Spell Check ~ Best Friend or Worse Enemy

Hi, SEers. Joan here. Today my post is a little more for fun than education. Having recently read and proofed a new release, I had to laugh at some of the things I had typed.

I’m a big fan of using spell check. It has saved me from making many mistakes and for that, I am grateful. We’ve come a long way from typewriters and correction fluid. I use grammar check to help me recognize things such as active vs. passive voice. One might say that spell check is a writer’s best friend, but…

I once considered myself a good speller. Now, I’m not so sure. I make frequent spelling mistakes—many of the same ones repeatedly. What’s worse, I find that I’m getting lazy with spelling. Why worry about getting it right when spell check will correct it? So can it also be my worst enemy?

Spell check isn’t always available. For instance, I once wrote the following status update on Facebook: “Is Hollywood so despirate [sic] that they can’t think of anything original?”

Obvious misspell. Don’t even get me started with auto correct on my phone. It may give a legitimate word, but not always the right one.

But even spell check doesn’t always discern the correct word. Therefore, it has contributed to some embarrassing moments for me. For instance, several years ago I had to present a budget at the district meeting of an international service organization.

I was new to using a word processer at that time, but was quite proud of how I had formatted my presentation. Imagine my embarrassment when I stepped up to the podium and saw that I had typed air fair rather than airfare.

If only I had consulted a dictionary… (By the way, no one pointed out my mistake.)

There have been some funny moments too. Once I wrote the following sentence. “He walked into the bar and ordered a bear.” Excuse me? Did he drink a bear or a beer?

But I will continue to use spill check, uh, I mean spell check. But when in doubt, there is no excuse for not to consult an online dictionary. Maybe even an old-fashioned print one…

Do you use spell check? What are some of your funniest mistakes? Share in the comments.


52 thoughts on “Spell Check ~ Best Friend or Worse Enemy

  1. Pingback: Blackboard Has The Worst Spell Check - BlackboardSub

  2. My most embarrassing was on my second teaching practice and I had written riythm on the blackboard. Just my luck that the adjudicator came in that day and pointed it out. I was sure was going to fail. I have always remembered how to spell it since.

    Liked by 2 people

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  5. I’m still trying to figure out how to disable the automatic spell check, because the auto-correct is often ridiculous. For example, I typed the band name ‘Aerosmith’ into the mobile WP app which I understand may not be a ‘real’ word that the app recognizes, but it was still so presumptuous to tell me that the word I was looking for was ‘Seasoning’. ??? lol

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Joan,
    I am the worse speller and friends who know me for years can’t believe I’m a writer since retirement. I couldn’t get to first base if it wasn’t for the spell checker in Word. Then I discovered Grammarly and I use it when I’m online. I advanced to Hemmingway for the further spell and grammar check. Now I have taken another step in using ProWriterAid. When I finish all this checking, I use NaturalReader to listen to the manuscript draft. Do you think I’m a little paranoid? LOL I was a Budget Director for a local government and in my later career did Capital Budgeting presentation at national and state professional conferences. I’ve made more than one spelling or grammar mistakes with my slide presentations.They are embarrassing. What was more embarrassing was my ignorance about hiring an editor for my first book. OH YES, I published it without having it edited. One of the first reviews pointed out several of the mistakes. So now I’m paranoid and do checks and re-checks and this is before it goes to my editor. So don’t follow my example, learn from my mistakes. Thank you for an informative post. HUGS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chuck, I’ve not used Hemingway but I have used Natural Reader. It’s amazing what mistakes you catch by reading aloud or using a software program. But still having an editor and/or critique partners is essential. Thanks so much for stopping by today!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I use the paid version of Grammarly and it catches some of the errors. It seems to be best with punctuation, passive voice and “ly” words. I am finishing up re-editing my first book. I was horrified at all the errors it contained. I had a crappy editor and it was my first book. Well, anyway, long story short, I have gone through line-by-line to edit. I have gone through one with Grammarly and once with Word Spell Check. I was shocked at how much Grammarly missed. Let’s face it. Editing sucks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Jan. I use Grammarly premium and it catches a lot. It will also recognize when I use a certain word and asks if I meant something else. But it’s not fool-proof. I’ve also learned that it doesn’t like certain words and will suggest deleting them. Sometimes it’s okay but other times I want to leave them as is. But it is good to catch punctuation. I probably should go back and look at one of my older works. I dread to see what mistakes I made in it!


  8. I write in Scrivener, and I think it’s spell checker is fine. Limited? Of course! Sometimes incorrect (that word isn’t actually a word, except that it is). Sure. It’s a computer program, after all. The same goes for Grammarly (which I actually find incredibly helpful). Between the two features, the code probably catches 80% of my spelling and grammar mistakes. I’ll take it! The important thing is to recognize that these programs don’t catch everything. They’re a starting point. I run stuff through Grammarly, use spell check. Then, I go back and I read my work out loud. I’m always amazed at the stuff that neither program caught, but I never feel put out or begrudge the programs for not being perfect. The ultimate responsibility for editing and proofreading lies squarely in my own lap, after all. Thanks for the post, and happy writing to you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I use spell check to catch obvious errors, but rely on old-fashioned editing, critique partners and professional edits to get rid of all those pesky typos and misspellings. I think phones are the worst. Sometimes the auto corrects are helpful, especially for quick texting. But I once called someone a jerk when texting them thanks to that built-in feature. I can’t remember what I wanted to say, just what the end result was. I was a little too fast on the send, LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I hate to admit that I’ve become fairly dependent on spellcheck. I’m fighting tooth and nail to avoid this with autocorrect too. At least the first doesn’t try to rewrite things. Although, the worst has to be grammar check. All the times it tells me to do something that isn’t right drives me nuts. There were so many times in college where I listened to it and then the spot got marked as wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’ve never used Grammarly (gotta check it out), but I have a grammar guru in the family, so she is quick to inform me of my grammar mistakes. Lol! I also have 3-6 beta readers for any novel that I’m writing. They tend to find whatever errors that Word does not pick up. And even then, I’ll spend a couple of months away from the project and reread it (sometimes aloud) to still find a few more issues to fix. It’s never anything drastic, but even one error in my own writing makes me cringe. Now, cell phone auto-correct errors… don’t even get me started! Lol! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I used to be a good speller. I’m afraid spell check has become a crutch for me. Usually it works out okay, but sometimes . . . ! There was an email I had to send to my boss, and I was reporting on a uniform SHIRT. See how that word is close to another word? Spell check did not catch my missed R. This was to my boss, y’all. Major embarrassment!

    Liked by 4 people

  13. I use both spell checker and Grammarly … although both have issues and need to be used as a back up only and not the main check. You need a proofreader for a full check, unless you’re a good speller yourself. So far, no computer program can match the trained human eye. The most amusing proofing error I saw was in the local parish newsletter where it said, ‘While proofreading this issue, we were amazed at the number of please for help.’ … The word, of course, wanted to be pleas. Thanks for an amusing post, Joan! 🙂

    Pressed This on http://harmonykent.co.uk/spell-check-best-friend-or-worse-enemy/

    Liked by 3 people

    • A good proofreader is a must. And you’re right, the trained human eye can’t be duplicated on any computer program. Your example is a good one. Spell check doesn’t catch real words.


  14. I’ve had more than my fair share, to be sure. The most recent one (that I noticed) was the world shifting on its access rather than axis. Gotta love it when spellcheck “helps” and autocorrects for you. I’m sure my fingers hit the wrong keys to begin with (maybe I typed a C instead of an X?), but the solution wasn’t ideal. Glad we caught it in time. (Yep, another reason to have beta readers and editors read your work.)

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Because I am the worlds worst, I use a load of things. None of which help with those instances where words are changed without my consent, that I sometimes don’t notice because the replacement is spelt correctly. My keyboard seems to be possessed!

    Liked by 5 people

  16. What should have been “intense, heated passion” showed up as “intact, heated poison!” 😣 And that slipped through spell check, Grammarly and Pro Writing Premium! 😨

    I don’t know… hit my head, too much wine, fell asleep… all of the above? 😝

    Liked by 7 people

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