Spell check, autocorrect, and texting shortcuts: what hath we wrought?

20110105-text010511My 68-year-old uncle texts like a 13-year-old girl.
My mother, a former English teacher, is confounded by the whims of her cell phone’s autocorrect.
I spend a good part of my day deciphering the emails of friends and coworkers who, lulled by the false sense of confidence that spell check brings, confuse their “there”s, “its,” and “it’s.”
Meanwhile, I hold myself to an impossible standard, cringing as I glimpse the tiny typo as my own email leaves my outbox, and mortified when someone else spots a single mistake among the thousands of Web pages that I manage.

What are we to do in this era where more people than ever are utilizing the written word, but the laws of grammar and punctuation are being re-written in the process?

Hug your editor. Send a signal in the sky for WordGirl. This is the time for the wordsmiths and style guide mavens to step up and wield their pencils with a balance of assurance and humility.

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