5 Reasons to Never Depend on Spell-Check
Let’s set the record straight right now: You should never depend on spell-check alone. It is not your friend. We have all fallen victim to spell-check at one time or another—that’s assuming that it was run in the first place. Whether it’s a misused word (form instead of from), improper grammar, or comma placement, spell-check has become nothing but a wide cast net for business and personal use—catching only some of the errors in our work while many of them fall through the mesh holes permanently into the print that defines us.
Spell-check searches mostly for misspelled words. That’s all. Sure, today’s version will check for grammar issues as well as clarity and conciseness but it’s ability is only kindergarten level at best. So, while spell-check is a good initial tool as a first line of defense, there are many reasons why should never rely on it completely.
1. Spell-check won’t catch mistyped words.
- To, too, and two
- Form and from
- Nice and ice
- Affect and effect
If you mistyped any of these words instead of the other (and there are about a zillion more examples like these), spell-check won’t catch mistyped words. While spell-check will ensure that every word is spelled correctly, it won’t tell you if you’ve used the wrong word. So, if you’ve typed now instead of know or sole instead of sold or (Gasp!) pubic instead of public, spell-check won’t help you. Whether you’ve misused a word or accidently typed the wrong word (that’s still spelled correctly), it will remain in your document unless you find it yourself.
[pullquote]Spell-check searches mostly for misspelled words. That’s all.[/pullquote]
When you’re writing for your business, everything you say and do represents your brand. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that your copy is correct. But truly, no matter what the purpose of your writing, Don’t you want to avoid an embarrassing mistake?
2. Spell-check is always outdated.
Us people keep grammarians busy! That’s because the English language is constantly changing. Merriam-Webster adds hundreds of new words to the dictionary each year. And The Chicago Manual of Style changes language rules due to evolution. So, how outdated is the spell-check on your computer? Three, five, seven years old? Fact: even if you have the latest version of spell-check, it’s already outdated. In addition, spell-check isn’t up to date on the latest slang terms, marketing jargon or neologisms, so it will flag these terms as being wrong when they actually correct.
[pullquote]FACT: Even if you have the latest version of spell-check, it’s already outdated.[/pullquote]
3. Spell-check can’t read your mind.
Sometimes we’re writing something in a rush. Maybe you’re late for a meeting, finishing something last minute, or up late at night. Tired, rushed, late… it happens to the best of us. But spell-check doesn’t know that, nor does it care. Spell-check won’t discern what you meant to write from what you did write. It doesn’t know the difference between a casual email, a sales presentation, or an annual report. It gives you no special treatment. Spell check does the same job at the same speed all of the time. Sure, it’s always just a click away, but spell check doesn’t work to uphold your reputation. It doesn’t learn from its mistakes, and it certainly doesn’t learn from yours. Spell check will let you make the same mistakes over and over again without fail. In fact, it won’t ever learn a thing… and it won’t help you learn either.
4. Spell-check doesn’t give thoughtful advice.
Have you ever wished you could say something better? Write more succinctly? Speak more convincingly? If you think that spell-check will help with any of that, you’ll be sadly disappointed. If you’ve misstated your point, spell-check won’t suggest alternative wording. And if you’ve taken too long to get to your point, spell check won’t suggest how to say more with fewer words.
5. Spell-check has never been a good listener.
In the end, when an error has damaged your reputation or cost your company money, spell-check certainly won’t buy you a beer (or a glass of wine) and listen to your troubles afterward. So, take it from us… always hire a professional to proofread, edit, and even write your content. You’ll be glad you did.
Never depend on spell-check alone!
Hire a proofreader to ensure your business and personal writing represents you best.
Have a spell-check nightmare? Share yours with us.
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