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Posted on November 1, 2011

What a dangerous tool is the spell checker.  Curiously, it purports to check the spelling (and grammar) of a piece of writing whilst, of itself, being a bastardisation of language; surely, Mr Gates, you meant 'spelling checker'? 
Be that as it may, we all use them and very good they can be.  No longer is it enough to be good at spelling, now one has to be good at typing too, and very few of us are perfect at both.  Mistakes abound in typed text, not matter how carefully constructed; before I publish this post, I will run the spell checker and it will tell me where I have gone wrong.  No, actually, it will tell me where the programming 'thinks' (in the loosest sense of that word) I have gone wrong. 
Please don't make the mistake of assuming that the spell checker is always right, though.  Almost certainly, your vocabulary is greater than that of the program; fine, look at the words it tells you are wrong, but don't immediately think it is right and you are wrong.  Make sure that the dictionary is set to the correct language (different varieties of English use very different spellings for the same word).  Make sure that, if you add words to the program's vocabulary, they are spelt correctly; stick a wrongly spelled word into the vocab and that's it, you'll never realise for ever more that you're getting wrong.
I won't even start going into the grammar checker in this post.

Tags: Pitfalls of Spelling Checkers