Watching last week’s National Spelling Bee prompts this thought: Do we really need to be able to spell? In a world where brb and smh have meaning for many people, and where light to lite saves you one out of those 140 characters, don’t we all just know what people mean without niceties like spelling and grammar?
Not good enough.
Here’s why: using language correctly is a signal to your reader that you were careful in your construction. Subconsciously, carefully wrought indicates carefully thought. In other words, people give your ideas less credence if you spell things wrong. You can see this if you ever read comment threads. Someone will say something, and someone else will say “that’s dumb. And so are you, because you don’t know its/it’s.” Then there is a little flame war over how uptight someone is to care how people spell in comments. The whole central point is lost.
I might let you make an argument for some of the finer points of grammar (actually, unlikely), but spelling I will go to the mat for. It counts.