That’s it, I simply cannot stand it another minute. I have to rant a tiny bit. I have to be snotty and pedantic and let out all my pent-up frustration. I have to say it.
The word “definitely" does NOT have an “A" in it! Not! Not! Not!
If I am surfing the Web one more time and I come across one more instance of someone writing “definately" instead of “definitely", I think I will lose my mind, and I will repeatedly scream “THERE IS NO BLOODY AAAAAAAAA…!!!" until I am carted off to the not-so-funny farm, where I will peacefully read dictionaries page by page for the rest of my life.
I know I’m overreacting. I know that not everyone is good at spelling (buy a dictionary). I know that sometimes people make typos (ever heard of a spell check?). And I know that some people just don’t really care about words or spelling or grammar or the rest of it (you are going to Hell).
I just don’t think I’ve ever seen a word so consistently misspelled, and it has become my number one linguistic pet peeve. It’s far worse than the “it’s/its" thing, which is also annoying, but which does not grate on me nearly as much as “definately". The “their/they’re/there" problem is right up there with “definately", but it’s still not quite the same caliber.
In fact, I can think of no other mistake that gets my goat as much as “definately" - except maybe “infinately". Definately. Ugh. It’s appalling to look at. It’s horrible to type. It’s actually difficult to type because, as I realized when I started writing this, the AutoCorrect on my computer automatically changes “definately" to “definitely". Does no one else use this nifty little word processing feature?
I know a lot of you are thinking, “Good God, she needs to get a life.” And some of you will maybe scan my website now for any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors or typos that I may have made myself - in which case, you need to get a life even more than I do. So don’t bother.
I’m not claiming to be the English language queen. I do enjoy reading dictionaries for the fun of it, and I did win a spelling bee once, but I still have to stop and think about how to spell “restaurant" and “bureaucracy" and “embarrassment". When I’m typing too fast, I write “its" instead of “it’s" and “to" when I mean “too". I’m sure that there are numerous nuances of grammar that I am completely missing.
And I don’t expect anyone to be a walking dictionary or to have memorized The Elements of Style. When someone writes me an e-mail or a letter, the last thing I think about is whether a word has been misspelled or a typo has gone unnoticed. I love words, but I’m not that pathetic.
But I do think that people writing for the general public need to show a little respect for the written word - and for their readers. They need to be aware that linguistic sloppiness reflects badly on the writer and is an insult to the reader. They need to take the time to make sure that they are not butchering their language through sheer carelessness.
And by all means, if nothing else, they need to make sure that they never, ever, ever, ever, ever spell the word “definitely" with an “a".