Quinte, On. real estate agent: Is Spelling Really That Important?

Is Spelling Really That Important?


I will be the first to admit that I make a spelling error every now and then. Normally they occur when I'm typing a bit too hastily. Perhaps I'm a little too arrogant to use the spell-check function, but I don't like the way that most of them insist that I use the American spelling of certain words.

The vast majority of spelling errors are pretty harmless. We know what people mean anyway. A lot of people think "a lot" is one word, so you see alot of errors surrounding the use of those two little words. Over time I have started to lose my eagle eye for unimportant errors, and quite often I don't notice when people substitute the word loose for lose. Perhaps I'm loosing my uptight attitude about this subject. After all, glass houses and such.

I blog, and I like reading other blogs, but I'm certain that the blogosphere has brought about a situation unlike any other in the history of communication, whereby never before have so many people with so little to say have an opportunity to say so much. This will certainly impact the quality of what we read.  

Some errors might change the entire meaning of the message that the writer is trying to convey, but these are few and far between.  For the most part, it's just a tiny little speck in the overall picture, a harmless little faux pas. I certainly wouldn't lose any frinds over this issue, after all nobody is perfect.

Comment balloon 15 commentsMalcolm Johnston • October 24 2010 06:41PM


My humble opinion:  It is not so much that spelling or grammar errors change meaning or context, but just that they look sloppy and careless, like having a ketchup stain on the front of your shirt.  Sometimes it's unavoidable and no one notices, but still it is better to fix as many as possible, and look immaculate....   :-)

Posted by Cheryl Johnson over 8 years ago

Hi Malcolm... while I agree that most minor spelling errors are harmless and I would not want to lose any friends over them, I also would argue that your blog may also be the first impression that someone gets of you as a professional.  And in a business where many agents are completing contracts on behalf of a client, I would be reluctant to place my trust in an agent whose blog was riddled with spelling or grammatical errors.  It's not always about the actual harm or lack thereof, it is often about the perception (correct or otherwise) that we create.

Posted by Steve Shatsky over 8 years ago

Cute post. Some people certainly get excited when words are misspelled. There is one person here that corrects me about thru and through - let's call him the spelling police. I think it's funny because he always gets me 'cheating' & calls me on it.  There are some here that really need to turn the spell check ON and leave it ON. It's atrocious.

It's an education perception on part of the reader. Hard to be thought of as an authority when you keep misspelling words or using incorrect context.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 8 years ago

My father, a former English teacher, and my 12th grade English teacher forced me to become overly sensitive to spelling errors.  In 12th grade, 3 mechanical errors would produce a failing grade!  However, as an adult, I have lightened up.  While I generally notice small errors, I don't let them derail my enjoyment of the post.

The problem with spell check comes when I misspell a word as another actual word.  No help there, they're, or their. :)

P.S. LOVE the hores example.

Posted by Kristen Wheatley, Supporting Success - Best Job in the World! (Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group) over 8 years ago

Malcolm, I prefer typo myself LOL. Don't confuse me, I have enough trouble with the American versus Canadian spellings LOL.

Posted by Janice Ankrett, Staging Professional (Janice Ankrett Home Staging) over 8 years ago

Malcolm, I find the more I use a spell checker, the worse my spelling becomes. Gone are the days when we would write with a dictionary by our side. Having to search for a word offered a valuable teaching opportunity. Now, we click a button, scan for the text that appears correct, and click ok. Often, this leads to further errors, as the context or tense of the word has now been changed. 

I also agree with Lyn's comment. No matter how small, spelling errors do give a negative perception to the reader. 

Posted by Matthew Boswell, Mortgages - Mississauga, GTA (Mortgage Architects: Matthew Boswell, Mortgage Planner) over 8 years ago


Misuse is sometimes a "give-away". Common errors relate to the use of "its" and "it's". Don't make a mistake there, but others are not too important in a blog, however, the same error should not appear in an agreement.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 8 years ago

Do you know which word really ticks me off when people misuse it? The short form for "until".

If you want to be lazy and say your hours are open from 8am until 9pm then use the short form for "until" properly.

It is 'TIL...the apostrophe is a place holder for the u and the n.

It is not TIL or TILL although some would argue that some dictionaries say TILL can used. TILL IS WHAT YOU DO WITH CROPS!!!

I wish people would stop bastardizing our language ;)

Posted by Not In Real Estate Any Longer over 8 years ago

What a surprise you wife won't let you have a hores. That makes for strange bedfellows, but a good laugh.

Posted by Larry Lawfer, "I listen for a living." It's all about you. (YourStories Realty Group powered by Castles UnlimitedĀ®) over 8 years ago

imho, Malcolm, more than the actual error, it is the overall impression you are trying to create.  I am trying to portray myself as an professional business owner, and I really try not to make mistakes.  That said, I know I am not perfect ;-)

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Spell check does not catch every mistake, but boy is it a whole lot easier than in the old days when we had to try to find a word we could not spell in the dictionary...

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) over 8 years ago

Malcolm, when I have caught my spelling errors or mis-use of words, I shudder! Being a 1 finger typist you would think I would know better and reread what I type etc.


PS: At lest the kid knows what he wants at 16!


Posted by Ty Lacroix (Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc) over 8 years ago

Cheryl,  you mean there's something wrong with having a ketchup stain on my shirt????

Steve,  but don't a few errors just make me a more lovable human being?

Lyn,   there will always be folks who just live to correct errors.

Kristen, I kind of thought the hores example was cute too.  Yikes, that's pretty harsh about the failing grades for spelling errors.

Janice, the American versus Canadian spelling differences are easy to figure out.  Just add random and unnecessary unpronounced u's whenever possible, then just argue that it's the Canadian way if anyone tries to courrect youu.

Matthew,  I do agree that I miss my dictionary.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 8 years ago

Everyone can make a simple spelling mistake but with spell-check I think the number of errors should be reduced - I personally rely on spell-check!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 8 years ago

Malcolm, Good question and great example.  I feel spelling is important, it gives me an unspoken message of the writer's unwillingness to learn/overcome some basic things, often something as basic as spell check.  Perfection? No.....but blatant errors that could be avoided with the use of spell check (that is often just a touch away) gives a mixed message to me. 

If one is using this format to do business it is only to one's benefit to use the technology at hand to help with spelling. 


PS Spell check just helped me on 2 words!

Posted by Gloria Todor, & Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA (Century 21 Absolute Realty ) over 8 years ago