their spelling, at least make sure yours is spotless. No offence, but I find it hard to accept this kind of “truth” from someone who can’t hold down Shift long enough to make a capital letter (to name one thing).
- Instead of just telling people they’re making mistakes, give them (an) example(s).
Now I’ve got that out of my system, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has ever visited Dictionary Dutch for coming here and reading my stories, and especially everyone on WordPress who chose to follow my blog. I never in a million years thought I’d have even one follower, but now I’m nearing fifty (and I still can’t believe that!). So thank you all very much! :)
I promise to get more involved in WordPress in the future, to visit all your blogs and leave messages where I can. But as for now I am swamped with work, study and personal affairs. But I never break a promise, so be on the lookout for me :)
PS: I am so used to receiving no comments, I always forget to check my spam queue. That’s why I only reacted to this message now.
PPS: I chose to not allow this comment to appear on my blog because it’s not related to what I write about (as in: the story content). Again, all tips and feedback are welcome, just add a lot of sugar-coating if you’re going to tell me something I didn’t ask your advice about.
PPPS: Although I love the expression and I suspect I am going to be using it a lot in the near future, I have to ask: are my posts really “rife with spelling issues”?! :(