CINCINNATI - As the Regional Spelling Bee begins, words are on our minds. You might think that we are a nation of champion spellers.
Unfortunately, that’s just not true.
The United States ranked 22nd in literacy in 2012, according to a report by the CIA World Factbook . While English is a notoriously difficult language to master, the amount of money spent on education in this country makes that ranking unacceptable.
From festival signs in Sharonville to billboards for Cincinnati State, examples of terrible spelling are evident across the Tri-State.
9 On Your Side reporter Scott Wegener found examples of bad spelling littered throughout the Greater Cincinnati area and across the country. He documents many of his findings in the video found in the media player above. (Mobile users can see the video by viewing this story in a web browser)
But aside from the English majors and the annoying people on Facebook who like to copy edit your status updates, do people care about proper spelling? Does it even matter anymore?
"You can get by and misspell things,” said Norman Finkelstein, English professor at Xavier University. “A lot of people these days, you're right, aren't even going to recognize necessarily that you have misspelled something."
Finkelstein said even people such as Shakespeare struggled with spelling.
"Some of the greatest writers in the English language…were spelling things the way they wanted to spell them."
But Finkelstein said there’s a difference between not knowing better and not caring.
"There's something to be said for paying attention," he said.