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8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Just Rely On SpellCheck

8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Just Rely On SpellCheck

“She could sew seeds better than she could sew clothes.”

The above sentence is one that I came across while reading a self-published novel the other day, and is a perfect example why one cannot merely rely on a spell-checking program to ensure that one’s writing is error-free. Although “sew” and “sow” are homophones (they sound the same despite having different spellings and meanings), they are obviously not interchangeable: we sow seeds, and sew clothes.

SpellCheck, or any inbuilt spell-checking program, wouldn’t catch that, and anyone proofreading or editing your work would be patently unimpressed to come across it. Although a spell checker is a handy tool for general use, it will never fully take the place of educating yourself properly and polishing your writing skills. Here are 8 solid reasons why you shouldn’t just rely on a program to help you out in daily communications and professional writing:

1. It Won’t Catch Homophonic Errors

As in the example at the top of this page, there are many words that sound the same as others, and if you use them in lieu of the correct words (and spell them correctly), SpellCheck won’t catch them. According to the program, ewe kin rite awl kinds a things and they’ll still go threw. Case in point: SpellCheck didn’t highlight anything in that sentence as incorrect.

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When I have been responsible for sifting through cover letters and resumes for potential job candidates, I discarded any that had blatant spelling errors. If someone can’t discern between “weather” and “whether,” or “could of” and “could have,” I’d worry about their competence in any professional role.

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    2. SpellCheck Won’t Catch Typos That Are Actual Words

    When you write phrases such as, “In miss you,” “I’ll pick the care up from the garage,” or, “We’re having meet for dinner,” SpellCheck doesn’t catch any errors, because none of the words are actually misspelled. The same thing goes for Word and other word-processing software: phrases and words that are spelled properly aren’t picked out as wrong, so you can write something utterly nonsensical merely by adding or subtracting a letter or so, and it’ll still go through as perfectly okay. Ask me how much trouble I once got into by accidentally referring to a Rabbi as a “rabbit” in a work email.

    Additionally, misplaced gaps in sentences will be allowed through: have you ever sent an IM or text only to realize that you’ve hit the space bar too soon (or too late)? Instead of writing, “She meant Rick,” if referring to a friend’s comment about another, you may end up writing, “She mean trick.” That’s quite a different expression, if rather inarticulate.

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    3. You Won’t Learn From Your Mistakes

    As mentioned above, words that are spelled correctly won’t be picked out, and you’ll end up making the same errors over and over again. You might use “adverse” instead of “averse” when implying that someone isn’t fond of an idea, or say that a person was “effected” by a policy, rather than “affected.” If the people you work with don’t know the difference between these words either (or are too hesitant or polite to point out that you spelled something wrong), you’ll continue to use them improperly.

    This could backfire really badly if and when you apply for a position with people who require higher standards of writing proficiency than you’ve been accustomed to.

    4. Hideous Sentences Will Be Allowed Through

    Redundancies, misplaced modifiers, errant quotation marks, and multiple hyphens in lieu of proper dashes won’t be pointed out as wrong, so that article you might be submitting to an editor will leave them gawking in horror at the fact that you’re allowed anywhere near a computer at all. An example:

    “The young was girl was walking the dog in in a short skirt.”

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    Guess what SpellCheck didn’t pick out as wrong?

    5. It Makes You Lazy

    If you’re not constantly aware of the words you’re typing in order to ensure that they’re spelled correctly, you can get sloppy. Sure, anything you type formally should still be amended by the program, but what if you actually have to use a pen and paper to leave a note for someone?

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      6. You Won’t Always Have Access To It

      If you rely heavily on a spell checker to catch your errors, you won’t ameliorate your own writing skills and may end up making rather egregious errors when using a program that doesn’t have one installed. Certain IM programs don’t check your spelling as you type, and many phones don’t have spell-checking software checking your texts before you hit “send.”

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      If you have to send a text to a client or your boss, or you’re in a Skype chat with someone whose opinion of you actually matters, and your spelling skills are on par with your eight-year-old nephew’s, you’re in for it.

      7. It Can Be Wrong

      SpellCheck isn’t necessarily up to date on neologisms, slang terms, or marketing jargon, and can mark certain expressions or words as incorrect when they’re actually just fine as they are.

      8. It Won’t Discern What You Meant To Write From What You Actually Wrote

      Most of us think more quickly than we type, which leads to words being omitted or sentences being mangled. SpellCheck won’t clue in to the fact that you left out several vital words in a paragraph: if they’re not misspelled, it doesn’t care. It’s actually best to take a break from a piece after you’ve written it and then go back to it with fresh eyes, as you’ll put enough distance between yourself and your work to be able to find mistakes and omissions.

      We’ll often choose the wrong word in conversation or writing because it sounds similar to the one we meant, but if you sign off an email “with love and infection,” the recipient might be a bit unnerved. You don’t want that.

      Whether you’re writing an essay, an article, a blog post, or your PhD thesis, it’s important to go through your work thoroughly to ensure that it’s error-free: relying on a program that will only catch typos is sure to land you in trouble. If you do proofread your work, determine that there’s nothing wrong with it, and then find out that there were several errors within it, you might want to read books a bit more often in order to re-familiarize yourself with formal written English.

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      Catherine Winter

      Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on November 5, 2019

      12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

      12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

      Formal education is something everyone has to go through to a certain degree, and the knowledge it offers isn’t always that practical in real life. Life long learning is how you improve as a person, bit by bit and day by day.

      Life long learners recognize the importance and joy of growth so they never settle for what they currently know and always seek for improvement.

      Here are 12 habits of people who value lifelong learning have in common – see how many of them you recognize in yourself.

      1. They Read on a Daily Basis

      Whatever problem or dilemma you currently face, there’s definitely at least one decent book that discusses it and presents a variety of solutions.

      Reading is a great way to open up new horizons, train your brain and revolutionize your life. I can’t even count how many times books completely transformed the way I view the world, and it’s always a change for the better. Through reading, you can connect with successful people and learn from the lessons they share.

      Life long learners love to get lost in books and do it regularly. Bill Gates knows that reading matters a lot; on his personal blog, he reviews plenty of game-changing books.

      Due to technology, you can access a bookshelf of the wealthiest entrepreneur on this planet.

      2. They Attend Various Courses

      Whether it’s online or offline, there are countless courses you can participate in without spending a dime on it. These are great opportunities to connect with clever and like-minded people and learn from them.

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      Because of the advanced technology, you can now gain knowledge from online programs, starting from coding through self-improvement to programs from top universities.

      There are literally endless ways to thrive. What life long learners have in common is squeezing as much as possible out of these opportunities.

      3. They Actively Seek Opportunities to Grow

      Instead of spending your free time laying on the couch and watching TV, you prefer doing something creative and practical. You know every wasted minute is gone forever.

      That’s why you’d rather practice your language skills with a native-speaker you’ve met, engage in local meet up or attend a class that teaches something you always wanted to learn.

      Life long learners stay up-to-date with growth opportunities in their areas and participate in them frequently.

      4. They Take Care of Their Bodies

      “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” — John F. Kennedy

      A clever mind combined with a body in a great condition is the best asset you can have. Our bodies were designed to run, walk, jump, swim, lift and much more. Leading a sedentary lifestyle harms both your physical and mental sphere.

      Life long learners know the body is your temple. In order to make it flourish for as long as possible, they train regularly, move a lot and eat healthy.

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      5. They Have Diverse Passions

      Among Steve Jobs’ wise quotes, there’s one I like especially. It’s about connecting the dots:

      “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” — Steve Jobs

      Each dot is some event or skill in your life, and it’s only when you go through these elements that you know how to combine them into something great.

      Having a variety of passions indicates that you love to progress. By practicing different skills, you give yourself an advantage over the rest of the people. During hard times, you are more likely to to act intelligently and solve your problems with less effort.

      6. They Love Making Progress

      If behind the efforts, there is passion and a deep desire to grow, your chances of success are way higher, compared to when you are forced to learn.

      Life long learners love to experience the constant growth and improvement. The breakthrough moments help them to notice the impressive change that took place because of the learning process. Any milestone serves as a driving force for further headway.

      7. They Challenge Themselves with Specific Goals

      In order to keep growing, you clearly define your goals. Smart goal setting is one of the tools to ensure constant growth.

      Since you love challenges, a difficult goal doesn’t scare you. Quite the opposite, it keeps you motivated and engaged.

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      Research showed that precise and ambitious goals increase the performance of an individual. As we already agreed, life long learners are people who care about their performance, hence they never stop improving.

      8. They Embrace Change

      A complete change can lead to incredible results. This is especially visible on the example of successful companies.

      Oftentimes, it’s that transformation which created space for their so-called overnight success. Twitter was originally created as an internal service to serve Odeo employees. Currently, it has over 300 million monthly active users and is considered the second biggest social network.

      As a life long learner, you know a change can lead to extraordinary results so you welcome it and stay open minded about making a shift.

      9. They Believe It’s Never Too Late to Start Something

      Some people tend to think after a certain age, they are no longer allowed to start something and become successful. The truth is, it’s just a lame excuse not to leave the comfort zone.

      Opposite to common misconceptions, there’s no wrong age to begin something. Henry Ford was 45 when he invented the Ford Model T car, which is considered as the first affordable automobile.

      Sure, for some domains like becoming a professional athlete, starting early is required. However, to learn and improve for its own sake, you are never too old.

      10. Their Attitude to Getting Better Is Contagious

      “We now accept the fact that learning is a life long process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” — Peter Drucker

      There’s nothing better than to see your surroundings getting involved in what you actively participate in. Oftentimes, the best way to achieve that is to inspire them and be the example. As Gandhi would say, you need to be the change you want to see in the world.

      As a life long learner, you are extremely passionate about the constant growth and people around you can sense that positive attitude. As a result, they start acting similarly.

      11. They Leave Their Comfort Zone

      Is it really better to step out of your comfort zone? The answer is always yes.

      You always embrace discomfort as you know the path to success leads through hardship and countless obstacles. Instead of being afraid of facing them, you challenge yourself to overcome more and more difficult handicaps.

      Every time you get out of your comfort zone, regardless whether you win or fail, you learn something new. That’s the part you love the most!

      12. They Never Settle Down

      “Knowledge is exploding, so you need to commit yourself to a plan for life long learning.” — Don Tapscott

      A sense of being clever enough is something you don’t experience. Without a doubt, you appreciate what you already know, but that’s never a reason to stop. You just know once you stop learning, you lose the amazing privilege humans have, namely an ability to a never-ending intellectual development.

      More About Lifelong Learning

      Featured photo credit: Christin Hume via unsplash.com

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