How do you Check your Spelling?

Do you rely on spellcheck to pick up your spelling mistakes?

If you write regularly you should have realised by now this is not a good idea. Any amount of writing on a PC will show you time and time again that spellcheck is flawed if you want to make the decisions about the choice of words you use.

Best advice? Buy a good dictionary. Not a small, or condensed one. A big one. A proper one.

What does spellcheck do?

Spellcheck will only tell you when a word is incorrectly spelled, not that it is the wrong word. It will bypass the right word in the wrong place. If you are English, it will often give American alternatives for spelling and if you don’t watch it you’ll have written color instead of colour.

Copy the following poem into your text editor and see how many words it picks up as incorrect.

Eye halve a spelling chequer,
It came with my Pea Sea.
It plane lee marcs four my revue
Miss Steaks I kin knot sea.

Eye strike the quays and type a whirred
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am write oar wrong
It tells me strait a weigh.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your shore reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in its weigh.
My chequer tolled me sew.

Spellcheck in Pages (for Mac) only picked up one word as incorrect – chequerScrivener doesn’t pick up any incorrect words. I don’t know about Word as I don’t use it.

Do you rely on spellcheck?

While this is an amusing poem it also demonstrates that relying on spellcheck to pick up spelling mistakes is foolhardy. The only way you will spot any spelling mistakes is to read your work. Read it very carefully – more than once. Give it to friends and ask them to read it – more than once – and then take it back and read it again.

Have you discovered any glaring spelling mistakes that have passed the spellcheck test? What words have you overlooked that may have proved funny when left in a passage? Let us know here and share your anecdotes.