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Sound Writing

Subsection 12.1.1 Spell-Check Errors

A cartoon of a computer has speech bubbles with the following text: "Don’t just depend on me for spellcheck… Remember to do it yourself as well!"
Computer technologies have undeniably improved the speed and accuracy of our writing abilities, particularly through the use of automatic spelling and grammar checkers in many word processors. While these checkers can be useful, it is easy to become over-reliant on these technologies as a replacement of individual proofreading. We often forget that computers can’t read our minds. In fact, many simple spelling and grammar errors actually can be caused by an over-dependence on auto-checkers, with word processors replacing your misspelled words with incorrect suggestions based on common Web word-distortions. For instance, a sentence stating, “I definantly saw something fishy going on” would be auto-corrected to “I defiantly saw something fishy going on,” which has a meaning different than what the writer originally intended (“definitely”). If you use spell-check or grammar-check, look individually at the suggestions your word processor makes, rather than accepting all the corrections at once. It’s also important to remember that computer auto-checkers, while useful, should not be used as a replacement for manual proofreading. Carefully read through your document, give it to a friend, and/or take it to the tutoring center for some help with proofreading strategies (though don’t expect the tutoring center to actually do all the proofreading for you). Below is a list of commonly misspelled words that often are auto-corrected to very different words.
Intended Word Common Misspelling Auto-Corrected Word
definitely definantly defiantly
a lot alot allot
infinitely infinitly infinity
espresso expresso express
reinsurance reinsance renaissance
surprised surpised surpassed
insolent insulent insulant
hoard hord horde
load lod lode
desperate disperate disparate
aesthetic astetic ascetic
perpetuate perpetate perpetrate