Scott Hanselman

Does Spelling Matter? I think it does.

June 02, 2007 Comment on this post [18] Posted in Musings
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I actually appreciate it when folks email me to let me know about a comma fault or incorrect use of an apostrophe. I tend to screw up a lot and Craig Andera always drops me a note. He went to a better college than I. Er, me?

Hopefully folks don't think TOO poorly of me when I misspell words. Of course, I think horribly of YOU when YOU misspell.

ThinkPad BIOS Flash Update Utiltiy

The real question is, how concerned should I be when my very expensive Lenovo ThinkPad T60p is about to have it's its ;) BIOS flashed by a Utility that's spelled (spelt?) itself "Utiltiy".

Seriously, I think that the more folks use your product, the more effort you should put into Spell Check. Don't let the programmer check his or her own work. Get an editor. Someone with a B.A. in English.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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June 02, 2007 1:20

As a .Net developer with a B.A. in English Literature and Writing, I wouldn't trust my spell checking or comma placing abilities. Although I can sometimes be awfully clever with an apostrophe...
June 02, 2007 2:11
Here, here.
June 02, 2007 2:25
June 02, 2007 2:29
Not as funny as this (no political opinion here...anyone who mis-spells in public should be chastised): Jobs for Tommorrow!
June 02, 2007 2:33
At one point you debated certifications like MCSD,MCP etc. doesn't identify a good programmer so how do you think a B.A(English) guy will make sure there are no spelling mistakes:) It is also a responsibility of QA:)
June 02, 2007 2:49
If you install the right tools into your IDE, little red squiggly will under those typos. At least you have a first line of defense.
June 02, 2007 4:07
Funny you ask that, just yesterday I asked myself the same thing. I was even going to blog about it but then wondered if I was being too harsh. I found "allows" misspelled twice in a SQL Server 2005 properties panel. You can see it here.

Disappointing :|
June 02, 2007 12:17
Its strange how something as simple as a mis-spelled word can give a bad impression about a piece of software.
June 02, 2007 12:25
hmpf. The level of the literate today is not that high, but I dare not bother the general populace.

You Scott however are not general populace so I'll make sure to watch your spellings and usage intently!

As for the IBM junk it might be time to toss the blue and move to a more elaborate, large screened, and powerful machine. I have seen far too many things like that with IBM lately. From their laptops to their Tivoli Software.

I ponder now how well this comment is written. :|
June 02, 2007 15:44
I believe to be strictly correct it's "than I" (I always remember this one by adding the verb: "a better school than I did" not "a better school than me did"). But you can always just claim you were speaking in the vernacular. And I was an annoying, pedantic, perfectionist a-hole way before I got my degree. :)
June 03, 2007 0:37
As being a blogger, who posts in English but does not speak the language natively, I do tend to make spelling mistakes.
That's where spell checkers come in. In WLW, in Firefox, or CopyPaste to WinWord and back. Spelling is not an English Bachelor thing - it's a tool thing. As for grammer grammar - well, get an additorr editor.
June 03, 2007 0:37
Bad spelling's a pet peeve of mine. It makes the product look sloppy and it's a warning flag - my logic goes "if they have trouble following the rules of a language that they've been speaking for 30 years, I should be extra worried when they're trying to speak in a language that they've been speaking for 5 or so years, shouldn't I?"
I, of course, am exempt from my own scorn.
June 03, 2007 5:41
Phew! I thought it was just me that was such a pedant about spelling!

I even correct my own spelling in code comments...

I believe this carries over into coding and how developers name things: poor naming and poor grammer and spelling seem to go hand in hand...

I like Dave Soloman's comment above.
June 03, 2007 7:40
@dave solomon, I couldn't agree more.
June 03, 2007 14:13
@dave solomon - You rock.
June 06, 2007 7:33
Heh who kneeds a spell cheker when u have huked on foniks. It werked fur me and it culd werk fur other developers two. :)
June 08, 2007 8:40
Except for personal or very small projects, developers should not even be writing the text used in their applications. They should be externalized in resource files. A qualified editor (who need not know the first thing about programming) should be writing the UI text.
June 08, 2007 8:42
@mitch wheat,

> grammer

That should be "grammar". :)

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.