Thursday, March 18, 2010

Grammar's Cruel Cousin

I don't mind grammar. I don't adore him like some of the Pens before me, but I do have a successful working relationship with him.

It's his cousin spelling I hate.

Spelling has had it in for me since I was a kid. He does to this day.

Spelling is a devious one. He lets me have the hard words, just to give me a false sense of security. Conscientious. Mischievous. Albuquerque. Those are easy.

But lettuce? Whenever I make a shopping list, I inevitably spell it "lettus."

Sense versus sence? If it wasn't for that squiggly red line that pops up, I'd have no idea which is correct.

Decipher? I swear it should be desipher. Or maybe descipher. (And yes, this is an important word to a mystery writer.)

The most frustrating part about being spelling challenged is that I often don't come close enough for spell-check to recognize the word I'm trying to type. I stared at the word finness the other day for 5 minutes. (The correct spelling turned out to be finesse. Crazy, huh?) Talk about killing my inspiration when writing a scene.

I know what you're thinking: Now that I've written a whole blog post about how lettus is supposed to be spelled lettuce, I'm sure to remember it. But no, that's the kicker. When I think back on this, or any other word I can't spell, my brain will refuse to remember which is the right way to spell it and which is the crazy Gigi way to spell it.

Well, I have a garden now, so I shouldn't have to write lettus on any more lists--at least through summer. I'll take these small victories where I can get them.



CJ West said...

I can relate. The worst is the open compound that becomes hyphenated when used as an adjective. Is it really possible to keep them all straight? Thank God for Webster.


L.G.C. Smith said...

My brother has always complained that spell-check isn't all that helpful because one has to be roughly in the ballpark for it to work. My own particular spelling challenge lies with words with double letters. Disappoint, accommodate, exaggerate and the like never, ever look right, no matter how many times I've checked them.

Overall, though, I love English spelling because words carry their history with them, and it's so easy to see where a word has been. Yes, it's a pain in the backside to learn. So worth it.

Unknown said...

Go you for not letting it stop your writing! :)

I feel the same way about the lie/lay rule. I even read through it again while writing my post, thought, oh that makes sense, and if you asked me today I couldn't remember which one has an object with it that makes it the right word.

Adrienne Bell said...

Necessary always gets me. Is it one C or two? Two S's ? Dang, I know one of them is a double, right? Maybe it's 3 S's or 4 C's. Screw it. I'm going with "Essential" instead.