Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Problems With Spell Check

I use my computer's built-in spell check feature. So do you. So does everyone. But there are disadvantages to this cute little piece of technology. For example:

* Laziness. I find that the more I depend upon my spell check, the worse I become at spelling. I'm always yelling at my wife. "How do you spell carbuncle?" I might ask. "Is that the same thing as a hive or a corn?" Even though I have spell check as a crutch, my dictionary and thesaurus are always close at hand.

* Wrong words. The more I lean on my spell check, the greater the frequency with which I discover that I have, indeed, spelled a word correctly . . . but it's the wrong word. Case in point. A few nights ago I was writing an essay and typed in the word plate. I mean to write plait. But both are words. The spell check hurt me. Had I been forced to lean on my own sense of correctness, I would have caught this. It was only after a third reading that I discovered the error. This happens often with me, and spell check doesn't help.

* Closed mind. What I love about using the dictionary is that, whenever I open it up to look up a word, I usually end up learning a new word. I've discovered many words this way. Incredible words that I use in my everyday vocabulary like assonance, disassociation, and numskull. I've also found words that I can use to woo my wife. Words like momma, hootchie-kootchie, and oingo-boingo. She hears these quite often, along with words like hot chocolate, hot pads, and lovey-dovey. I would not have won my wife's heart without these words. And I never would have discovered them without the dictionary or Billy Ward (he was the nastiest kid in town and taught me everything about love).

But I'm happily married. And Billy is in prison. Something tells me Billy stopped reading the dictionary.

No comments: