When Conversation Can Get You into Trouble!

June 6, 2010 at 8:05 am (General) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

One of my coworkers asked me how to spell a word for her. I get it all the time because I write, and normally, I’m a really good speller. I learned how to spell out things phonetically in school.

My mother said she didn’t learn it that way and ended up writing some things with American spellings, some things with Canadian, and some–her very own special way. 🙂

She was Presbyterian, like so many Scots families are, but since she couldn’t spell it, she said she was Methodist. Her father’s side of the family were Methodists. And she had a thesaurus worth of vocabulary words in her head. If she couldn’t remember how to spell it, she’d think of a simile and use it instead.

So how does this get me into trouble? For the life of me, I couldn’t remember how to spell insinuation the other day when I was working on Dreaming of the Wolf. The spell checker thingy kept coming up with insulation as maybe what I was trying to say. Sometimes you can just list it on Google or another search engine, and the brilliant search thingy will say: did you mean???

And voila, yes, that’s just what I meant! But it didn’t come up with insinuation either. The problem was I was leaving the “SIN” out. Insuation….. So finally, when I sounded it out, I was like oh, yeah, I’m leaving the SIN out! Woohoo, I had it.

Now, I was explaining this to the coworker of mine that I often can get the word right if I phonetically sound the word out–and this woman, who was standing nearby our counter, gave me the dirtiest look.

If she’s going to eavesdrop on my “SIN”–ful conversation, she ought to eavesdrop on the whole thing. And get her mind out of the gutter. 🙂

So that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.

Have any spelling problems lately?

I’m halfway through Wolf Fever edits and have been told that shapeshifter is listed as shape-shifter in one of those books that makes spelling mandatory in a certain way.  *sigh*  To me, if a TV program can list them on a sign among a bunch of shape-shifting flamingos as shapeshifters…it’s good enough for me! 🙂

Have a super Sunday!

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male.”



  1. Beth Caudill said,

    Terry, I can not spell. I can not spell phonetically because the way it sounds to me is not the way it is spelled. I have dictionaries bookmarked for quick access. While word lets me know it’s spelled wrong….usually Merriam-Webster will get me the correct spelling (They offer at least 10 choices which are usually close enough for me to get the word I want.)

  2. terryspear said,

    My mom used to complain because if she couldn’t spell the word, how could she look it up in the dictionary to find the correct spelling?! 🙂 Some words can not be sounded out. They have to just be memorized. 🙂 Or sometimes, spelling them part way correctly will help. :)What I hate is when it’s spelled correctly, but Word doesn’t recognize it, so then you have to research to make SURE it’s spelled right!!! 🙂

  3. Crystal-Rain Love said,

    Spelling by “sounding it out” can sometimes backfire. When I worked at my former employer’s, I used to see evidence of this all the time. Once, I was looking at an account and came upon the word, “scikieatrick.” I looked at it for a long time, trying to figure out what the heck it was supposed to be, then it hit me that the person was using the “sound it out” method. The word was supposed to be PSYCHIATRIC. I laughed so hard I cried.

  4. terryspear said,

    LOL, Crystal. Well, ahem, there’s sounding out, and then there’s knowing a little before sounding it out. LOL Too funny!!! Although, by you sounding it out–you knew what the word truly was. Right? LOL

  5. Beth Caudill said,

    One word it is hard to do by sound is kindergarten.

    Because when I say it…I think it should be spelled kindergarden. But that is wrong. That is a word I just have to memorize….although the youngest is moving out of class K so it won’t be a problem anymore. 🙂

    I can’t spell medieval on my own. Don’t ask me why…I always have to look it up and it takes a few tries to get the correct spelling. I agree with your mom….how can I know how to look up a word if I can’t spell it. Of course…I make my oldest look up words in the dictionary…even though I disliked doing it as a kid. *sigh* I’ve become my father.

  6. terryspear said,

    Mine is conscientious. And I’m with you on Medieval. I often put ei and have to change it to ie. Funny about making your oldest look up words.

    That’s a great exercise! When I was in charge of the Working Friendly program at Fort Sill, I constantly put e before i. Despite knowing the: I before e, except…
    Sounding it out, it sounds like it should be ei. So I had to tell myself it was the FRI—END…ly program. 🙂 And then I could get it right. 🙂

  7. Cathy D said,

    I have dyslexia. Of course I didn’t know this until I was 22. My mother was a school teacher and she used to make my sister (3 years younger) give me my spelling test until I got them all right. How humiliating. I had to memorize, because no mater how hard phonics was pounded into me I couldn’t learn it. Every time I write I have to recite those rules like “i before e except after c”, and still get it wrong with the “exception words”. Beside this handicap I got straight “A’s” in English and read 200 books a year now.
    I love, love, love spell check and google!
    What is so funny is that I can read a book (my comprehension is WAY up there ’cause I read slower) and I can tell you every wrongly spelled word, incorrect sentence and dateline out of whack. Just can’t correct most of it but the dates.
    I can not stand texting as it drives me nuts trying to figure what is being said, so I have it blocked on my phone and return e-mails with a “what language is This!! I only read English” message.

  8. terryspear said,

    Oh wow, Cathy, that would be hard. That’s terrific on doing so well in English and reading sooo many books! I wish I could read that many!!! 🙂 I can see how texting would be a problem. I can’t even understand most of them! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: