Friday, November 02, 2007


I've used a spell checker ever since they became available. For me that was about 1980, on a DecSystem 20. That's when i first got access to a spell checker that could quickly offer good guesses as to what i probably intended. These spell checkers improved my spelling skill dramatically. At first, my essays were filled with errors. But, the spell checker would catch them, and usually offer the right word. I'd study how the word was really supposed to be spelled, and after being corrected twenty or thirty times, i'd start getting it right the first time. Spell checkers improved my typing as well.

One must still proofread. That's because spell checkers will not save you form every mistake.


David K. said...

It could be an interesting (though difficult) exercise to create a piece of writing in which as much is wrong as possibly could be wrong, yet everything passes a spell and grammar check.

I've done sort of the reverse: writing in the voice of a character who was supposed to be unintelligible, I attempted to make everything he said be something that Word complained about on a readability basis (lots of passives, complicated nested clauses and parenthetical remarks, etc.), but that was technically correct.

Stephen said...

Cool challenge.

My favorite test for text-to-speech programs is the phrase "I live for live music." Last i checked, 'festival' (a free program) got both words wrong. It knew there were two pronunciations, it knew what parts of speech goes with which, but it still guessed wrong.