Saturday, November 24, 2007

Writing for Grammar: What's the Big Deal About Spelling? Part 2

Last time we mentioned that proper spelling is primarily for credibility, not meaning.

What is the best way to check your spelling? With a dictionary and thesaurus. Or go to online sources like or For goodness sakes, don't rely on the spell checker in your word processing program.

You'll see why if you read the following poem aloud:

I halve a spelling checker, it came with my pea see.
It plainly marks four my revue mistakes I dew knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word and weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write, it shows me strait aweigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid, it nose been fore two long,
And eye can put the era rite-its rarely ever wrong.
I've scent this massage threw it,
And I'm shore your pleased too no

Its letter prefect in every weigh-my checker tolled me sew.

This poem would be passed as perfect by the spell checkers in most word processing programs. That's because all the words in the poem are real words-but not the words you want to use.

Spell checkers are only good at picking out nonsense words, they can't judge context. If your misspelling makes a real word, you are snookered. And judged a moron by the reader.

So, use your spell checker as your first line of defense against the heartbreak of misspellings, but don't stop there. Nothing beats careful line by line proofreading.For a list of the most commonly misspelled words in North American, and some notable misspellings, you can see my companion Writing Tip on Spelling.

No comments: