Spellcheck: Nut Always Prefect

Nov 23, 2016

Spellcheck is great. Those squiggly red lines tell you that you’ve mistyped and suggest how to correct the error. Or maybe you have your settings so that Word auto-corrects as you type. But what about when you type a word, but it isn’t the one you should use? How do you catch that mistake?

Consider this sentence:

Half you red something that doesn’t make cents?

The words are correct, and read aloud it sounds fine. But when on paper or the screen, you should see errors that spellcheck fails to catch.

Let’s try again:

Have you read something that doesn’t make sense?

Spellcheck is great for catching misspellings. But if your typos produce real words, spellcheck misses them. And, if you’ve been working on a document for a while, you might miss them too. There are a couple of tricks that you can work on catching those errors before you include them in an assignment or a document at work.

  1. Read the document out loud. Focus on each word to catch where you might have transposed letters (perfect/prefect) or used the wrong word (great/grate).
  2. Print the document. Sometimes errors are more obvious when looking at a hard copy version of the document instead of reviewing it on a screen.
  3. Leave the document. If you have the time, try scheduling a few days to let the document sit so you can review it with a fresh pair of eyes. As a bonus, the time might allow you to think of another approach or idea to strengthen it.
  4. Share the document. Ask someone else to review what you’ve prepared and specifically look for typos.

When you’re reviewing your work, look out for these easily mis-typed words:

  • Add/Ad
  • Alter/Alert
  • Manager/Manger
  • Of/Or
  • Perfect/Prefect
  • Produce/Product
  • Put/Pet/Pat
  • Quite/Quiet
  • Star/Start
  • Work/Word

Watch for a related post soon about commonly misused words.