The Write Stuff April 2016 Volume 12 Issue 4

Don’t Be Fooled By Spellcheck

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s not a good idea to assume every suggestion made by Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar check tool is correct. In fact, more times than not, what’s suggested is wrong, so blindly following its recommendations may make you look foolish.

Over the past month or so, I’ve kept track of some of the more outlandish suggestions I’ve received while writing in Word. Perhaps you’ll chuckle a bit, or just roll your eyes in disbelief, but the message should take hold about the folly of thinking that this online tool is omnipotent.

Original: twigs, leaves and bark
Suggestion: twigs, leaves and barks

Original: how much water will your roof shed
Suggestion: how much water wills your roof shed

Original: are your marketing efforts
Suggestion: are you’re marketing efforts

Original: consumers who support
Suggestion: consumers that support

In case you haven’t figured it out, in all four cases, the original is correct and what was suggested is not. The moral of the story: use your brain, or a secondary resource, if you question something Word is telling you to do. I’m happy to serve as an arbiter when you’re in doubt.

A Trio of Trouble
Given that many of my days are spent reading other people’s work, I see some words that are commonly misspelled by adding a hyphen to them. Here are three examples:

Ongoing — not on-going
Proactive — not pro-active
Turnaround — not turn-around
You may see others hyphenating these words, but that doesn’t make it right. If I had a dollar for every spelling or grammar error I spot in “professional” messages, I could retire.

My Pet Peeves
Here are two writing miscues that aren’t earth-shattering, but will bug anyone who’s a wordsmith:

  • Using “include” and then listing all options. Instead of writing “your three choices include red, white and blue,” write “your three choices are red, white and blue.”
  • Using “additionally” and “also” in the same sentence. Instead of writing “Additionally, the Cubs also have a 10-3 record,” write “Additionally, the Cubs have a 10-3 record” or “The Cubs also have a 10-3 record.”
Published On: May 25th, 2017 / Categories: 2016 /

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