Knowing which is the correct spelling of a word is hugely complicated by words that sound the same. take your and you’re or there, their and they’re.
The big question is; given how fluid language is, does it really matter? Please don’t ask Lynn Truss that question – Lynn is the author of the highly entertaining ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves‘, once famous for carrying a felt-tip pen and Tippex with her so she could correct punctuation in the wording found on shops and street signs. I kid you not.
It might grate on your nerves to think it might ever become acceptable to use the ‘wrong’ word, but if you consider how language evolves over time, and how each generation introduces new words (texted, bromance, bling, chillax) into our everyday language, plus words that never previously existed (like Google), then it might become something we have to live with.
Of course, that doesn’t make it okay, and it will never be taught that way, but in everyday life, there are probably more important things to worry about than somebody typing their when they meant there, or your when they mean you’re in a text, WhatsApp, or email. I know, it irritates me too.
However, when it’s made permanent it’s way more important to get it right, especially when your business is words, such as a newspaper editor, copywriter, advertiser or signwriter. Mistakes are then just unprofessional, not to mention embarrassing.
Of course, having spelling mistakes tattooed on your body takes this to a whole other level.
View them and weep.