An educational website that claimed it had an easy way for its readers to remember how to spell certain words has failed in its mission, after one man spotted a glaring error in its logic.
Moys Kenwood, 57, wanted to check the spelling of the word 'instil', or, more specifically, whether or not it was spelt 'instill' in the US. To this end, he accessed www.writingexplained.org, a website that, you would have imagined, would have had the answer.
What he discovered was confusing. He read:
"There is an easy way to remember that instill is the American spelling of this word. Instill is spelled with a double L, just like the American city of Dallas, Texas."
Which is fine, only if you can remember which American city you should think about when trying to remember how many letter 'l's there are in instil/instill.
I mean, how is it possible to forget how to spell 'instill', but still possible to remember that you have to remember 'Dallas' in order to remember how to spell 'instill'?
Imagine, if you will, what might happen if you tried to remember, and came up with 'Seattle' instead of Dallas. Or 'Indianapolis', which starts with 'in', and might easily lead one in the 'wrong direction', so to speak.
Might it not be better to try to remember the state 'Illinois'? Although, on reading that back, it looks like it starts with three letter 'l's. Which would be confusing:
"I think it would be better for me to instil in readers that it is better to try and learn certain spellings WITHOUT trickery of the kind advised by dodgy grammar websites. That is, unless you can correctly remember whether it's Dalas, Seatlle, Indeanapolis, or Woshington you're trying to associate the spellings with."