How to Use Spell Checks More Efficiently

There’s a tendency towards simplifying spelling and relaxing quite rigid English grammar rules. In the fast-paced world, people tend to make their lives easier and less stressful – hence the desire to depart from tough writing rules. Now that we have so many applications enabling instant messaging at our disposal, as well as social media platforms facilitating online communication, not only simplified spelling, but also spell checking tools come in particularly handy. 

In the era of text messaging, users’ poor spelling skills and lousy grammar come under the spotlight. There have been lots of instances where public figures were ridiculed for their failure to spell words properly. Suffice it to recall Donald Trump’s embarrassing “covfefe” typo, which spawned a whole host of Internet memes and jokes. Obviously, Trump hadn’t taken advantage of Twitter spell check function and as a result fell victim to his inattentiveness. If you’re reading this article, chances are you don’t want to become an object of mockery with grammar ninjas. Undoubtedly, you know how to use built-in spell checks in your favorite apps and probably make use of online spell checking tools to refine your writing now and then. But to make sure you’re getting the most out of this software, you need to learn the simple tricks outlined below. 

Make a space after commas and periods

Users often confuse their spell checkers when they forget to insert spaces after commas within a sentence or after periods. For example, you may type “GM foods still remain a grey area,especially in the third world countries.” It’s evident that your checker will identify the “area,especially” as a single word and, consequently, won’t suggest appropriate improvements. To avoid such confusion, be sure to use a normal word space after punctuation marks.

Make sure you’re using the right dictionary

To determine whether or not the words you type are correct, your spell check would compare them to their equivalents found in its dictionary. If you’re using an American dictionary as a default option, such words as “favourite,” “centre,” or “travelling” will be automatically marked as misspelled by your checker. You may select either the Ignore or Change option. But try to be consistent. You don’t want to end up mixing up British English and American English words in your piece of writing. Note that you can change the language in the default dictionary anytime.

Add more words to the dictionary

Spell checks often have trouble recognizing proper names like foreign names, specific localities, etc. If you’re going to use the word your spell check cannot recognize, we recommend adding it to the customized dictionary. By doing so you’ll eliminate the need to constantly skip the suggested spelling variants and won’t get distracted by your checker’s attempts to alert you to the alleged error.

Disable grammar check

If your tool also checks for grammar errors, consider disabling this function when checking your text for spelling errors. This will let you spot minor spelling mistakes and typos, which may detract from your article’s credibility and overall value. After you correct all the errors detected by your tool, it’s a good idea to run the spell check again. Thus, you’ll ensure you didn’t misspell some words when making corrections. Once you’re through with spell checking, you may want to enable the grammar check feature again and focus on the syntax, word order, and other aspects of the language you would like to check in depth.

Use up-to-date spell checks

Many modern tools utilize the state-of-the-art spelling correction algorithm, which makes it possible to detect misused apostrophes (of the lack thereof), identify homophone mistakes and other subtle errors in your text. Now most messaging apps and social networking sites feature built-in spell checks for you to always be confident about your spelling. You can also avail yourself of Microsoft Word and Google Docs spell checks famed for their accuracy and ability to identify the trickiest errors and suggest adequate corrections. Online spell and grammar checks like Grammarly or can also do you good. With the help of modern spell check solutions not only will you be able to quickly correct all misspellings, but also improve your sentence structure, grammar, and writing style.   

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.