Love Hate Relationship With Spellcheck

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Don’t you just hate it? You run the spell check on your article and find ridiculous correction suggestions. I love the little red and blue squiggly lines. Word catches lots of obvious typos like then when you mean than. Misspelled words like mena instead of mean and extra spaces. But it also bings on things that are real words or slang terms as misspelled words. Bings for example now has a red squiggly line under it. Bings is not in my Word dictionary. My character Mindy used the word thingie, and it got red lines. In a recent blog I stated writers trip over this. And writers was blue-lined. When I ran the spelling and grammar check, Word cited an apostrophe grammar rule. The problem is trip is being used as a verb and writers is plural not possessive. So, I ignored the suggestion. Now, if I were relying totally on my grammar check, I would have allowed the apostrophe. Big mistake!

Nevertheless, pay attention to those squiggly lines. Correct all that must be changed. But don’t put your complete trust in them. There are times I use a sentence fragment in my novel for effect. So, I am not going to change it. But a sentence fragment in an article may not be the effect I want to present to the publisher.

These squiggly lines are your friend. The software helps you fix the obvious. However, question each one. Word doesn’t rely on AP or Chicago book of style for their grammar suggestions. Those of us who struggle with remembering what is the acceptable use of commas are better off checking our style books than relying on Word’s rules. I’m just sayin’ (another red squiggly line) double check on your own or call a friend for a second set of eyes to be sure your manuscript is error free.

We all know the spellcheck doesn’t catch misspellings if the misspelled word is a real word. I just typed won when I meant to type own. It is so easy to have typos that you don’t notice if you rely on the PC spellcheck. Read your words out loud. Often you catch them. Better yet have someone else read them out loud while you follow along. Even easier to catch those obvious mistakes.

You can learn to love and respect your grammar and spellcheck once you remember it isn’t always right. Which is a good thing. It keeps us from becoming lazy about editing our words to perfection.

What is your pet peeve about spellcheck? And what is the common boo boo you make that spellcheck never catches?

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