Spell check- One of Your Greatest Enemies

Have you ever read anything that didn't make sense? Your skimming an article and suddenly your informational pressure gauge is zeroed and you come to a screeching halt. Then you find yourself reading and re-reading a sentence or two wondering why you don't get it. It's not you, it's spell check. There are a lot of tools laying around waiting for the writer to pick up and sharpen his craft with. Spell check is not one of them. It is a tool built into most every word processor that breeds laziness. And no two spell check dictionaries are the same. Take MS Office versus Open Office for instance. One is given an American dictionary and the other an English dictionary. Not a big deal? Is it colour or color? Is it center or centre? Each program will tell you something different. Simple solution; don't use it. Hemingway once said that the dictionary is a reference guide, read it once and throw it away. Remember that practice makes perfect and also renders this tool inert. You won't need to use it if you don't have to. You will also feel personally accomplished when you finish a piece and it has no red lines under it. Plus you will avoid embarrassment when it does work like it did at Brigham Young University. In an article about The Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints spellcheck replaced the word apostle with apostate.


Stephanie said...

Ha! I laughed at the last part.

I do technical writing for a living.. and I have to admit that I LOVE spell check

Dan said...

Spell check can certainly be a useful tool. I worry more about it becoming a crutch. But then again mistakes like the example I used are ultimately in the hands of whoever is clicking "replace". And they do make for hilarious New York Times headlines!