Ben Franklin, My Spelling Guru

As a lifelong poor speller, I’ve always appreciated Benjamin Franklin.  Now there was one smart guy!  Consider what he once wrote:

You need not be concerned in writing to me about your bad spelling, for in my opinion as our alphabet now stands the bad spelling, or what is called so, is generally best, as conforming to the sound of the letters and of the words.  To give you an instance:

A gentleman receiving a letter in which were these words, ‘Not finding Brown at hom, I delivered your meseg to yf.’  The gentleman finding it bad spelling and therefore not very intelligible called his lady to help him read it.  Between them they picked out the meaning of all but ‘yf,’ which they could not understand.  The lady proposed calling her chambermaid, ‘for Betty,” said she, ‘has the best knack at reading bad spelling of anyone I know.’  Betty came and was surprised that neither Sir nor Madam could tell what ‘yf’ was.  ‘Why,’ says she, ‘yf spells wife.  What else can it spell?’  And indeed it is a much better as well as shorter method of spelling ‘wife’ than by doubleyou, I, ef, e, which in reality spells ‘doubleyifey.’

Well said, Ben!

“My spelling is Wobbly.  It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”

A. A. Milne




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4 responses to “Ben Franklin, My Spelling Guru

  1. Pingback: 15 Famous Thinkers Who Couldn't Spell - Online College Courses

  2. Pingback: Some Famous Thinkers Who Had Difficulty Spelling But Changed the World « Rashid's Blog

  3. Pingback: 15 Famous Thinkers Who Couldn’t Spell - Lee Lofland

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