The Ironies of the Spell-Checker

What with not being that good at spelling, and an even worse typist, I tend to rely on the spell-check (note the inclusion of the hyphen, required to pass the spelling test) facility in word processing software to catch my more grievous failures.  But sometimes, it seems, I have a vocabulary that confuses the embedded dictionary; it litters my draft with those accusatory wavy red lines, but offers no credible replacements, and I have to resort to alternative methods: searching for the spelling of the word I want on-line, or going ultra traditional and looking in my 1975 Concise Oxford Dictionary.

The spell-check facility in WordPress makes me laugh most days.  It’s very particular: type WordPress and it simply won’t have it – get that middle P into capitals to win the tick of no underlining.

Type in the word ‘blog’ and it shakes its head, rejects it, and offers unhelpful alternatives of glob, bog, slog or biog.  And I ask,  is ‘biog’ a word?  Turns out it’s not; if at the end of writing a draft, I click on the spell check button for one last review of the piece, it tells me biog isn’t a word, and suggests blog, big, bog, bio and, bios instead.  But now it doesn’t like bios, and gives me boos, biogs, bis and bias ….. and now I’m in a descending spiral of spelling inconsistencies.

What started me thinking about this, and playing around with words on the screen was a sentence I wrote a couple of days ago ‘….he examined his reaction with a cool analytical eye…’ and the checker insisted that I couldn’t mean ‘eye’, shouldn’t it be ‘I’?  and no matter how I look at the context, I can’t see any way that I would fit there.

Do you ever find yourselves jousting with the spelling software, or is it just me?

Leave a comment


  1. Some spell checkers drive me nuts! 😉

  2. I blame spell-checkers for the current generation’s inability to spell even the simplest of words.

    • It may be true. I certainly rely on it for some words that I habitually get wrong. The problems probably come when you stop treating it just as a tool.


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