Patted Too Airily

A piece on spelling bees. My powers of spelling correctly have diminished dramatically down the years. I reckon I was a better speller aged 10 than I am now.

But who cares? I am willing to bet a fiver that the harder a word is to spell, the less likely its ‘mis-spelling’ results in misunderstanding. Is someone really going to tear their hair out trying to figure out what the writer means by ‘dessiccated” when standards dictate that he ought to have written ‘desiccated‘? Or ‘acommodate’ instead of ‘accommodate’?

The whole spectacle strikes me as being all about maximum conformity to arbitrary rule. Or an ideological purity contest.

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2 Responses to “Patted Too Airily”


  1. 1 Kevin June 18, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    In, I think, 2nd class of primary school, the teacher would give us a weekly spelling and tables test. Practice for the afternoon’s Countdown, I guess. I never managed a perfect performance, unlike many of my friends. But on one occasion, when 19 out of 20 spellings and sums were found not guilty to any charges of aberrancy, I cried and cried and cried and cried. The teacher had taken my ‘D’ for an ‘O’, a letter which doesn’t at all sound like a ‘D’. But when I explained this, red-faced and covered in tears and snot, she actually refused to amend my score, refused to even consider the issue. I had spelt the ‘decide’ completely wrong, she said, now do your corrections.

    I hate that bitch.

  2. 2 Hugh Green June 18, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Jesus, talk about annal.


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