Spelling Suggestions

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on September 28, 2013 in Personal |

I just love these little software applications which tell users what they should be writing. I love the way you can work at a piece, refine and edit it, bring your whole inner child out and portray all your emotions, experiences, life itself for your reader and then a spellchecker comes up and says: hold up!

In case you haven’t guessed it from the last sentence, I’m not really a great believer or lover of anything which corrects grammar or makes suggestions about which words would be better in which context, what is too complicated, cryptic, complex or archaic. I believe in reading what I have written and working my way through it, refining, editing, bringing character out which a spellchecker cannot see, cannot appreciate. This is what my character is, I tell the checker, not perfect but real.

Viktoria Michaelis: Spelling Viktoria Michaelis: Spelling

And here is why. In my last post my spell- and grammar checker decided that the word ‘purchase’ is too complex. It fits, no two ways about that, and everyone can understand what I mean since it – the word – has a clear meaning. However: it is too complex. Why don’t we try – my checker suggests – the word ‘buy’: simple, clean, much the same meaning. Fine, we’ll put in ‘buy’ just this once and see what happens. And the checker comes up and says: hold up!

The checker seems to think that I am using the wrong word now, that I should replace ‘buy’ with ‘by’. That would, of course, render my sentence meaningless and open me to attacks based on my spelling – we all know that there are people out in the world of the Internet who do nothing other than correct spelling for other people, and I’ve done it myself too! – and ruin a perfectly good post. I don’t know how it works with other people, but when I find a spelling mistake in a book, it tends to throw me, makes me want to correct it, distracts me from the story. Not what the author wants at all. And, in the same vein, ‘by’ is not what the author wants here, because it is wrong, spell- and grammar checker, it is wrong!

The solution is simple: change it back to ‘purchase’ and go make a cup of tea while the checker fumes quietly in the background and then, before the checker can make a single further suggestion, hit the publish button and be done with it. That’ll learn it!

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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