Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 14:05 UK

Bad spelling 'should be accepted'

exam room
Mr Smith says he corrects the same mistakes year after year

Common spelling mistakes should be accepted into everyday use, not corrected, a lecturer has said.

Ken Smith of Bucks New University says the most common mistakes should be accepted as "variant spellings".

He lists the 10 most commonly misspelt words, which include "arguement" for "argument" and "twelth" for "twelfth".

Mr Smith says his proposal, outlined in an article in the Times Higher Education Supplement, follows years of correcting the same mistakes.

Mr Smith, a criminology lecturer, said: "Instead of complaining about the state of the education system as we correct the same mistakes year after year, I've got a better idea.

"University teachers should simply accept as variant spellings those words our students most commonly misspell.

Testing the spelling of the general public

"The spelling of the word 'judgement', for example, is now widely accepted as a variant of 'judgment', so why can't 'truely' be accepted as a variant spelling of 'truly'?"

Mr Smith also suggested adding the word "misspelt" to the list and all those that break the "i before e" rule - weird, seize, neighbour and foreign.

He said he was not asking people to learn to spell words differently.

"All I am suggesting is that we might well put 20 or so of the most commonly misspelt words in the English language on the same footing as those other words that have a widely accepted variant spelling," he added.




SEE ALSO
Are school standards slipping?
16 Aug 07 |  Education
Bad spelling 'puts off employers'
04 Aug 06 |  Education
Dictionary helps student grammar
04 Aug 06 |  Education

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific