Monthly Archives: July 2011

Jul 28th 2011

Business owners, beware of spelling mistakes!

English spelling can be rather tricky. Often, the way the word is spelled has little to do with how it is pronounced. Therefore, many people misspell words, including native English speakers. Unfortunately, bad spelling can say many things about you, mostly carelessness. And why is it important to know how to spell? Well, becuz badd spilleng is hrd two undstnd wen u reed it. Because when you write, you do so not just for yourself but for a reader. Because misspelling reflects badly on you.

Well, apparently it can get worse. According to online entrepreneur Charles Duncombe, internet businesses can suffer a significant drop in sales when spelling mistakes are found on their websites. According to Mr. Duncombe’s analysis, poor spelling is costing the UK millions of pounds in lost revenue for internet businesses.

The entrepreneur examined one case in particular and found that revenue was twice as high after an error was corrected on the tightsplease.co.uk website. As shocking as it may sound, spelling mistakes do have this effect and they put off potential customers.

So what can be done about this? Well, all you business owners out there, check your texts and then check them again. If you have an online business, use a software like Ginger’s spelling and grammar checker to proofread your text and make sure it is error free. Don’t just check it once. Once it’s corrected, give it another go and check it again to make sure it’s safe to go live. After all, you don’t want to find that your online sales were cut in half because of a single spelling mistake… :-/

Adios for now -

Sharon and the Ginger team

6 Comments

Jul 18th 2011

From underdog to hero: Dyslexic Tom wins UK’s The Apprentice

Last night, on BBC ONE, the unexpected happened. Tom Pellereau, a 31-year-old inventor who was on the losing side a record eight times during the series, was chosen by Alan Sugar to become his new business partner in ‘The Apprentice’ final. More than 10 million viewers watched as Lord Sugar told him: “You’ve got the experience in making, inventing and selling stuff. My decision is – Tom, you’re going to become my business partner.”

Lord Alan Sugar and winner Tom Pellereau

Lord Alan Sugar and winner Tom Pellereau

It has been mentioned various times throughout the series that Tom suffers from dyslexia. But it seems like it didn’t get in his way. On the contrary, Tom says that his dyslexia had given him specific skills and talents when it came to product design. Interestingly, because of his dyslexia, Tom could figure out from an early age what he was good at (science, engineering and design) and what things he was bad at.

Dyslexia for me has always been a massive positive” says Tom. “I was so lucky that computers came out when I was starting to write essays.” Ironically, Alan Sugar’s Amstrad computer company played a part. “The very first computer my granddad gave me was an Amstrad 1512.” Pellereau explained.

What Tom describes does not come as a surprise. Many dyslexic people’s quality of life  changes dramatically when they start using the computer. Computer programmes provide valuable reinforcement, variety and can increase motivation. These programs can be used to practice reading, word attack skills, spelling and maths; there are also many assistive programmes which enable learners to access material, while others support writing and learning.

Do you suffer from dyslexia? Ginger Software’s spelling and grammar checker for dyslexia can help change your life. You can now try it for free!

Tom knows that now is the time to shine as he’s getting £250,000 to be invested in his furniture – and hopes to launch a range of his other inventions with the tycoon’s help.

Good luck Tom!

Adios for now -

Sharon and the Ginger Team

6 Comments

Jul 11th 2011

Your most frequent mistakes according to Ginger

I had a look at Ginger’s most frequent error report the other day and was quite surprised. Other than popular typos and your other usual suspects, the mistake that occurs most frequently is when users confuse ‘is’ with ‘are’ (and vice versa). Yup, that’s Ginger’s leading grammar error at the moment. Right behind it you can find:

- confusion between the articles a/an,
- preposition mistakes of in/on,
- confusing to with too,
- using ‘to’ instead of ‘for’, and
- the notoriously famous: using ‘there’ instead of ‘their’,

All of these mistakes are obviously handled by Ginger so consider yourself covered. Nevertheless, it’s much better to be able to avoid these mistakes. You can already look up some of these topics in Ginger’s Online Grammar Book. For example, the use of ‘is’ and ‘are’ in the present progressive tense. More explanations about how to avoid the mistakes above and more are coming soon so do check back!

In the meantime, be careful with ‘is’ and ‘are’ :-)

Adios for now -

Sharon and the Ginger Team

5 Comments

Jul 4th 2011

What is up with English spelling?!

Ever wondered why you ‘speak’ but make a ‘speech’? Why the ‘t’ is doubled in ‘letter’? And why on earth do we need the ‘e’ at the end words like ‘have’ and ‘gone’? English spelling is known for being messed up and inconsistent. Sadly, we can only blame history.

English spelling can be weird and confusing. As a child, I started learning English at the age of 9. The thing I mostly remember about my English lessons is the numerous dictations we were forced to take. At least once a week, we would have a dictation quiz. The teacher would read out a list of words and we had to write them down, using the correct spelling of course. We did that for years! When I grew up I realised that the dictations we really thought we could do without, were pretty much the most effective way to learn how to spell in English. But why is that?

Exceptions to the rule

Well, the answer is rather simple. Us humans, we like patterns. Patterns and rules. Not so much exceptions. Unfortunately, English is not so great on the pattern side of things. Just to give you a flavour of it, there are 3,500 words in English that contain exceptions to the spelling ‘rules’. How did that happen?!

Well, as it turns out, back in the old Shakespeare’s days things were much more fluid if you like. Spelling wasn’t formalised and words could be spelled in many ways. For example, only Shakespeare’s name could be spelled in 41 different ways! Later on when spelling was finally formalised, only little thought was given to spelling consistency (hence ‘speak’ and ‘speech’).

But the problem started even earlier, when the first book in English came out. It was the Bible, which was printed in Germany, by Germans who knew no English. For many English people, this Bible was the first book they had ever possessed. They learned to read and write from it, copying the spelling mistakes it contained!  This gradually made many English spellings very weird.

Learning how to spell

This brings us back to the present. We established that English spelling is not easy. How should we cope with it? Well, you might be surprised to know that it takes a native English speaking child 12 years to learn how to spell properly (just for the sake of the comparison, it takes an Italian child 2 years to learn how to spell well). No wonder spelling bees are so popular! So if you’re not a native English speaker you should know that learning how to spell in English takes time.

To improve your spelling you can do a number of things:

  1. Keep lists of words you find difficult to spell and use them to practice your spelling.
  2. Use a dictionary.

What about using spell checkers when learning how to spell?

Professionals say it’s OK to use a spell-checker, but only the kind that helps you learn from your mistakes (not those auto correct tools). Ginger Software does this exactly. Ginger corrects a large range of spelling errors. From simple typos to severe and unusual mistakes. The good thing is, it will not correct anything while you are not aware of it. Your mistakes are well highlighted, you can listen to how the misspelled words are pronounced as well as the correct words. You can also explore other correction alternatives and choose the one that suits your text. At any point in time, you can access the Ginger Learning platform to check your progress and review your past mistakes. You can use that to make word lists for yourself and even have your own dictations. Try it for free and see for yourself!

Adios for now -

Sharon and the Ginger team

5 Comments