I'm lucky in that spelling has always come easily to me. For whatever reason, I can process the rules of spelling and more often than not come up with the correct spelling. I know that this is not the case with everyone and I can accept that fact. However, there are occasions and people that I find it hard to accept correspondence from if it is littered with spelling errors.
Why do spelling errors bother me so much? People make assumptions about you based on what you write, especially if they don't have contact with you face to face. The Internet has brought us to a time that it is entirely possible to be taught a college course by someone you've never met in person. What impression do you want to give people when you're writing a business email? This is particularly important for those who supervise other employees. This is particularly important for those who teach our children.
When I receive an email or a non-handwritten (obviously word-processed) message and it has multiple spelling mistakes I wonder about the intelligence of the person who wrote it. I can admit I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but you can bet that I make every effort to try to spell things correctly. I don't need someone thinking I'm an idiot because I can't use the spell-check function on my computer. The spell check function is precisely why it's completely unacceptable to have multiple spelling errors in any computer-based document. And it takes, what? 30 seconds to use? You can even left click and be given correct spelling choices.
Here's where I will allow (only slightly more) slack: homonyms. For those who can't recall their elementary grammar lessons, homonyms are words that sound alike but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Things like: its, it's, do, due, there, their and they're, your and you're. I'll cut you a little more slack, but I can't promise I won't laugh at you behind your back. Spell check is useless in this situation. The words are correctly spelled, but if you don't know the correct meanings for the words, you're still going to look like an idiot.
Let me help a little. (Only some of the definitions are listed here. There may be other uses of these words.)
Its: Belonging to it. Possessive form of it. The bird flapped its wings.
It's: Contraction meaning it is. It's a beautiful day today.
Do: To perform, execute, accomplish, serve, work. He will do his math homework.
Due: Owing or owed, expected to arrive. The plane is due at noon.
There: In or at that place. (As opposed to here.) I can't wait until we get there.
Their: A form of the possessive case of they. They bought their new car yesterday.
They're: Contraction meaning they are. They're enjoying the concert.
Your: One's (used to indicate belonging to oneself or to any person) Your idea was my favorite.
You're: Contraction meaning you are. You're looking lovely tonight my darling.
There are many more homonyms that I'm sure will give many people trouble but alas, I am only one person. Perhaps I should start a weekly spelling and homonym post to raise the level of spelling greatness in the world.
It makes me very sad when I receive correspondence from people who are supposed to be teaching my children (especially when they are grading my kids' weekly spelling tests and passing judgement on them) that have multiple spelling errors. It seems to me that spelling should be one of the very first things the teachers should pay attention to when writing to the parents. Spelling mistakes from teachers in particular are unacceptable. If the teacher doesn't care about spelling how can he/she instill caring in the kids?
If nothing else, send your email to me first. I will edit it for you before you send it out. Please.
(I'll have you know I ran spell-check and I had four words misspelled...but I FIXED them.)