April 29, 2010 | By: Tracy

Hooked on Phonics, Does Not Work For Me

If there is an area of my writing I know is a potential pitfall -- aside from my comma usage paranoia and tendency to lean a little heavy on the ellipsis -- it's my spelling skills.

I know the whole "I before E, except after C" mantra, but it's surprising how many exceptions there are to that rule, and my ability to find them.

Microsoft Word's auto-correction is both a blessing and a curse, because it fixes most of those mistakes for me. Unfortunately, it takes me that much longer to burn the correct spelling into my brain. Not to mention, I feel lost when MS Word isn't a fallback option.

Perfect example of this is a comment I just left on Terry's awesome blog, A Writer of Wrongs. In my comment to him, I was using this whole analogy that revolved around being a fish (you have to read the comment to understand. It makes sense, I swear). Anyway, right at the end I wanted to use the word barracuda ... except I didn't know how to spell it correctly.

Blogger, unlike my beloved MS word, doesn't really give you much help other than the nasty red, dotted underline that says "Hey Idiot, this isn't a real word, ya know.After several failed attempts at guessing a correct spelling, I finally gave up and went with shark instead.  

Then I decided to look the spelling up in the dictionary. It took me forever, because my freaking "Hooked on Phonics" style brain was thinking the second letter was an "E"... and when that didn't pan out, I went to "U". Ten minutes later, when I went with my third choice for the letter "A", I found it.

Normally, I think of myself as a relatively intelligent person, but at times like this I find myself questioning that notion.

I'll tell you one thing ... I doubt I'll ever forget how to spell barracuda now! In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if that darned word doesn't find a way to work itself into every future manuscript I write.

8 witty remarks:

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

LOL!!! Tracy, just accept the fact that you ... ... ... 'don't know nuffin'. ;)

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Ok, I suffer from the same thing as you. I just had to come back now to make sure I didn't type 'except'. :)

Terry Towery said...

I'm actually a very good speller, but grammar gives me fits still. Who? Whom? I usually flip a coin. I mean, really, whom cares? ;)

JustineDell said...

Hahaha, you're funny, Tracy. I'm not a perfect speller and I have my grammar issues too. Like you, I get frustrated with places that don't have spellchecker (Bransforums for one) and I end up making a total fool because I've mispelled something. Grrr. You are not alone. We need a support group. Or a demand for spell checker on everthing...lol.


Shelley Sly said...

I'm usually an okay speller, but like Terry, it's grammar that really gets me. Every once in a while, I come across a word that I absolutely can't spell. Like "privilege" (I looked it up) -- I'm always writing "privelege" or "privilidge". I guess we all have those words. Congrats on barracuda! ;)

Tracy said...

Jessica - Ha ha, I'm paranoid about the "accept" vs "except" mix-up all the time. I know the difference, but my brain doesn't always think it all the way through.

Terry - I consider myself duly noted, in the event I should ever receive a "To Who It May Concern" letter from you. ;o)

Justine - You and I could start up the ACA - Auto-Corrections Anonymous. Let's do it!

Shelley - Occasionally is the word that gets me every time. There are two c's and two l's... why does the s get ripped off?

Mary McDonald said...

Well, hey barracuda is a cool word. Can't go wrong with that. I lol when you went with shark instead. I do that so often.

Slushpile Slut said...

Hey Tracy!! You can right click on the red lined word and it will give you suggestions....I'd be leaving all kinds of misspelled words in my comments if I didn't right click...Hope this helps!

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