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De Burger-Fex: Retired teacher is (not so) silently judging your spelling and grammar

'I hate seeing spelling mistakes and I observe them everywhere'

My husband says I have another title that I should tell you about. I confess, I am a spell-checker.

I hate seeing spelling mistakes and I observe them everywhere. Why? In many cases it is not knowing the correct spelling. Also, it can be caused by carelessness. 

I am the person who will point out an error in words which I find spelled wrong. I can’t help it, the words jump off the page at me. Really, they do! 

I realize that if someone is making a sign they usually think they know how to write the word they want. 

Taking time to check that often does not occur to them. Nearly everyone has a cell phone these days. Right? Google the desired word and you will find how it should be written. That doesn’t take long. 

After all, you check numerous facts every day, multiple times daily. Have some pride in what you present!

I also understand that typos occur quite frequently. Check your work, and if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. 

Phonics hasn’t been taught for many years now. This is undoubtedly a factor in people making spelling mistakes. 

When I was teaching, phonics was an essential subject especially in the primary grades, as was spelling itself. I cannot comprehend why these subjects aren’t highlighted now. 

Next – plurals. Many people don’t know the difference between plurals and possessives. Please, people, learn how to show possession by putting an apostrophe after the word – for example: the dog’s bone not the dogs bone. 

If you put the apostrophe after, it makes the word plural. Is that what you wanted to say? Also, if a word is already plural, e.g. ropes, don’t place that apostrophe before the s – please don’t do that. 

What I have noticed very frequently is this; Monday’s Tuesday’s etc. … no, no, no! Unless you are referring to Monday’s weather, it is not needed – in fact it is a spelling mistake and you know how I feel about those. I hate them!

Here is another thing that bothers me often. So many people don’t realize that even though a word sounds the same, it does not mean that they mean the same thing. Homonyms sound the same such as see and sea. Get it? The usual culprits are there and they’re. 

Think about it. One denotes a place – there, the other stands for, they are. It’s a contraction. Do you see the huge difference in meaning?

At the Main Branch of the Greater Sudbury Public Library in the lounge area there is a huge spelling error up high where you can’t possibly miss it. 

It says, Reader’s Lounge when it is meant to say Readers’ Lounge  – at the library yet! How could that have been missed when the sign was put up? I ask you, how? 

You know that I absolutely had to point that out to the library staff. Of course, there is nothing they can do about it at this time. Hopefully, if and when, a new library is built, such mistakes will not occur. 

On the second Thursday of every month, an Open Mic event is held. We always attend to listen to the many talented poets and writers sharing their work. As I sit there awaiting my turn that awful spelling error stares me right in the face! It bothers me every month!.

So, now here is another rant from this senior lady who also happens to be a retired teacher. Does that explain this essay for you?

Erna de Burger-Fex is a writer and retired teacher who writes about aging and the funny side of getting older. Got a question for Erna? Email