Spelling Snark

I think I'll clear up a couple of issues for the world ... or I would, if the world read my blog.

Listen up, world! If you mean voilà!, as in French for "See there!", please say so. Please, please do not say "viola!", which is either 1) a musical instrument or 2) a flower or 3) an old-fashioned first name. Seriously—I have studied several languages at the alphabet level, and have never yet run across one in which the vowel combination "io" makes the sound "wah."

Similarly, "I before E except after C and when sounding like A as in neighbor or weigh (and on weekends and holidays and all throughout May ... Brian Regan, you rock)—and in the word 'weird!' " According to The Oatmeal, every time anyone spells it "wierd," a dolphin gets run over by a jet ski. Think of the dolphins!

The Oatmeal covered a lot of other common spelling errors in the above link. That piece is a little crass in places (okay, it's a lot crass all the way through—sorry about that), but by the end it's definitely harder to forget that there is no A in "definitely."


  1. amen!!! ugh. i can't tell you how much it pains me to see people mis-spell words like that. how hard is it? you don't confuse Couch with Coach, do you? they look similar, but they are DIFFERENT. not the same word, not the same usage.

    it's absolutely unbelievable that some people STILL don't know the difference between "to", "too", "two", and the there/their/they're problem. unbelievable. i'm glad someone else is irritated by this as much as i am. :)

  2. Brian Regan! I first encountered him almost a decade ago, and I've been laughing ever since. Just saw him live for the second time. My face hurt after that night.

  3. Britt, ah, the things that plague English majors and other literary nerds! :) I'm sure people just get a mental block on some of those similar words, but still ... argh. Misuses like those totally scramble the comfortable flow of words.

    Travis, I've never seen Mr. Regan live, but I've heard his CD several times and it keeps me laughing. Often when I see more than one box I think of him and smile.

  4. Or whenever I go into a doughnut shop ;-)


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