Got an email from a concierge about a stay not too distant from today, and the missive was full of misspellings, some within the same sentence. While I myself am not perfect in these kinds of things we always were taught to read those emails to a guest or someone to whom I was providing a service to ensure that they were correct as could be.
Any opinions in MRI land on this? Does it matter? Should I slink back into my cave and keep the door closed?
As a writing instructor, it certainly matters to me. And it should matter to the concierge. In this day and age of long-distance communication, much of which is in the form of emails or texts, first impressions are often based on not only the message but also the "look." McLuhan had it right: The medium is the message.
Spellling does matter. I can forgive a typo here or there, but when I see numerous spelling errors in an email, I get the impression that I am not important to the writer. Even on this forum, if I notice a post where I have a spelling (or grammar) error, I go back and edit it. Sadly this is not always an option with email.
I've gotten in the habit of always rereading my emails (sometimes several times) before I hit send. It's rare when I don't find something I can correct or think of a better way to express my thoughts. Spell check may make us lazy spellers, but not even using spell check is lazier still (IMHO).
I'm with most of you there.
Sometimes a simple misuse of a word can change the meaning so much as to make a communique unreadable. For instance, too and two.
I was trying to read one post by a "professional editor / writer" who would use the word too in the paragraph and my brain interpreted it as "also". Going a bit farther in the post, I noticed it was supposed to be "two", so I had to go back to re-read it with the corrected interpretation. Then the same thing happened again and again, so I just had to give up because the whole meaning had become jumbled in my mind.
But then, I'm sure we've all gotten the e-mails that say that 1/2 the people can read the context where the letters are jumbled but the first and last letter are correct, or where the use of numbers is substituted for letters and is still readable.
So a lot of the importance of the spelling depends on the seriousness of the message, as has been suggested. Whether it's for fun or professional defines the importance.
That puts it into total perspective for me. Before I retired I had to do lengthy reports for the police and criminal courts in the UK, so they were extremely important. They had to have no spelling mistakes, be grammatically correct, and have nothing that could be ambiguous. Not easy to do when as the author I knew exactly what I meant, so would always read it that way. That's why all my reports had to be independently read in detail by two other people before I could issue them. It is amazing how much they picked up, because they looked at them with a fresh pair of eyes. All this explains why I am still ultra fussy about the written word!
For many years I wrote both technical reports and flash dialogs for the government, meant to be read by policymakers. Like you I had several review layers to worry over me, and they invariably made what I had written better, clearer, and more succinct. Thus, when I became a senior reviewer myself I unabashedly wielded my red pencil on documents. I was not popular. But I was sure that we made the best effort we could to inform and not to confuse.
This response was sent to you by an Android device, using the Lisa programming language, and based on previous comments attributed to someone named "Anadyr" and should not be construed as providing any legal or professional advice. No electrons were harmed in the making of this email, since all were recycled from the owner's Tesla Model S battery.
As dejamo likes to say, after foxglove has spoken on this subject, "it has been written", case closed.
anadyr as talented as you are in so many things, there's no doubt you're a good speller, but you type like Eddie Felson after he had his thumbs busted in The Hustler.
Speaking of films/plays - foxglove, I saw a very clever, entertaining (and on the mark according to your fellow professionals) play the other day that if you get a chance to see, you would enjoy,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seminar_(play) check it out if it ever comes to your part of the world - good stuff
erc Thanks for the heads-up. I'd love to see it, and I'll keep a look-out for it. I see where Alan Rickman originated the lead on Broadway. His bearing (and diction) remind me of one of my former professors and the impression I had of him: early semester ; mid-semester ; end of semester .
the reality for me is, my boss (the owner of the company) is a terrible speller and none too good with grammar either. this does nothing to take away from his business prowess and the success he has had in the industry. Bottom line, spelling errors and grammatic mistakes drive me crazy but they do not offend me, nor do they make me question someone's ability to do their job.
Not what I meant, but thanks. I think that people can hire folks to make writing concise and understandable even if they themselves cannot do it. But I do not judge them based on their proofing skills either. I guess what I meant is that people should be able to communicate using correct spelling and grammar, especially when they are in the customer service business.
As I am sure Anadyr will affirm as an author, one of the key problems in writing something long is that no matter how many times you read it over, you know in your head exactly what you've said…and so it slides right by if you've made a typo or other mistake.
(Whatever the Dragon wants me to be today)
As I've mentioned, my mid-west born husband is really smart and has a degree in aero eng. which I would never have been able to get.
But, his use of verbs drives me crazy since he uses past perfect helper verbs with past tense verbs almost without fail. I've heard him get the verbs right fewer than 20 times in almost 45 years. When he's talking to his co-workers and explaining how to correct their programs, I always wonder what they think of his verb errors.
Not surprisingly, I think spelling and grammar matter enormously, although more in some circumstances than in others. For example, I hope since this is a relatively informal forum, you will all forgive my lack of end parentheses and spelling errors (I won a major PA spelling bee in 7th grade!). But because of my med problems, I use Dragon dictate software. While I try to go over it as much as possible, sometimes I am too anxious to reply to a post. By contrast, a letter from a professional, a hotel, or as I often see a job application, MUST be well-written and without spelling errors or typos.
By the way, Dragon Dictate thinks I am Probably Care Ah some of the time and Prove Key Are A other times…
Please don't get me wrong, I know that spelling, as well as grammar, count a lot. I also understand why the both of you, because of your backgrounds, would put even more emphasis on them than perhaps someone else. Having been in sales virtually my entire career, the spoken word, conversation if you will, has played a much more important role in my life than spelling or grammar. My dear wife, the academic in the family, often corrects me when I use a word in the wrong context, and proofreads many important papers I need to submit. I guess it is simply one's perspective.
Speaking of spell-check, I have disabled that feature on my smart phone as some of the auto-corrects are comical.
Good move, Shoeman, in disabling Spell Check -- more often than not it screws things up. Actually I agree with you more than you think. The funny thing is that since I come from a lower middle class background (which only college and grad school has changed for me financially) is that I have had to become aware of how colleagues correct my spoken words. I'll never forget several years ago, when I said good instead of well and one of my colleagues (though I don't think he meant to) belittled me.
I've always been most comfortable as a writer, because I'm good at it and I can correct it as I go. But speaking, I get it often from both ends. When most of my family was still alive, they criticized me for using big words (and trust me, I am not one of THOSE kind of academics), while some of my colleagues criticized me, relatively nicely, for speaking in a way I'd never write.
Spelling matters though I see misspelled words all the time online. Many people are using smartphones and tablets to post and send emails so errors are likely to happen (I keep autocorrect on, but many find it annoying). It doesn't bother me when I see misspellings (because it is so common) and I would never correct someone I didn't know because I'm not sure how they would take it. I do think if it is in a business / professional communication, it is not the impression you want to leave.
Before you slink back to your cave, I do have a question for you. How often do you contact the concierge before a stay? I have never done that. Are their benefits to that? I'm thinking about doing it for an upcoming New York stay to make sure I get a Central Park view.
The Concierge contacted me as they usually do before every stay. I find this helps in a new place, and I assumed everybody has the same privilege afforded to them. If you did not then we have a bigger problem than spelling and grammar on our hands dear sir. Perhaps you've been singled out for this treatment? I can only guess.
I believe anadyr was being facetious, as the ONLY times I am contacted by a concierge prior to a stay is when I am staying at a Renaissance or Ritz Carlton. As far as you reaching out, I would suggest to you that the more effort you put into it, the better chance you have of getting what you want. I have reached out many times to both the concierge sand the gm and have had a measure of success. I recall one in particular, I was staying at the downtown Minneapolis Marriott and developed a pre-stay dialog with the concierge. Well, when I checked in, the desk clerk made a comment about me having friend in high places and proceeded to give me the keys to the Presidential Suite…..
good luck! Make contact with as many people as you can.
I can't say what facetious means but if it was in jest it was not. Once I get the "we're looking forward to your visit email I make my requests to them and then I almost always get a response from AYS or the Concierge. In the case of Napa where I am now, I got one from both individuals.
Thanks for the comments. I haven't responded to any of the reminder about your email stays though they do mention contacting them if you need anything. I have also occasionally received more personalized emails from the property stating contact us if you need anything. I can't remember all of those places, but The Cosmopolitan, Renaissance Nashville, San Jose Marriott, and JW Marriott Indianapolis come to mind. I haven't responded to those either. If the property sends a "we would like feedback on how to improve our service" email, I usually respond to them. I used to work (a long time ago) in product and customer service research so I'm always curious how they construct their surveys and what vendors they use.
I guess haven't contacted the property before my stay because I do not really have any particular room needs and I usually already know what I'm going to be doing in the city. I do have upcoming stays in Chicago and New York though and getting the right view will make it a much more iconic Chicago experience and New York experience so I think I will contact them beforehand on both of those stays now. It seems like several do it...so I won't feel too uncomfortable about requesting special treatment.