Business Communication

Over 20 Surprising Spelling Mistakes from College Seniors

Can you spell graduation without a computer? A college senior probably couldn’t.

I remember what shocked me the most when I began teaching college students – their poor grammar and spelling skills. I’ve come to realize that the primary reason for their poor spelling and grammar is Microsoft Word. The magic Spell Check and Grammar Check are literally deleting the requirement to remember all those “annoying” writing rules. Without those handy dandy wavy green and red lines – college students suddenly become quite uncomfortable.

A colleague of mine and I were talking about this a few weeks ago and he offered to use his upcoming midterm, which was an in-class handwritten essay, as an example for me to review. He shared these with me last week so I could take a look at some of the common errors. The students in this class were all college seniors.

These were the most popular and repeated mistakes I saw. (If you can’t find the errors, don’t worry – I put the corrections here: Corrections.)

I don’t want to loose any points.
Because they are experts and your not.
Pay attention to there needs as a customer
On several occassions
Leading resteraunt
Better alterative

Perhaps on a really good day, I can forgive some of the mistakes above. Maybe they were nervous taking the test. Maybe they were in a hurry. But the mistakes listed below are almost unbelievable. Take a look:

Carear Choice
Take those ideas and digg deeper
Start puting those words together
Non literal interperation
Finley aged wiskey
Your punisment
Arodynamic wings
They watched the hole time
On the possitive side, the product may be freasher
Greating cards
Used as a wieght for fishing
Dieing car battery
Horse rase
Creative stimulis
Our staff can renivate an old building
I want the product to reach the customer in tact
Have the person wright it down
Marketing campane

This one is by far my favorite. I couldn’t find a place to cut it into pieces – so I put the HOLE thing in.

“Can I get this service in the middle of no ware? Does the fact that I live in the middle of no ware no cost more? How can you garenty they will be fresh?”

These are COLLEGE SENIORS writing this – on an EXAM. These aren’t casual handwritten notes; they are deliberate statements they prepared to be graded by their professor. They also aren’t simple mistakes like freind or sceince (remember that annoying rule? “I” before “E” except after “C”?). Nor are they mistakes we can all forget at times like “Tommorrow” (Is it one “m” and two “r’s” or vise versa?) or even “Entreprener.” (MOST people can’t spell this one right – its almost as hard to remember as miscellaneous.) The mistakes I found were whoppers. Oh, and I didn’t include all of them, there were more than this.

To their defense, there were some intelligently handwritten essays in the pack. Their handwriting was even pretty. However, it was painfully obvious who was used to writing by hand and who wasn’t. The truth of the matter is –regardless of how smart you think you are – no one will think you are smart if we can’t read your handwriting, or worse – can read your writing and we laugh at your mistakes.

There is value in writing by hand – even if it is just writing a personal journal. Writing by hand isn’t only a mental exercise; it is also a kinesthetic process. Not only do you have to rely on your own grammatical and spelling knowledge, but also you have to think a lot slower because your hand can only write so fast. Your mind and body have to work in a much more coordinated effort.

Asking your brain to communicate to your hand to hand write something is a wonderfully refreshing exercise. I highly recommend it and if you can. Try to write at least two pages in one sitting. You might actually be surprised at how many words YOU don’t know how to spell.

2 replies »

  1. I’m just reading this article because I have a college senior step-son. The spelling mistake z I see from him over the last 4 years are alarming. He has too much of an attitude to accept the criticism, he takes it as an insult or blows it off as “it wasn’t a serious statement when I was writing it.”

    His recent spelling errors were some big words but some even 1st grade level.

    Hamer instead of hammer
    Paper instead of paper
    Fourty instead of forty.
    Constantly put dollar sign after the number 100$

    Basically everything is spelt like it sounds instead of learning proper spelling over the years. His attitude and over-confidence in life gets people to do things for him and compliment him to the point it makes his head swell. Unfortunately adult are going to be too embarrassed to correct such grade school errors that he’ll probably continue to go through life never knowing why. And when I try to help, I’m just the mean step-dad insulting him.

    • Hi Dave,
      Thanks so much for your comment! I too, continue to see these kinds of spelling errors, especially when students are handwriting an assignment. It is quite frustrating. Let’s not even begin to discuss their, there, and they’re or even your or you’re! I commend you for continuing to work with him on these details. They are especially important when it comes to job hunting after college. Perhaps show him this article 🙂
      Best of luck!

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