Here’s why the misspelling of “whoa” bothers me so much more than other misspellings:
I understand that language evolves. Words spelled one way in the past are spelled another way today. Words spelled one way today will be spelled another way in the future. Language, spelling, grammar, syntax, and other linguistic aspects change over time, and that’s fine. But that doesn’t mean we should simply ignore the etymology of a word because some people misspell or misuse it. And, of course, we don’t. For instance, few people argue that we should accept “rediculous” as a valid spelling, despite it being a very common misspelling.
This argument changes, however, when we get to certain words. “Whoa” is the one I notice the most; in fact, when it comes to “whoa”, this argument gets thrown out the window completely. Then stabbed with the broken shards of glass for good measure. This particularly bothers me because its most common misspelling – “woah” – doesn’t make any sense. When people misspell “ridiculous” with an “e”, the word is still phonetically correct. The same basic idea goes for difficult-to-spell words. But with “woah”, the logical basis behind the misspelling simply isn’t there. It’s just bad spelling; the phonetics of the word change entirely: “woah” has two syllables and rhymes with Noah. But point out this misspelling and everyone loses their shit. Suddenly we’re suppose to accept it because it’s so common.
That sounds rediculous to me.