Books Magazine

Spellcheckers

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips
SpellcheckersEven in the short existence of this blog, I've already written twice about spellcheckers and how they can't be trusted (You can't just use spellcheck and A note on proofreading).
Let me be clear on how I feel about spellcheckers. They're great... as long as they're not your only line of defense when proofreading.
Personally, I'm a horrendous speller. So I need spellcheck to pick up on the glaring errors and creative spelling. I highly recommend using spellcheckers. Running the spellchecker is the first thing on my proofreading to-do list.
But sometimes it's wrong. Sometimes it misses things. And sometimes it alerts me to sentence fragments and run-on sentences and such that I actually put there for a purpose. Much of what the spellchecker picks up, I end up ignoring.
So the problem with spellcheckers is when people use them as their one and only proofreading tool. For them to be most effective, you need to combine spellcheckers with other proofreading techniques.
Try adding a grammar checker to the mix. Proofread it with your own eyes. Have someone else look over it. Pay someone to edit and copy edit it. Print it out and read the hard copy version. Read it out loud to yourself or someone else. Have someone read it out loud to you.
Whatever you do, don't limit your proofreading to the spellchecker tool.
And speaking of proofreading tools, back when I brought up some common writing mistakes and ways to avoid making them, a reader asked if I knew anything about grammar checkers. I had actually never heard of such a thing.
But now I've done a bit of research and think that, while we're on the topic of editing, it would be a great follow-up post to this one. So come back tomorrow for the lowdown on grammar checkers.
What are your thoughts on spellchecking programs?
Image: dullhunk, Flickr
© 2011 Tiffany Jansen, writer

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