Mrs Daffern's research, through the CSU's School of Education in Albury Wodonga, is examining how children learn to spell so that educators can improve how this important skill is taught.... read more.
Apostrophe use. What can I say. Every day you'll probably see the apostrophe used incorrectly. I've used it incorrectly many times and I'm sure you probably have too. You'll see misuse of the apostrophe on signs and in written work all around you.
My work is about the preferred Australian English spelling. The apostrophe appears in my work in the form of possessives, plurals and telescoped words. Sometimes even though this seems simple it isn't.
To help those struggling with the apostrophe you may wish to check out the following article from the Macquarie dictionary site.
My favourite example is when I realised that everyone I asked seemed to say Princes Highway incorrectly. Everyone including myself would say Princess Highway. Home come I kept thinking. The reason is convention. The apostrophe in Princes has been dropped due to convention. If you don't know the convention (and many people including myself didn't), then you can see how this can lead people to mispronounce the word. Once you know however, it all makes sense.
Now if you're having trouble with an apostrophe and would like to ask a question, I'm not your man. I only do words;-)
Because of my interest in the preferred Australian English spelling, I receive alerts about articles on spelling. One popped into my email recently with the subject, "Does bad spelling annoy you?" I recognised the site as it was a survey site I'd reviewed earlier in the year. This was a question posted by a member of the group and from what I can see, is usually done simply for a bit of fun.
For a bit of fun I decided to post the same question and selection of answers to a business group I participate in that is administered by the Victorian government. The group is in theory composed of business people. The survey group I'm not sure of, but it would be a cross section of the population. The survey group are unlikely to be business people as when they do a survey, the reward is equivalent to $2-$2.50 per hour. The survey people are more likely people who have time on their hands and do it for a bit of fun, socialising and perhaps a desire to contribute. We can't rule out all workers, because someone who has time on their hands at work, with access to a computer, could effectively add 10% to their income whilst being paid to work. So nothing is certain except the group are members of the survey site.
A conclusion from the two different sample groups we can reach is that business people are more concerned about spelling than the survey group at 88% to 73%. Interestingly as well, more people don't care about good spelling in the survey group than the business group at 20% to 10%.
The survey site answers were:
Don't care: 20%
Under 18: 4%
The business Facebook group
Don't care: 10%
(Total not 100% due to rounding down in each answer.)
For those who are interested, over the years I've asked various people about the importance of spelling. When I asked a few primary teachers the answer was not important. When I asked a year 11/12 teacher the response was not that important as it is worth only a few marks. My observation of tertiary is people are being marked more on spelling as there's been feedback on people losing marks.
The year 11/12 response concerns me. A few marks at the higher end could make a significant difference as to the course a person gets entry to. I understand the primary teachers response because the focus appears to be on overall learning to not focusing as much on the detail, which I suspect improves over time, but that's just my opinion without foundation.
The response to this type of survey will vary considerably according to the survey group, but it does show overall, that people do place some level of importance on good spelling. In the business world it becomes more important.
I do however wonder how much difference it does make in the real world. Would you not buy those avocados because the sign said avocado's, and would poor spelling in a real estate ad stop your from buying that million dollar property? I suspect the answer is no, it would make no difference. However if you received a quote or a resume with bad spelling then that could have an impact. It really depends greatly on the situation. To be annoyed is one thing, but to act differently is another.
Dictionary Australian - Give that people search for dictionary Australian in Google I felt I should at least make it easy for those people to find the preferred Australian spelling files for Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and Mac OSX.
If spelling matters to you then please take a little time to review www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au and see how my work can assist your written work. My work is a result of the past 11 years of producing dictionary files and as a result I've uncovered many issues in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and Mac OSX which is reducing the quality of your written work. Often you'll think something is a little strange but then think your software knows best. It often doesn't and as such is creating bad spelling habits you should be aware of.
The spelling of the word spell check in Australia is spellcheck and in American it is spell-check. That is, one word in Australia and hyphenated in America.
Why then do so many people insert a space between the words spell and check?
The reason is very simple. The word spellcheck is not included in the dictionary which comes with the software. When people type the word spellcheck the spellchecker tries to find suitable suggestions and since the words spell and check are both valid, a suggestion that is made is spell check with a space between the two words.
People across the world now believe the spelling is spell check, but in fact their word processor has misled them and they are now making a spelling error.
The preferred Australian English spelling files I provide corrects this and thousands of other spelling issues that occur when using Microsoft Office products. The same issues occur with other software, but least I can provide spelling files which correct the issues.
I thought this was an interesting article which appeared online today. How many of the food related words do you struggle with. I have to admit it took a trip to English before I finally realised the correct way to say Worcestershire. So obvious once your realise.
Here are 17 words people spell wrong all the time. Please, for the love of all things culinary, correct the error of your ways if you find a word here that you spell incorrectly...read more.
You would think the apostrophe being such a simple character would be easy to use. As it turns out, it isn't and there's quite some effort required to use it properly. Look around you and most days you'll be able to see the apostrophe being used incorrectly.
On the Macquarie dictionary site I found the following guide to punctuation and felt this was a worthwhile resource to share with others.
Word Check which can be found on the Australian Dictionary site I maintain, can be quite useful as many possessives and contractions are included, but quite a few of the subtle uses of the apostrophe are not be found in a dictionary.
Keep in mind you need to not only consider the correct usage, but also convention. For example in Melbourne we have a bridge which crosses the Yarra in the city. I've always pronounced the name of the bridge as Princess Bridge. I find when I ask people in Melbourne most people pronounce the name of the bridge the same way. The actual name is Princes Bridge. To me that made no sense. It was only recently that I found out that by convention the apostrophe is not included. Logically it should be Prince's Bridge, but by convention it is Princes Bridge.
We also have a major highway being the Princes Highway. Next time someone mentioned the name listen carefully. Chances are those around you will be calling it Princess Highway as well. Now you know, you may wish to let them in on the secret.
I'm an amateur lexicographer and my past work is used by many companies including Google, Mozilla and Oracle in their projects. My aim now is to provide Australians with the preferred Australian English spelling. Our language is littered with thousands of words with two or more spelling variations. Using the preferred spelling variation produces consistent documents, simplifies our language and ensures you're using the best spelling variation for a word.