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Is Typing Ruining Your Ability To Spell?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the my-spellchecker-sure-thinks-so dept.


NSN A392-99-964-5927 writes "My handwriting abilities have deteriorated over the years. Putting a real pen to paper, I get frustrated over how to spell correctly, as I am so accustomed to using a keyboard and knowing where the letters are. Having spoken to a few friends, I've found that this has become apparent to them, too. I've noticed that my grammar is also affected; maybe this is because I spent too much time on IRC and lowered my standards. Hand-written words are now becoming obsolete. There is often no need to think about writing anymore, or about how something is spelled. Are other Slashdotters having the same problem? (I'm used to Telex machines, which should give you an indication of how old I am.)"

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I don't know, but... (4, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#29120891)

...using a spelling-correcting keyboard has made my typing skills deteriorate noticeably. It's especially noticeable when I'm trying to use vi.

Re:I don't know, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29120933)

What's a spelling-correcting keyboard? I've heard of programs that correct spelling, but not keyboards...

Re:I don't know, but... (3, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121249)

Maybe he's using one of those hackable Mac keyboard with all the spare storage and processing?

FingerWorks TouchStream (4, Informative)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121441)

It's a multitouch keyboard that does dynamic spelling correction based on what you've already typed, what you type next (it issues backspaces to correct prior keystrokes), and the fractional location of a finger-tap within or between key areas. It's slick beyond words. Apple bought the tech, and is ever-so-slowly dribbling it out in their iPhone/iPod Touch and trackpads.

Re:I don't know, but... (5, Insightful)

VoyagerRadio (669156) | more than 5 years ago | (#29120993)

That's why I've always maintained correct/proper capitalization and grammar and compete sentences, even in IMs and IRC chats. In fact, it actually slows me down when I have to purposely corrupt a text message in order to reduce its size (such as on Twitter or SMS).

Re:I don't know, but... (4, Informative)

larien (5608) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121111)

Working in a large business where writing professional emails helps as well; I purposely try to use proper capitilisation and punctuation as required.

That said, I rarely write anything these days and it's often just a scrawl when I do. My writing was never up to much anyway, without practice it's deteriorated.

Re:I don't know, but... (2, Interesting)

VoyagerRadio (669156) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121471)

Yes, that's pretty much how it's worked out for me, too. I even have difficulty signing my name sometimes, but that's mostly because cursive is my most unpracticed form. (I really admire some of the cursive scripts some folks are able to produce. My parents have wonderful cursive handwriting, so it boggles my mind that mine is so illegible!) One reasons I've maintained proper punctuation (and grammar and capitalization) -- or attempted to, anyway -- is because I fancy myself a writer, even if the vast majority of my writing is actually done through forum posts. Someday I'll get it together and write a novel, and when that day comes I want to be well-practice in my typing skills (so as not to detract from the narrative). I don't want to get into the habit of "sloppy" writing.

Re:I don't know, but... (5, Funny)

winkydink (650484) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121241)

capitalization is especially important - consider the sentence:

i helped my uncle jack off a horse

Re:I don't know, but... (3, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121467)

I'm a serial comma fanatic:
To my parents, Anne Rand and God.

Re:I don't know, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121351)



Re:I don't know, but... (2, Interesting)

Chrisje (471362) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121375)

I never, ever use a spell-checker. Be it in Dutch, German, English or Scandinavian, I'll always consult an old-fashioned dictionary if I don't know how to spell a particular word.

But ultimately when it comes to spelling, grammar and general eloquence, there's simply no substitute for erudition. An erudite individual will have a better grasp of language.

Re:I don't know, but... (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121065)

I haven't encountered any spelling or grammar problems myself, but the handwriting has gone completely bonkers, but it has never been any good.

Re:I don't know, but... (2)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121163)

I haven't encountered any spelling or grammar problems myself, but the handwriting has gone completely bonkers, but it has never been any good.

And I've noticed the hand-writing has gotten much better because I'm more careful now, since I don't use it very much at all.

As far as spelling goes, how can you not learn to spell more correctly, as auto-correcting features SHOW you how to correctly spell what you're trying to spell?

Re:I don't know, but... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121207)

I know my hand starts to hurt if I have to write more than a couple of paragraphs by hand.

Re:I don't know, but... (1, Redundant)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121385)

As far as spelling goes, how can you not learn to spell more correctly, as auto-correcting features SHOW you how to correctly spell what you're trying to spell?

In deed. May spelling know is match better then be four eye cute relay on the computer too Czech it.

Re:I don't know, but... (1)

DikSeaCup (767041) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121307)

Ditto. I find I get my grammar practice by writing my blog (so, it might suck but I don't think it's gotten any worse), and spell checkers tend to aid me with my occasional spelling issues. My cursive has never been particularly readable, and my print is usually all caps. I scream when I write in print.

I'm one of those people that refuses to sacrifice proper English when I Tweet or text. If I'm running out of space, I'll start by doing number words to numbers (eg, "1" instead of "one"), and "and"s to "&". If I'm still running out of space, I'll do my damnedest to rephrase my thought into a smaller sentence or sacrifice superfluous words. I will break messages up into multiple messages rather than resort to anything resembling "leet speak" (with the rare exceptions of using "lol" - there's a fine line between "common shorthand" and "leet speak" that I will not cross).

Re:I don't know, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121067)

Typing won't hurt your spelling. It'll just point out to the rest of the world that you're a lazy bastard who can't be bothered to proofread. Or that you're such a fucking idiot that you cannot differentiate between "loose" and "lose" or among the various homophones of "they're". It could be the most interesting and informative post in the world, but as soon as I encounter one of those I stop reading it instantly and move on to the next. If I have mod points and I see stupidity like that, I try to find an excuse to mod the post down. I know some of you might say "but Mr. AC, some of us are not native English speakers" and this will generally make you sound like a baby crying, except without the urgency. If they're not native speakers, I say fuck 'em, let 'em learn. If they won't learn, let 'em fuck off. Next argument please.

So yeah, like I said, typing won't make you worse at spelling. Typing will just give you an easy way to reveal how stupid and semi-literate you are to the rest of the world. You might be respected and admired at your workplace, or in your home, but as soon as you come onto Slashdot and write "loose" where you should have written "lose", the whole world will instantly know what a fucking moron you are. That's why some people dislike typing or grammar nazis.

Re:I don't know, but... (0, Redundant)

linebackn (131821) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121089)

I couldn't live without it, butt my spiel cheekier can old dew so much.

Re:I don't know, but... (2, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121269)

It's especially noticeable when I'm trying to use vi.

It automatically changes vi to vim?

Re:I don't know, but... (1, Redundant)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121361)

No, that would be up to ln -s /usr/bin/vim /usr/bin/vi.

Re:I don't know, but... (2, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121323)

This whole topic doesn't make much sense to me. A word is spelled the same way, whether you're writing it or typing it; a properly phrases sentence doesn't change based on the medium in which it is written.

Yse (2, Funny)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 5 years ago | (#29120907)

Tpying ahs runed my ablty.

Re:Yse (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121479)

I have a feeling this thread is going to gather so many spelling and grammar nazis that you'd think you were in Buenos Aires!

I have never been the first to post. (-1, Offtopic)

VoyagerRadio (669156) | more than 5 years ago | (#29120909)

I have never been the first to post.

Re:I have never been the first to post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121017)

Keep it up!... I know some day you'll succeed.

Anonymous Coward - The #1 First Poster!!!

Re:I have never been the first to post. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121403)

Why would you want to? No matter how funny, insightful, or interesting, a first post is almost guaranteed to be modded down. If you have excellent karma it shouldn't matter (karma to burn, baby!), but it still does, because a comment that's modded to oblivion won't be seen by anyone, so why bother posting it at all?

In this case I'm modding myself down with the "no karma bonus" because it's only directed to you, and you'll see it in your "comments" notification.

No, but (4, Funny)

warrax_666 (144623) | more than 5 years ago | (#29120917)

it's ruining my ability to finish a

I just jacked off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121009)

Made a little mess..

Not just spelling ... (3, Insightful)

nervepack (632230) | more than 5 years ago | (#29120929)

... penmanship is no longer a scholastic requirement. Long live printing!

Re:Not just spelling ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121001)

Hear, hear!

I haven't written anything since the fifth grade, nearly 15 years ago. All I do is print, and type.

Re:Not just spelling ... (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121165)

Hah, yeah. Though I don't mind that so much. My only grade less than an A throughout my K-12 years was a B in handwriting.

Absolutely! (1)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 5 years ago | (#29120951)

My handwriting has been reduced to chicken-scratch and the characters vary between block and script for no apparent reason; it is just what comes out. I sometimes even have trouble writing characters such as 'e' or 'q' where I have to concentrate to make sure they look legible.

Re:Absolutely! (1)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121007)

However this has not effected my spelling in the least, unless illegible characters count for misspelling.

Re:Absolutely! (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121463)

I know what you mean. Since the introduction of chip 'n pin credit cards I don't even have to sign my name any more. In fact there are only two reasons I ever pick up a pen now. 1) To write a birthday/xmas/greeting card for someone and I really have to concentrate to make sure its legible. 2) If I go to a seminar and want to scratch a few memory joggers in a notebook. Typically you have to write quickly when doing that, and it looks atrocious. I don't think I'm too bad with my spelling though.

The last time I tried writing properly I got as far as half a side of A4 and my hand was killing me !

Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29120955)

You're getting old, that's all. Of course, as a society, we judged it is more important to have tools sheds on Mars and nice cars than invest in anti-aging technology.

Well, that and the age and alchohol (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#29120957)

Thank god for spill check.

Re:Well, that and the age and alchohol (0, Redundant)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121239)

I'll drynk to that!

Re:Well, that and the age and alchohol (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121317)

Now if you had a *cat*, at least you would be able to thank her without such ambiguity you just made.

I don't think it has been a problem. (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#29120965)

I usually try to stick to full sentences when typing(though my abuse of commas and parenthetical comments is egregious) so I don't think that it has done my grammar much harm.

Spelling, also, seems to be ok. Because I can't quite trust automatic spell checks, I still find that making spelling mistakes carries a small cost in time and annoyance. However, my spelling mistakes do annoy me a great deal more when I am writing; because I don't have an easy way to look up corrected spellings and corrections tend to be messy.

As for "writing" more broadly, I've not found any reason to think that computers reduce the need for that. Until we come up with an interface that allows me to dump mental state directly to the machine, and shove that around, writing will still be the only real option for expressing complex ideas in a reasonably precise and concise manner.

Re:I don't think it has been a problem. (5, Funny)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121273)

Abuse of parenthetical comments? Like having nested parenthetical comments that make reading the original difficult? I do that too.

The recommended solution is the use of footnotes[1], since somebody can jump down to them, read them, then jump back up and easily reread the whole sentence ignoring them[2].

[1] Like this.
[2] Further footnotes allow nesting without any difficulties[3] such as avoiding parentheses mismatch.
[3] That said, nested footnotes should be use sparingly[4], as with too many layers it can be hard to reverse back up the stack.
[4] And recursive footnotes should never be used[4].
[5] Unreferenced footnotes are also something to avoid.

Re:I don't think it has been a problem. (1)

Vovk (1350125) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121439)

i wish i could mod this up.

Re:I don't think it has been a problem. (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121487)

[4] And recursive footnotes should never be used[4].

At least it's a tail-recursive footnote[1], so a good brain will just infinite loop, rather than overflowing the stack.

[1] Unlike a non-tail-recursive footnote[1] would look like this one.

No (4, Insightful)

GroundBounce (20126) | more than 5 years ago | (#29120975)

Typing has definitely reduced my ability to hand write quickly and legibly, but not my ability to spell. I think spelling has been affected more by the fact that I write much less now than a long time ago.

me thinks the opposite (1)

pigphish (1070214) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121013)

Having quick/convenient access to a spell checker, thesaurus, and dictionary has increased my orthography. My penmanship is another story but that wasn't the word processors fault to begin with.

not at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121015)

In fact, I believe my spelling has improved because I try to learn from the spell check feature.

Re:not at all (1, Redundant)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121123)

Ewe shed knot tryst you're spill chucker.

Re:not at all (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121177)

I have found the same thing. Though years of IRC and IM have definitely made me lean further and further towards typing how I speak, and further away from how I would write a formal paper. Here, I tend towards speech... because....well.... fuck the gramar and speling nazis in their asses.

Though marrying a southie girl has actually caused me to remember many of my grammar rules.

"Baby 'I saw' not 'I seen'"
"fuck you" :)


Maybe it's this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121027)

Early onset Alzheimers? Just kidding

Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121381)

I may have alzheimers, but at least I don't have alzheimers.

My hand hurts (2, Funny)

nmrtian (984245) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121037)

When I get out the fountain pen I write about two lines and my hand starts to hurt. I have to stop and use a dictionary to spell and I have to think before I write otherwise my sentenced on-run and make don't sense much.

Re:My hand hurts (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121427)

Well played.

I find my spelling has actually improved over time (3, Insightful)

Coolwave (714139) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121045)

I have always been a terrible speller it was always my least favorite part of school because it was a matter more about rote memorization and nothing to do with logic. I find the instant feed back loop from modern spell checkers, the ones that underline mistakes once I complete a word, help me to learn the correct spelling.

My problem is even now that my spelling is better I still have no confidence in my ability to spell when I don't have that safety net.

Re:I find my spelling has actually improved over t (5, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121201)

Your problem isn't that it's rote memorization -- I'm terrible at anything requiring rote memorization. Your problem (and a lot of other peoples') is you don't read enough books. I urge you and everyone else to acquaint yourselves with you local public library, or if you're in college, its library.

Readaholics never have trouble with spelling, unless all they read is the internet.

Obligatory Indiana Jones quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121407)

you don't read enough books.

It tells me... that goose-stepping morons like yourself... should try reading books instead of burning them!!

I'm getting better. (5, Interesting)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121047)

My IM client (pidgin) underlines misspelled words in red, as does firefox, so I've found that my spelling has actually been getting better. I tend to actually learn the correct spelling over time.

Re:I'm getting better. (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121147)

Funny, I've found the opposite. As I lean more and more on Firefox, Outlook, et al to validate my spelling, I start forgetting the spelling of specific rarely-used or oddly-spelled words. I just look for the red squigglies rather than stopping and thinking about the word, and possibly looking it up if I'm unsure.

Your Jealous (4, Funny)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121057)

I think you're problem is their are people out they're who got better grammer then ewe and your just jealous.

It's not the typing (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121059)

It's a lot of things, but not typing. Of course, tyling produces typoos, but that's not a matter of spelling, it's a matter of hitting the worng keys. A little proofreading fixes that.

Spill chuckers oar bad four spilling. Eye wish pee pull wood stoop ewe sing them.

Personally, when I see someone using the wrong homonym, like "the ball is in there court", it has a negative effect on my opinion of their intelligence. The same goes for the misuse of apostrophes; WHY do people think you need an apostrophe for a plural? Sometimes I'll reply with a link to the Bob the Angry Flower cartoon "Bob's quick giude to the apostrophe, you idiots" [] .

Maybe it's being innundated by posts from sub-adults who are texting in class instead of paying attention to the teacher.

2 L8, brb

Re:It's not the typing (1)

moranar (632206) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121213)

it's homophone, not homonym (things that sound the same, not things that are named the same).

Re:It's not the typing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121337)

Of course, tyling produces typoos

I can't figure out if you did that on purpose or not...

Re:It's not the typing (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121425)

Personally, when I see someone using the wrong homonym, like "the ball is in there court", it has a negative effect on my opinion of their intelligence.

It shouldn't, though. Well, okay, systematic misuse of homonyms is one thing. On the other hand, while I tend to have decent spelling and grammar, without a doubt the most common errors I make are homonym or near-homonym substitutions. These include their/they're/there, where/wear, and a whole host of others. And make no mistake, I know full well how to use those words correctly. But they're very easy errors to make (especially if you write like I do, dictating in your head while composing), and especially difficult errors to spot if you aren't very careful when proofreading (as, again, they "sound" correct in your head). Heck, I even make the ol' it's/its mistake from time to time, and I find myself annoyed when I see someone else make that error. :)

The real problem is that typing makes it dead easy to just hack up a piece of text without taking the care to edit and proofread properly. Personally, I tend to obsessively edit and re-edit my emails and so forth before ever hitting the "Send" button, but I suspect most people don't share the same tendency. The result is that errors simply slip through.

Now, that said, if I ever see someone use "walla" instead of "voila", or "alot", I feel the uncontrollable urge to smack them with a trout.

Re:It's not the typing (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121489)

Whoops, obviously I meant homophone, not homonym. Thanks a lot, OP. :)

Re:It's not the typing (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121431)

I've also resorted to Bob the Angry Flower, and even wrote a perl script that will silently fix many things I read on IRC and HTTP, so that I don't go insane.

Typoxy: typo correction by proxy (sample image) []
Typoxy: typo correction by proxy (perl script) [] Typoxy: typo correction by proxy (starter ~/.typo file) []

Re:It's not the typing (2, Funny)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121447)

The same goes' for the misuse of apostrophe's ...

There, wronged it for ya.

Terrible (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121061)

I've always had bad handwriting, now the only thing I write is a debt card signature and even doctors would look at it and ask "WTF is that supposed to say?".

tihs hole thred wil b ful uv doodspeek (1)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121063)

lol wut

Spelling? (3, Interesting)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121073)

My handwriting has gone to crap, but what does that have to do with spelling? If anything, I would think that spelling would be more likely to improve, thanks to the slower pace of writing by hand. I pay more attention to what I am writing when I have to take the time to write it out by hand.

If the quality of your writing is going down, I suspect that has to do with the quality of the writing you are consuming.

Spelling is fine, legibility, no (1)

ArtemaOne (1300025) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121077)

My handwriting legibility is low, but my spelling and grammar isn't affected. Maybe people who allow themselves to type poorly also write poorly with a pen, but that was originally intentional, right?

No (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121115)

Handwriting vs. typing has nothing to do with grammar and spelling. Just read from quality sources and write or type with proper grammar and spelling. If you spend most of your time reading Twitter the quality of your grammar and spelling will drop whether you handwrite or type. When I was a kid we were told to read the NY Times to improve our vocabulary and grammar.

My spelling got better (1)

SlothDead (1251206) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121135)

The instant spell checker and easy access to thesaurus has actually improved my spelling. Though I switched to stenography when writing on paper since I grew too impatient to use that silly letter drawing method called "writing". (If you really want to know, I use "Stiefo" where each word is one stroke and it does not work for english)

True. (1)

Poorcku (831174) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121145)

It is about perceived effort and value. Writing a full letter on traditional paper involves the increased effort to foresee what will be written down, so that once in the middle of the letter you won't have to go back and correct it (which implies writing it all over again). This "fear" of errors decreases the likelihood of committing them. Topic, orthography, grammar and even calligraphy (which increases the likelihood of your message getting across) are all helped by this conscious effort. Whereas typing on a machine has made our lives easier in the sense of mass producing shit :) and tons of unneeded documents, but has severely diminished our abilities to write a simple sentence down on a piece of paper without making a fool of ourselves. Moreover, consider that in an organization almost 80% (citation needed) of all documents are all templates, the only requirement being the changing of some header or the person receiving this memo or whatnot. LOL :)

PINs and other codes (2)

KJ the Wanderer (1620001) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121149)

I can't say that my speeling has gotten any worse the more I type, but something I have noticed is I cannot for the life of me remember any of my PINs or other such codes. My fingers know where to go while I'm at the console, but the last time I was asked for the code to disable my security system I could not for the life of me remember four numbers. Had to dial the phone to figure it out.

Not quite what you think ... (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121155)

I'm a pretty decent touch typist, about 300 characters per minute. My spelling and grammar are quite good, even in my second language (English).

Putting pen to paper however, does give me the same effect that you're having, but not quite as you describe it. It's not that I suddenly don't know how to write certain words - it's just that I'm used to writing them at 300 characters per minute, but using a pen I can probably only do 60. In other words, I have to slow down my thinking.

This results in badly spelled words which does look like I'm somewhat dyslexic, but when I focus on being slow, I don't have an issue when using a regular pen. Doing this is highly frustrating - it feel like you're an idiot, which only exacerbates the issue.

I've seen the exact same thing happen in people who aren't used to using a keyboard. My parents are very used to writing things by hand and can probably write 100+ characters per minute that way, but give them a keyboard and they are slowed to a crawl and their error rate soars.

As for IRC, IM, SMS etc. lowering your standards? 4 sre. Y wrt fll wrd whn u cn sve tm?

You can't make other people write proper English (or whatever language) if they don't want to. All you can do is write it properly yourself. If you want to be a smart ass, you can always correct their writing for them if they're talking to you. Or pretend (or as the case may be, not) that you haven't the faintest idea what they're trying to say.

Once you make people realise, that they aren't saving time by not writing full words (or the like), they'll either stop bugging you (and thus won't detract from your own abilities) or they'll start writing properly again.

Just hit them over the head a few times when they write stuff like "I should of done", "Its not you're fault" or some of the similar mistakes. But let me hear that you through a thrown threw a window, understood?

Use it or lose it (1)

MalikyeMoon (1600085) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121159)

I force myself to spell correctly (even when typing) and can't stand what I read within MMOs, or even in the workplace most of the time these days. I also try to never use a calculator, and it allows me to retain my ability to compute in my head. The grammatical ability of the average person I game with is just atrocious. I am chastised for correcting people with "what are you an English teacher?". What they don't realize however is that to the rest of the world, they sound ignorant. I do find that I type quite a bit faster than I write these days. My writing was never great, but it has definitely declined. More importantly, I tried to write in cursive not long ago, and realized that my brain/hands have forgotten some of the letters. If you don't use it, you might not lose it entirely, but you do lose your proficiency!

So? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121175)

If you need to have good handwriting to earn a living you a probably working for a greeting card company doing the inserts.

For everyone else... It is just faster and more economical to type.

Yes, with the advent of the auto-spell checker, you don't have to often memorize certain spellings but in a business environments where deadlines are looming, do you need to whip out a dictionary every time you need to write an email?

For a car analogy, think of how people who never learned how to use a manual and only drove automatics. Yes, their manual shifting skills are somewhat degraded, but if they can drive a car fine then who are we to say they need to learn how to use a stick.

Re:So? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121261)

Sadly, I re-read my first sentence and feel a sense of irony creeping in. That said... No one pays me to post on slashdot so it really doesn't matter.

Is this a confession? (4, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121199)

What is the point of this confession or whatever it seems to be? Do you want my attention? Do you want me to agree with you? I don't... I've been typing and using the interwebz for about 14 years now with plenty of IRC, 1337 speak, and degenerate behavior --- and in all that I have maintained my cognitive capacity to recognize the difference between the variants and the proper.

I think your problem (if you feel there is any, such as an employer wondering why you write like a 12 year old), probably stems from the lack of regard for your variance as 'variance', and embracing that way too often, if not completely, as a way of life.

In excess, nearly anything can be problematic. Maintain a balance between work and play; in this case having a deliberate regard for maintaining both your interwebz-bs-style and your proper-for-work-and-standards style.

What I mean is... you need to actually give a shit about what you're doing. Degenerate yourself for fun, but not for habit.

I've found the opposite (1)

Hungry_Myst (1614225) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121205)

My spelling and hand writing are absolutely atrocious, and would be with or without computers as I'm mildly dyslexic (this has been tested and documented). In the case of my spelling however, I've found it improving as I use computers. When I have a spell check constantly telling me what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it, eventually some things stick. It doesn't work for everything (such as using the wrong word with the right spelling), but it helps. Not to mention being able to hand in work that's nicely typed and legible, something that would be difficult for me otherwise.

No (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121217)

Spelling is not something I do with my brain. It's something that happens somewhere near the top of the spinal cord. My brain sends words to my fingers and on the way my motor functions translate the word into a sequence of muscle impulses that correspond to the keys I press to make the word. This is exactly what happens to people who write a lot with a pen too, only with muscle impulses for moving a pen, rather than for pressing buttons on a keyboard. My mother, for example, can't spell complex words aloud if you ask her to, but can write them down with the correct spelling if you give her a pen and paper. I type more words in a day than I write in a year, so I've given up caring about my handwriting.

As for the quality of your grammar deteriorating, that's probably caused by reading things written by chimps. An infinite number of chimps on an infinite number of typewriters will write the complete works of Shakespeare eventually, but a few dozen on IRC won't.

Ummm what? (1)

SraL (320007) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121229)

Aren't both handwritten and typed words spelled the same??? So whats the issue?

It's a matter of basics. (1)

elrick_the_brave (160509) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121251)

I became very aware of grammar and spelling in high school. To that end I integrated it into my life. Typing has successfully kept my writing messy and I do find myself having to slow down the brain to write some stuff. If you stick to the fundamentals and apply them while typing, you should have no problems. Practice!

It's called School. They teach writing there. (1)

Garbad Ropedink (1542973) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121257)

Didn't you go to school? You spend a good 12 years of your life writing on paper pretty much every day. When you hit university you become a master at writing by hand. The only real option is that you were never good at writing to begin with.

It's not like leetspeak was invented by some English professor who just sat down at a computer one day and said 'hey replacing letters with numbers is a lot easier than just using regular words'. It was invented by dumbass kids who weren't any good in school, never read books and played video games all the time. Really, is that the sort of environment where great literary minds flourish?

Telex? I missed the reference. (1)

Zinho (17895) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121259)

Could someone explain how "Telex machines" date the submitter? Wikipedia isn't much help [] on this.


Muscle Memory (1)

BurzumNazgul (1163509) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121263)

I've noticed the same thing in my own writing. When I type I think of the whole word I want to create and my fingers enter it on the keyboard. I don't think of the individual letters I'm typing if it's a common word.

For example: If I'm trying to write the word calender I always forget how many a's and e's to use. When I'm typing I think the word 'calender' and my fingers seem to remember how the word is spelled.

If you've ever watched a spelling be (don't pretend you haven't) you'll have noticed that the contestants will sometimes trace the words out on the back of their cards.

Very true (1)

Novotny (718987) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121277)

I used to be very proud of my handwriting. It now looks like the work of a drunken four year old.

handwriting is painful... (1)

MadCow42 (243108) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121287)

I rarely hand-write anything anymore, and find that although I can type over 80wpm, I can barely hand-scratch an illegible paragraph without significant hand pain. My writing quality - and even my signature - has gone downhill over the last 10 years to the point where it's almost useless.

What I think is now putting it over the edge is that I broke my thumb, and although it's now healed, it's painful to properly grip a pen. In the old days, forcing myself to write would have probably been enough physio therapy to help that, but I do it so seldom now, it just keeps me from trying.

If we have a nuclear war and all our electronics get toasted, we're in trouble...

google is ruining my ability to spell (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121299)

When I'm guessing, I type it into the little google text box to double-check. Thats more reliable than a spell-checker.

Re:google is ruining my ability to spell (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121345)

I do that all the time.

Can't say I have that problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121301)

At my job I spend all 8-9 hours in front of a computer. Typing for the vast majority of that time, like was said above, Firefox is kind enough to tell me I spelled something incorrectly. Several years ago I used a chat client that spell checked on the fly in the same way (can't remember which one it was). Those pieces of software are what made me the spelling master I am today.

Now my handwriting, that's a different story. Since the only person who ever sees my hand written notes is myself, it looks more like a Pollock painting than a manuscript.

Yes. (1)

calspach (1538595) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121333)

I think it has, I know that I at least rely more on spellcheck than I should. Especially with the autocorrect, at least when it just does a squiggly line I have to look at the correct spelling from a list of possibles. When it just automatically fixes my teh's to the's, there is no reason for me to change the way I type. What would scare me is to turn off spellcheck for a day. I wonder if I would even be able to respond to emails from my co-workers. And the children, they are even worse off, they are growing up with this kind of correction, giving them no incentive to learn to spell.

Schools still in the dark ages (2, Insightful)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121335)

I don't know about where you live, but the school curriculums I see are not doing nearly enough to prepare our kids for a lifetime of typed communication, which they surely face. Penmanship, while still important, is the only way kids are being taught in most schools. It's time to teach kids to be proficient typists and spellers using keyboards to at least the same extent as old fashioned written communication.

Great, but who cares? (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121353)

I keep hearing people bemoan the loss of technology that has been overshadowed by computers... why? Why is writing by hand special? The whole point is to get information down in some way, and using a keyboard to type it into a computer is superior in every way. If you say that it makes it less human you are simply begging the question -- how do you define "human" and why is it necessarily a good thing? If you went back in time an asked an australopithecine how they felt about evolving into homo sapiens, they would be terrified and try to do everything they could to remain australopithecines. Why are we so afraid of change when it could be so beneficial to us and our ancestors?

Ruined? (1)

blg42 (1484007) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121387)

"Ruining" would imply that my ability was at least marginally good to begin with...

Bad summary (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121389)

The question posed in the body is whether typing has ruined your ability to write things out by hand -- either printing or writing.

For me the answer to that question is yes.

But most people seem to be responding about their ability to spell. In that respect the only thing I've noticed really is that certain words have become hard-wired and I might think "their" but between my brain and the keyboard, "there" is what comes out and I have to back up and correct it.

I've also heard that message sent by the brain to different fingers travel at different speeds. Thus when I'm typing furious furiously, i, o, and u often don't come out in the correct order and I'll have to correct again.

Script, Block and Type (1)

ipoverscsi (523760) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121393)

Typing is much faster than writing, but I find that typing all day does not affect my ability to spell when writing by hand. In fact, because hand-writing is more permanent (there is no backspace), I find its slower pace actually improves the way I write, for I have to spend more time thinking rather than just typing and correcting.

No doubt others will be in a similar position when I say that my script writing (cursive) looks terrible, but that is merely a lack of practice. Bad script is not a modern invention, however: while at a naval museum in Virginia, I could not decipher the captain's log book for all of his chicken-scratchings.

My block printing is readable, albeit very small --- I write in an eight-point font.

My biggest lament about computers and the Internet is that they have reduced the already small working-set of words to what may truly be the lowest common denominator. There are many fine words in the English language that I would love to use regularly but cannot because people don't know their definitions or dismiss me as an arrogant SOB for using big words. The flip side is that when people can't spell "definitely" (definatley) or "lose" (loose), I immediately stop reading and disregard their comments regardless of quality or pertinence.

It's not typing... (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121395)

Being sloppy and not paying attention to spelling has reduced your ability to spell.
Typing something versus writing it with a pen is no excuse for bad grammar and spelling.

If this really worries you, how about spelling things properly when you're typing? The world will thank you.

Perhaps (1)

BertieBaggio (944287) | more than 5 years ago | (#29121433)

I'll add +1 to your sample. To be honest, I've noticed my spelling becoming much poorer both in script and in type. For me there is also a transpositioning of both letters and sometimes words, which sounds almost like a facet of dyslexia (I don't have other features of dyslexia that I know of). I don't know what the cause is, but my guess would have been automatic spell-checkers making it unnecessary to think about whether a word is correctly spelled or not.

It's inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29121453)

Spelling mistakes and bad grammar are inevitable. There are several factors at work that make us more conscious of them.

First, we have less time or take less time to review what we have written. This isn't as bad as it sounds, because it is partially the result of the second factor; We write orders of magnitude more today than we did in the past. This is a very good thing. If people are constantly practicing writing and are conscious of their mistakes, we may end up with a whole generation of excellent writers.

Unfortunately there is the third factor. Your mistakes are more noticeable because you contrast your writing to ppl that right lik this they have no clue about speling or gramar or punctuaton they think its ok to right trash like this becuz its easy for them they dont think about the reader

Odds are your writing is not any worse on the computer than it would be if you only wrote by hand. You're just less likely to have time to correct mistakes, make more total mistakes because you do more writing, and are more sensitive to it because of the junk some people create. Just maintain some self-consciousness about your writing and some respect for the reader, and you could easily end up a better writer than you would have otherwise.

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