Why Can’t Engineers Spell?

Engineers are known for their impeccable smarts, impressive math skills, and overwhelming knowledge of everything, but why in the world can’t they spell? Engineers are some of the most educated individuals in the world, yet when it comes to writing and spelling, we really fall short.

Maybe it was those countless all-nighters in college that slowly chipped away at the engineer’s ability to form comprehensible words. Or maybe the abundance of math knowledge just means there isn’t room for the mundane task of spelling. So, what exactly is the reason that engineers can’t spell?


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Whether you agree or not, the opinion that engineers cannot spell is a commonly held one. Good spelling is undoubtedly important across the board. I mean, a manager is obviously going to hire the engineer whose resumé is titled “resumé”  rather than “resame.” What even is a “resame?” But for some reason, engineers have long believed that their math and technical skills are going to carry them through life and that communicating with proper spelling isn’t necessary.

As engineers, we are commonly introverted, which means we don’t like talking to other people. We like sitting in silence quietly working. When we don’t have to talk or communicate with other people, why would an engineer spend time working on their spelling when they can become better at math? In the world of an engineer, math is life, socialization is death.

As another theory, engineers may feel that spelling isn’t necessary.

There’s an obvious flaw in this thinking, but unfortunately, many engineers likely subscribe to this thought process. After all, isn’t engineering just all math and computers? I don’t have to talk to anyone ever, right...right? Unfortunately for many engineers, communication is a daily and even essential part of the job. Even still, many engineers can’t spell.

Maybe we can’t spell because we spend our days typing in CAD commands and programming codes that we forget there are actually words, not abbreviations. There is a shortcut for literally every command, which means engineers never have to type out a full word. When you spend your days typing the first letter of words without spelling everything out, it’s easy to start thinking that words are just an illusion and you don’t actually have to spell because a program will do it for you. In an increasingly computer-run world that automatically fixes mistakes, engineers don’t have to worry about spelling, or do they?


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To be honest, the fact that engineers can’t spell is likely a combination of all of these factors. As engineers we rely on technology constantly, maybe even too much. The more time we spend letting computers fix our mistakes, the harder it becomes to recognize and fix those mistakes.

Want to improve your spelling?

Try turning off your spell checker for a day and write some important emails and documents. You’ll find that catching mistakes and knowing the proper spelling of words is going to come right back to you. After all, spelling is an important part of communication and success in the technical realm. Computers can’t catch everything.

Trevor is a civil engineer by trade and an accomplished internet blogger with a passion for inspiring everyone with new and exciting technologies. He is also a published children’s book author whose most recent book, ZOOM Go the Vehicles, is aimed at inspiring young kids to have an interest in engineering.

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