I’m Right, You’re Wrong

by Marinka on May 2, 2011

It’s been a while, but I’m Right, You’re Wrong is back.

To review: I post a recent disagreement that I had with someone (fortunately with my personality, there’s never a shortage of those!) and you weigh in on who’s right and who’s wrong. Because I am universally adored, I’m not going to tell you which side of the argument I’m on, because then you’d obviously side with me as a way of showing your adoration.


Disagreement: Should spelling words thru and lite (instead of through and light) be acceptable in all contexts?

Disagreers: Marinka and Marinka and Husbandrinka’s friend.

Position One: Languages are the living expression of how people want to communicate. The most important factor is that the communication be clear. We got rid of the ‘u’ in honour (the Brits still haven’t). I am very comfortable getting rid of more silent letters in ‘through’. I am euphoric (or let’s make it uforic) that spell check accepts it. Also, remember that we now carry the responsibility for making English handy for the whole world to use as their language thru our innovations.

Position Two: Hell no. That kind of spelling is just lazy and sloppy. And will lead to spelling and eventual grammatical anarchy. And the end of civilization.

UPDATE: I was Position Two. And I’m still Position Two, but I’m sort of surprised how much everyone else is Position Two as well. I mean, does Position One have no merit? Don’t we agree that language is a living thing, that it evolves? That we no longer say “Thou art”? I’m not sure where to draw the line, but I’m sort of uncomfortable thinking that the way we speak now should be the way that we speak forever and ever, til death do us part.

One year ago ...

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsten May 2, 2011 at 12:28 am

Position Two for sure. I am against grammatical anarchy.


Donna May 2, 2011 at 1:15 am

Position two, definitely. I could almost get on board and take out the annoying “g” in through, but then where do we draw the line? Next thing you know, words like “kwik”will pop up everywhere. That’s like nails on a chalkboard.


May 2, 2011 at 1:37 am

Both thru and lite can be seen in Mc D’s. Nothing wrong having a happy meal on rare days you don’t feel like cooking. As long as you don’t make a habit of it. Let’s take the same approach to those two words: OK when you are texting a friend, not good on your resume. Compromise.


Sophie@Fabrications May 2, 2011 at 2:16 am

My beliefs tend toward opinion 2, but my actions are more like Stasha said before me: In the right context, It’s ok to be a sloppy speller.


Mwa (Lost in Translation) May 2, 2011 at 4:02 am

Ay reken they shud mek inglish izier tu spel eniwey.


ingrid May 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm

ay think ay luf u.


Shane May 2, 2011 at 7:39 am

Thru and lite are ok only on product names. Otherwise, I start wondering just how intelligent and informed the person typing thru and lite actually is. I mean, is it so hard to write a ‘gh’? I dunno. Me thinky English alreddy E-Z speaky learny.


Jen May 2, 2011 at 7:52 am

Position #2. These words, unless being used in the context of drive-thru and lite dressing, are not the correct spelling of the words and should only be used in a casual manner, i.e. emails, etc. when slang is acceptable. They should not be used in the business world or schools nor should kids used them until A. they can spell the original words correctly and B. they understand how to use them correctly. To me, these words are no different than “ain’t”, which is slang and which we were forbidden to even say in school (back in the dark ages).


Jodi F. May 2, 2011 at 8:24 am

I have to go with position two.

My pet peeve is usintg “till” instead of “until.” A “till” is a cash drawer (noun) or the act of turning soil for planting (verb). If one simply cannot find the energy to type UNTIL, then at least use ’til, not till.


I teach English May 2, 2011 at 8:35 am

You’re right. I mean, I agree with position two (but aren’t those really the same thing?).


mom in rome May 2, 2011 at 8:53 am

I totally agree with n.2

LEarning how to spell for a foreigner is already difficult enough! 🙂


May 2, 2011 at 9:11 am

I’m somewhere in the middle – like Stasha. It’s ok in some situations (some, not most) to take the easy road, but saying proper spelling isn’t important is just the same as saying proper pronunciation isn’t important. They’re both essential to comprehension, and the rules of a language are set for a reason.


Marinka May 2, 2011 at 9:23 am

But! Don’t we all know what “lite” and “thru” refers to? I don’t think it’s a pure comprehension point.


Jaci May 2, 2011 at 9:19 am


America’s gone Cracker. Ugh. Good nite.


May 2, 2011 at 9:36 am

Hell no. And while we’re at it: “catalogue” is correct, even though spellcheck doesn’t think so. “Catalog” is just stupid. Unless the catalog is actually something like a card-catalog housed in a container hewn from a single log. But we all know where card catalogues went…the way of the dinosaur. So let’s just keep the “ue” as a thankful reminder of all the trees we’re saving from becoming card-catalog-ified.


Ginnie May 2, 2011 at 10:14 am

You only have to learn one language in this country (officially, anyway), unlike many European countries. The LEAST you can do is learn your one language properly. But then again, my family does call me The Grammar Nazi.


A Mommy in the City
May 2, 2011 at 10:33 am

I with position 2! I think that our society has just gotten lazy.


Megan May 2, 2011 at 10:47 am

Language is a living thing. It changes constantly. LOL is no in the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language. “Thru” and “lite” can’t be far behind.



Allyson May 2, 2011 at 11:15 am

No, no, no, no no. It can’t be done. Fight the anarchy!


Marina at My Busy Children
May 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

2. Definitely 2.
I am conservative.
if we go with 1, why did I bother learning proper English in the first place?


Taint-Isis May 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Position two (although I just realized I have bee committing the ’till’ sin… I will have to stop that.)

Silent letters are often remnants of a word’s etymology, through adoption from another language or as remnants of alternative spelling conventions, so I personally find them kinda fascinating. Also, given dialect variations, how would you decide which phonetic pronunciation is correct? The “w” in two may be silent to me, but it certainly wasn’t to my Scottish great-grandfather.

Hmm, given that I used “kinda” in the last paragraph, I’m obviously a hypocrite and belong in Stasha’s camp.


Twinisms May 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Position 2. Spelling words incorrectly, even if it is socially acceptable makes the speller look like an idiot. If you want to look like an idiot, that’s fine. If not, spell the words correctly.


May 2, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I tend to think that thru is only acceptable if one is going through a drive-thru.


awesome dude May 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm

When you start to compromise in small things larger compromises usually follow.

Words should be spelled properly or transmitted via tam-tams in the jungles.


ingrid May 2, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I think that language naturally changes. We speak very different English than people did even fifty years ago, let alone 100. That language should change in our own lifetimes is not surprising or offensive.

It’s not anarchy. It is cultural change. As our vernacular changes I think it is logical that our use of language in writing would also change.

So #1. Things that are “misspelled” by one generation become the standard of another. Does it *really* matter? Big picture, to me, says it doesn’t.

Because language change is groovy, forsooth.


Jodi F. May 3, 2011 at 7:50 am

My husband grabbed my Collected Works of Shakespeare last night for some LITE reading material. It reminded me that good ol’ Billy invented quite a few words… and also how much I hated that freakin’ Shakespeare class in college. Forsooth indeed.


Mom at the Barre
May 2, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I am definitely taking position 2! I agree with Donna-where do we draw the line? Poor spelling is such a pet peeve of mine.


May 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Spell properly even if it kills you. The “u” is actually part of a diphthong and makes different sound that the preceding letter on its own, hence why we keep it. No limitation on characters is a good enough excuse for misspelling words or replacing them with digits.

Will the ignominy never end?


ingrid May 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I just saw this and thought it might be marvelously offensive. 😛



Misfit Mommy
May 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Although I HAVE used #1, it has only been on Twitter and only out of necessity (if I have room to spell everything out, I do.) If that kind of spelling anarchy is allowed to go unchecked, it will only be a matter of time before we all start speaking in acronyms (OMG!) and flinging poo at one another.

Unless YOU, Marinka, are on the side of #1. Then I reserve the right to change my position.. 🙂


Marathonmom May 2, 2011 at 6:52 pm


Anything else opens the door to crazy shit like wearing jacked up Fallopian tubes on your head to a wedding. IJS…


May 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I thought that they were two different words – thru, meaning to go thru something like a tunnel and through – meaning I’m done with what ever I’m doing. When the Oxford English Dictionary decides it’s (whatever) a word, then that’s good enough for me. They decided “google” is a verb, well, finally. My students use it like one. Also, if we were to write proper English wouldn’t we go back a few thousand years and start there? We’d all be illiterate. I certainly have a hard enough time just reading Shakespeare.


pam May 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Position 2 for sure. But the real horror is not using to/too and there/they’re/their correctly. My head starts spinning and I start hyperventilating. Perhaps I need to remove myself from the internet.


Jodi F. May 3, 2011 at 8:03 am

And “your” vs. “you’re.” Is it really that difficult? No, it is not.


May 2, 2011 at 9:30 pm

I guess if you don’t mind people thinking you’re an idiot, it’s okay.

For the rest of us— Grammatical Anarchy.

To clarify— POSITION TWO.


Roxanne May 2, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Position #2. I still owe $10K on a degree in English. I will always use it properly. (although, yeah, sometimes I get lazy when using a phone to type a message…)


Jodi F. May 3, 2011 at 8:04 am

Texting is exempt.


The Flying Chalupa
May 3, 2011 at 12:22 am

#2! #2! With the exception of Twitter, of course. And then I’m thru w/ spllg and grmmr.

I mean, WWS&W say? (Strunk and White)


Lex May 3, 2011 at 5:51 am

#2 unless you’re texting. And maybe even then, if you’re over thirty years old.


dusty earth mother May 3, 2011 at 6:57 am

#2, for the love of all that’s holy. Come on. We’re too busy for “o-gh”?


May 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I know I’m getting in late on this post, but I would have been on position 2s side regardless. And I’m one of those addicted to their phones totally texting all the time 20 ish females.

I honestly won’t even use those spellings in text. Mostly because myg eneration has a hard enough time with reading comprehension, and I believe the one place that the slippery slope argument is valid is in grammar.

I’m all for the evolution of language. New words are, however, an art form. As is the prose our generation is so accustomed to…I am, however, against the devolution of language. When you have become so accustomed to typing “2” that you can no longer distinguish between the very helpful clarifying words “to”, “too” and “two” we are starting to go back to our neandrathalic roots…

By attempting to use “lite” and “light” you are doing something that is pretty much the same…”Lite” is meant to indicate something lacking substance, while “light” is meant to indicate various forms of illumination.

Thru still annoys me, but at least it is not a separate word with a very different definition.

Personally, I think people using the “alternate” spellings aren’t usually doing so as a statement about a living language, but because they don’t know the actual spelling.


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