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I wish we'd all try a little harder with spelling, punctuation, etc.


I include myself in this because I've left out words that totally changed the meaning, or transposed letters, used the wrong words, left out a key phrase. I don't usually misspell cause I'm a pretty good speller. But I wish we'd all try harder.

Here are a couple of things I can think of:

o the word is avOcado not avAcado
o the word is "have" not "of"
o lack of capitalization is annoying
o I'd like to be told when I've misused a word. For instance, I never thought about "panini" is the plural so "paninis" is wrong. Now that I know, I'll try not to make THAT mistake again :)
o Could we all take the time to proof our posts before sending?

Are there other things you can toss into this pot that we can learn from. I'm sure I'm guilty of things and would like to be less annoying to those here who put up with ME. This is probably going to get deleted because we're not supposed to tell people what to do but I'll run it up the flagpole anyway.

  1. CH has always been a "spell free" and "grammar free" zone (it was that way in the era of Leff and it continues to be so - thank goodness). If someone is misspelling the name of a restaurant or street name or town - or some other material fact that needs correcting - then that is the one exception to prove the rule. Otherwise the grammar police will completely take over the site (see grits is/are for an example of what could come to a local board near you).

    7 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      I never knew that. Yes, I'd hate to see grits anywhere except on my plate. I just try to not read the biggest offenders. But maybe proofing for content? I've confused people by leaving out words, etc. And all caps and no caps? Please???????????

      1. re: c oliver

        I'll back you on the caps - now THAT'S annoying!

        1. re: Cachetes

          Well ever try typing without glasses in brite sun on a boat on a laptop with it rocking. Also leaving at 4 am with 4 hrs sleep I am sure does not help the grammer. I am lucky I do as well as I do. And when I get home, my eyes or so used to bright sun, lamps are really hard to get used to. I worked as a manager and many other professions in which this was an important quality for someone to have, however, this is a food site. Sorry, but I care less about my spelling, I do my best but if I spell something wrong, no caps, I certainly don't go back and change them. I may realize it is wrong but it is the least of my concerns. I love the site, but isn't it about food, not spelling or grammer or is it.

          1. re: kchurchill5

            I agree with you (which I mention below); I really don't care about misspellings or grammatical issues here, since for me this is a site about food, not grammar or spelling . As for caps, I don't care if there are no caps, only if there are all caps. It really does seem like shouting.

            1. re: Cachetes

              Alright, I've done a partial circle but I still wish that people would do at least a quick reread because sometimes big errors occur or we write things in such a convoluted way that it's hard to understand.

              1. re: c oliver

                Yes, sometimes something that seems clear in our own minds is clear as mud to others.

      2. re: Servorg

        Don't assume anybody here knows what all the acronyms and emoticons means ....especially when referencing a location or place, e.g., MOMA.......what's a MOMA?....

        Personally, I don't know many myself and have to look them up.

      3. I actually think CH is much better than other online communities in this regard. I'm pretty impressed by how literate most people here are. And I agree with Servorg that when the grammar police take hold, it can be very stifling.

        I say, let a hundred flowers bloom, and if it happens to occure with correct spelling and grammar, all the better.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Thanks, MMR. I hadn't seen that.

            1. re: c oliver

              And if you start at this particular post and continue down to Alan Barnes having some fun with ee cummings (that literate devil - Alan I mean) you will see the meat of the exchange as it pertains to your question: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6123...

          2. I wish that before people search for the perfect mararoon that they would first learn how to &*$%ing spell it with TWO "o"s. Sorry for the shout :)
            When there are several mispellings in a single post, I expect that english is not the poster's native language, and I give them enormous credit for what they have learned. English is a difficult second language.
            And for a few of us, it sometimes has to do with that third glass of wine...

            3 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              I think you're saying that people should learn to spell it macaroon rather than macaron? I'm not sure if you were being serious, but if so... When people post searching for the perfect macaron, they're not looking for macaroons (i.e., the almond or coconut type), they're looking macarons, the French cookie. Different spelling (and pronunciation) of the same word, but also a different type of cookie, materially.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Once again, de tar baby, he say nuthin'.

              1. While I agree that the grammar/spelling police can be a bit stifling, I'm in complete agreement with you on trying a little harder. Perhaps, there can be a balance.

                I participate in a couple of online communities. There are varying degrees of tolerance for structure and/or content. I've seen complete meltdowns when a poster was chastised for all caps, lack of punctuation, incorrect spelling, or was the recipient of a simple statement like, "Paragraphs are your friend."

                While this is a site devoted to food, not literature or composition, we interact by use of the written word. Making certain that what we mean to say is properly expressed can usually be accomplished by a quick proof-reading of our posts.

                1. I have thought about this topic as well, and while I admit to having (please forgive me) a terribly conceited, and unfortunately prejudicial, inclination to disregard writing rife with bad grammar and misspellings, I have softened somewhat on the issue over the years. We all have our peccadillos and none of us are foible-free.

                  I agree with you in principal c oliver, but also with the “Leff-ites”. This is Chowhound, not Grammarhound. Food is the fuel around here. “Yelling” is annoying, and positive, encouraging feedback is greatly appreciated. But, I’d hate to see us start picking each other apart like a leftover turkey.

                  Now, before the phone calls start, I am the first to acknowledge all the typos and dangling participles I may have perpetrated on this great community (and hopefully there haven’t been too many). I compose my posts in Word, spellcheck, then cut & paste. So I'm trying too!

                  :-) Smiles for everyone! This site really makes my day, every day! :-)

                  1. I'd hate to see people feel shy about posting for fear of having their grammar or spelling graded. Everyone here shares an interest in food and that's good enough for me.

                    Also, English is not the first language of every poster. I guess if there is a question about a post we could ask for clarification. Often that isn't necessary, though.

                    I'm just here for the food. :) :) :)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: fern

                      re: your second sentence

                      That’s exactly why after years of chatrooms, blogs, and sites like Chow, I’ve softened on the grammar/typo thing. In a normal conversation we’d all be speaking to one another, face to face. Punctuation and spelling wouldn’t be an issue, so I don’t make it one in this forum.

                      1. re: fern

                        You just posted exactly what I was going to say! As a former English teacher I used to get a little agitated when I saw major grammatical and spelling errors throughout posts but I've learned to overlook it in favour of finding good chow. 99% of the time it's perfectly clear what someone is trying to say and we've all made silly typos on occasion (although after spotting a few of my own in old posts, I'm a little more careful now!).

                        1. re: fern

                          I'm in total agreement with you fern. And, I never understood the issue with capital letters either. You don't actually hear a person yelling do you :)

                          Written word is also a form of expression. Different strokers for diff folks. Please do not change a hair for me good food people.

                        2. As others have noted, while it's great that this forum has many posters who take great care in checking their spelling and punctuation, we don't aim to attract just well-educated posters who have English as their first language. And, we'd rather have a great chow tip with some spelling errors than miss out on the chow tip because the person was intimidated or didn't have time to spell check.

                          -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                            Okay, I've conceded the spelling and grammar points :) I do think just a second reading from a content standpoint would be nice. Some posts get VERY confusing and people truly don't know what a poster is saying. I'd also vote for caps at the beginning of sentences and no all caps. And it seems that the *native borns* are the worst offenders. Those with English as a second (or third) language seem to do the best.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I know I'm guilty of using no caps at times. Now that I know it annoys readers, I'll try to do better. I have to say, though, that I will probably not edit every post I write, I'm far too impulsive for that. Promise to work on the no caps thing, though. :)

                              1. re: c oliver

                                As long as posts are chowish and on-topic, we ask that everyone let others write the way they want to. For some that'll mean multiple edits to ensure that every word in their multi-paragraph paean to Babbo is just right for conveying the experience, and for others it's a dashed off tip about finding great doughnuts at the gas station out by the Interstate. For most people, it'll be somewhere in between. In the end, it's all about the chow.

                                1. re: Jacquilynne

                                  Jacquilynne, I'm sure you are aware that the first edit always works, but later attempts are a twilight zone.

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    I don't actually understand what you mean here, Veggo. Can you explain?

                                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                                      In the old days multiple edit attempts were almost impossible when the "time to post lag" was operational. Now I don't have any problems (except to remember not to "page back" to my post - and in that case I need to reload/refresh the page to get to my latest version of my post. Maybe Veggo is harkening back to those earlier times when editing was almost impossible?

                                      1. re: Jacquilynne

                                        When I do a first edit I always get the text in blue and it is easy to add - change -delete. When I attempt a second edit, I don't get the blue text, and I often get the original, unedited text, and sometimes the second edit doesn't "take", or may require a very long time to appear, if it does. A second edit, for me, is clearly more cumbersome and less certain than the first.
                                        EDIT: This is edit # 1, working as usual.
                                        EDIT: This is edit # 2, gee, I got the blue text and it seems to be working well.

                                    2. re: Jacquilynne

                                      So we can write in accents? Just no humor allowed?

                                2. I'll bite. Homonyms really seem to trip people up on any message board but I've decided that for me it's best to just to puzzle out the meaning when I can or ask the poster their meaning if I can't. Me? I can't bear bare bears.

                                  Where this community shines is tamping down the 'netspeak I h8 2 trnsl8. Some abbreviations are problematic and I can get irked and pissy when an abbreviation can be misinterpreted.

                                  I do try to proof my posts but some things slip by. For me Firefox with built-in spell-check is a great help but it does not catch all words. And sometimes I just mess up.

                                  1. Often times a spontaneously written review, constructed grammatically poor with rampant misspellings, are so filled with passion - a rewrite *could* lose the intent being conveyed. In my world, passion and academia are at opposite ends of the pole. Food should always live on the passionate side. Just my thoughts.

                                    But I do understand that some things, when repeated, are just plain annoying.....

                                    1. Sometimes, the chow tips from the people who are typing hurriedly and one-handed because they are holding the world's most amazing [insert your fav here: square of dark chocolate, burger, slice of pizza, banh mi, cookbook, ice cream cone, BBQ rib...] in the other are the best ones.

                                      I would hate for people to hold back their amazing chowtips just because their spelling/grammar/typing skills are lacking.


                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Okay, I've conceded the s/g/t parts. Would you along with no all caps, no lc at the beginning of the sentence and a brief read through for major omissions.

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          But, seriously, no. Whatever "style" people choose to post in, works for me if the chowtips are good enough. One of my favorite posters never starts a sentence with a capital letter, another speaks in the 3rd person, another posts in all caps... These folks view this as part of their personal style and if that's important to them, I can deal. What irks me are mean people.

                                          EDIT: oh, and I'll also make the point that I often post while multi-tasking, doing a million other things. While some people may just rather I wait until I have more time to post, for me, it might meAN the difference between participating or not participating at all. I understand if people are posting under less than ideal circumstances.


                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          IDO NOT HOLS A BEER IM ONE GAND AN PIZZS IM THE OTJER WHOLE I TUPE WUTH NY MOSE1

                                        3. Expressing yourself using standard grammar, spelling and capitalization makes you sound sane and knowledgeable. Sounding sane and knowledgeable makes others trust your opinion more. Since I strive to provide trustworthy (and hopefully interesting, even) opinions, I likewise try to rite gud.

                                          Also, yes: avOcado, not avAcado, and should HAVE, not should OF. Spelling it wrong once is a typo. Spelling it wrong multiple times is a gap in one's knowledge base that can (and should, if you ask me) be easily rectified.

                                          1. Upon hearing about chowish goodness in an open venue, I'd rather enjoy and muse upon what I've heard rather than critique the mechanics of speech and presentation - the same for writing.

                                            1. This just begs the question ...all this concern with caps and you choose the handle "c.oliver"? What would the nuns think of that?

                                              On a serious note, it would be nice if Chow had the option of spellcheck. While I realize that most browsers have it, a good many people are unaware it is there. If there was button to push to check spelling, it might encourage more proofing.

                                              1. Cath, you sound like both my wives; walking dictionaries. I have a degree in Russian, speak good Norwegian and get along in Finnish and Spanish, but I can't spell in English or type worth a dam(sic) and I'm a frickin' English teacher. For me, the spelling and typing take away from the fun of Chowhound. I envy the wonderful writers here and admire good grammar and punctuation. I am an English teacher and I can't spell well. It's a running joke that I'm always asking my wife, how do you spell....? and try to find the correct spelling on google w/out losing the post. (I'm also a computer moron.). My left hand was wounded in Nam and doesn't work as fast as the right and I can't type. Funny I can edit spelling in my students' work (Did I say I was an English teacher?), but can't spell myself. I keep a jar of candy on my desk for students that catch my spelling errors. I notice mechanics errors on CH and breathe a silent thank you, I'm not the only one. Good spellers are born not made. One of our sons got 3 800s on the SAT's, but can't spell worth a dam (sic). Couple the above w/ the fact that I have a very full life and often write hurridly (How the fuck do you spell the adjectival form of hurry???) between classes, late at night w/ enough to drink that I shouldn't drive or as an insomniac, write in the wee hours when I'm not fully awake. So please relax your sphinter and accept that everyone is not like you and enjoy the food. I struggle to write on this forum. Thanks, Jim Leff.
                                                And thanks Gio for the Spelle Czech poem, I've been looking for it.
                                                ps Can some Brit please check C Oliver's spelling, just for fun? Everything is relative, you know.
                                                I'd be right chuft if you's kerb me and hit me w/ a spanner. nick my rubber and knock me up in the morning, but don't give me a lift, because I'm married.
                                                pps If we wanted to be "authentic" we'd use the origianal "aguacate" for butter pear, but oh, "authentic" is another thread.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                  "(How the fuck do you spell the adjectival form of hurry???)"
                                                  --hurriedly :)

                                                  many of us are for various reasons hurried while typing away on chowhound. it's not our master's theses. . . it's not our blog. . . it's not even an email to our mom. it's supposed to be fun! don't sweat it, i can understand you just fine.

                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                    "...i can understand you just fine."

                                                    However disconcerting that may be at times. ;-D>

                                                2. What an interesting (for me) 20 hours or so! I think I usually do a pretty good job of seeing other sides of things, taking advice and using it, blah, blah, blah. So after 108 replies here, I'm happy to say 'do whatever makes you happy.' I've learned plenty here and agree that it's the message not the spelling of the message. And the people who I most like and respect here --- that's YOU, alkapal!!! - can do whatever they want and I'm going to not be annoyed by it. And the few that I don't respect here, I'll continue to do that and just (try to) avert my eyes when I see their names :) Thanks for showing me the path to righteous. Now go have a great day. We're heading back to NYC after a couple of days in the burbs. So that means back to being Chowhounds. Bye y'all (WHICH IS ONLY AND ALWAYS PLURAL!!!!!)

                                                  PS to P-keg: love reminding you of your current wife. #1 however I will always picture squatting behind the stalagmite :)

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    I've had this thread on my mind quite a bit since yesterday, as well. Like you, c oliver, I try to see sides other than my own. I think where I have problems with that is when I fail to stop long enough to reflect on other possible views. There's barely time enough in the day to do all the things I need to do!

                                                    This thread has been enlightening and I can certainly see why grammar, punctuation, and spelling aren't that important to some people. Thank you all for sharing your viewpoints! It's allowed me to gain some understanding and to reflect on why you feel the way you do. It's also allowed me to reflect on why I feel as strongly as I do. In the interest of giving some insight into how one of the grammar sticklers feels, I'll share a little.

                                                    I love words. As much as I love food, I love language. Meaningful sharing of information, thoughts and feelings feeds and fulfills me. To me, a misspelled word or poorly constructed sentence is like an over-cooked egg or under-seasoned dish. I would hope, if it was a regular error on my part, that someone would tell me so that I could correct my flaw.

                                                    I consider a beautifully worded post to be as much a gift as a thoughtfully prepared meal. For example, FoodFuser's limericks are delicious, linguistic snacks.

                                                    To me (and, possibly, only to me), a poorly worded post is like a meal prepared in a kitchen where cross-contamination isn't a concern of the staff. "Ah'm gonna jest chop this hear onyun up on this hear cuttin' bored. Whadda ya mean, that's the raw chick'n bored? This hears a raw onyun! 's 'bout the same, ain't it?"

                                                    When a post is poorly written, I don't take the post or poster as seriously. I don't take their reviews as seriously. I'm very skeptical about any recipe posted by that person. Thanks to this thread, I'm going to work on being less judgmental about those kinds of things.

                                                  2. It seems like everyone's had their say on the issue of spelling and grammar on the site and are now just kind of chatting about spelling errors they have seen. We're going to lock this thread.