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Writing tip 15 – Beware of the spell-check

Last week I wrote about a survey that said separate is the most misspelled word in the English language, at least in Britain. Two out of three in the survey admitted that using spell-check on computers had made them lazy when writing letters or notes by hand. Here I must sound a word of warning.

A spell-check, which flags words that are spelled incorrectly, will approve of every correctly spelled word typed onto a screen even though the context may be wrong.

For example, the computer will happily accept the word made although the writer may have meant maid.

Here is a bizarre example. It’s called Ode to the Spell Checker and is available on the Internet:

“Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

“Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

“As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

“Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect in it’s weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

-Sauce unknown”

Apart from showing some of the absurdities of spelling in the English language, the poem does underline the need to treat a computer spell-check with caution. You may wish to proofread your text even though the spell-check seems fine.

I welcome your comments.

Rolf Soderlind

http://www.absolutwriting.com/ absolutwriting

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