Calm down, it’s purely a rhetorical question.
If anyone’s likely to stand up for the good and orderly sequencing of letters, it’s our team of eagle-eyed business copywriters at Wordsworks.
However, talk to kids these days and many will tell you they don’t need to know how to spell, any more than they need to know how to operate a VCR.
Why? Apparently, it’s because of the widespread ability of mobile phones to spell on their behalf.
‘Auto-correct’ spellcheckers are now de rigueur in all modern phones. This software allows users to tippety-tap messages, emails or even school essays quickly and simply – just by brushing their fingertips over an approximation of the letters contained in a particular word.
The computer or phone ‘guesses’ what the intended word is and completes or corrects it on behalf of the writer, who is then free to mangle his next word in equally carefree manner.
That’s all very well, but remove the phone or computer from their mitts and present them with, let’s say, a Bic biro, and many are stumped.
It’s a situation not lost on UK businesses, which are increasingly faced with polishing graduates’ written skills before unleashing them on precious clients.
Shockingly, in a recent survey conducted by charity Mencap, one-third of UK respondents couldn’t spell the words ‘definitely’ or ‘separate’ – while a whopping two-thirds couldn’t spell ‘necessary’.
Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring sounded a warning bell, saying: “We are heading towards an auto-correct generation in which many Britons have a false impression about their spelling ability. Today’s tough economic climate means that poor spelling on a CV is fatal, as it says that an individual cannot produce work to a given standard, no matter how highly-qualified they might be.”
Here at Wordsworks, we recommend turning off your phone’s auto-correct function for at least one day a week, just to keep your cerebral cortex – and your fingertips – as sharp as possible.