A client wrote to me today, a beautifully hand-written letter - albeit in block capitals - asking me if I had any "thorts" on his tax liability.
He clearly doesn't have a pedant like me proof-reading his mail before it goes in the post.
I am sure spelling and grammar must have been dropped from the school curriculum since I left, and as for punctuation ... I despair!
My own children demonstrated the same desire to make sentences as long as possible and sprinkle them liberally with unnecessary commas. Colons and semi-colons? Not a chance.
As for apostrophes, I don't think there's anyone in the office who uses them correctly all of the time. Even those who are old enough to know better can't resist the temptation to add an apostrophe to the occasional plural for no reason at all.
I did once draw up a list of the word pairs that the Microsoft spelling checker wouldn't spot if you used the wrong one - effect/affect, for example. My then secretary said she thought the more junior staff would fine my memo insulting, so I binned it. I think she meant embarrassed rather than insulted, because the standard of spelling and grammar is pretty embarrassing sometimes, considering clients tend to receive only a handful of communications from us each year. The least we can do is make sure they are written in correct English.
I suspect my fixation with language stems from my university days as a modern language student when both English and French grammar were of the utmost importance, and ever since it has been second nature. For me at least, the correct use of language is like correct arithmetic. There are basic rules, not difficult to learn, and usually there's only one correct answer. Yes, affect and effect, their and there, poor and pour - there's only one right word on each occasion. I just seem to be alone in wanting to use the right one each time!