My Phone is Smart and My Spell Checker Isn’t

By Barbara PeroneFrustrated Woman at Computer With Stack of Paper

Just a pet peeve of mine, but, have any of you ever noticed how your spell checker sometimes acts like a bully and attempts to goad you into making grammatical mistakes?

I use the 2010 version of Microsoft (MS) Word to write and edit articles. Every now and then, my spell checker incorrectly prompts me to replace your with you’re when you’re is actually grammatically correct, based on the context of my sentence.

Nowadays we seem too dependent on our electronic devices to help us with every little thing and sometimes they lead us astray. If you’ve ever used a Global Positioning System (GPS) while driving you know what I’m talking about.

Here’s another instance of what I’m talking about: my spell checker does the same thing with its and it’s. Now, I know darn well that I have to use it’s as a contraction for it is and use its as the possessive form of it. But, each time I use its or it’s my spell checker prompts me to use the wrong version, and not just once, but every single time. It’s maddening!

I know lots of other people are having similar problems with their spell checkers. And I’ve seen one solution that involves turning off Word’s rules for specific grammar or writing styles. Apparently, Word has a natural language grammar checker that flags errors. This checker performs an analysis of your text and allows you to customize the grammar/writing style rules to be less restrictive. Well, I looked everywhere couldn’t find this option anywhere. Besides, it seems like a lot of bother to me anyway.

Why should I have to customize my spell checker to detect basic grammatical errors it should pick up the first time then stop once I make the correction? And I’m not sure if I like that “less restrictive” part of the workaround because it might make matters worse, by letting some errors slip by.

Supposedly, there is another workaround available. All you have to do is select both the Use contextual spelling box and the Check spelling as you type box and deselect the Hide spelling errors box. Again, I looked everywhere for these boxes, but I couldn’t find them anywhere.

In addition, I discovered that a contextual spelling error means the word is spelled correctly, but the use of the word is wrong. For example, if I wanted to use the word dear and instead wrote the word deer the spell checker wouldn’t detect the error, so, that’s not going to help me either.

Here’s my point: I know what I want my spell check to do, I just can’t get it to do what I want it to do. I guess that’s the big difference between me and my spell checker. I know what I want to do and keep trying to find a way to do it, but my spell checker can only perform a bunch of pre-determined actions based on some Programmer’s code.

I’ll give you another example of how my spell checker sometimes irks me. I had a feeling I was misspelling the word auspices. I kept spelling it auspeses, yet, my spell checker had no suggestions for the correct spelling of this word.

So, I had to save, close, and quit my Word file. Then, I had to launch Google, enter the words correct spelling of auspeses. Once I had the correct spelling, I had to exit Google, reopen my MS Word file, delete the misspelling, add the correctly spelled word and only then was did my spell checker bring up the correct spelling. Thanks a bunch spell checker! I did all the hard work and you just sit back and take all the credit!

If only I could get my smartphone to fire my spell checker …

One Reply to “My Phone is Smart and My Spell Checker Isn’t”

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