Spell check is not your friend
A long, long time ago, in the Dark Ages before personal computers in every home, and computers we carry around in our hands and pockets, we had to check our spelling on our own.
If you typed a letter for business or school, you had to read, and re-read it, to make sure you’d spelled everything correctly. We had to learn how to proofread. There was no other choice.
If you found a mistake, whether it be a misspelled word—or worse, a wrongly used but perfectly spelled word—you’d have to use “liquid paper” to cover up your mistake, then you would have to sit and wait until the stuff dried, then go back and type in the correct word.
Or, there was the ink eraser which was so-so, because it would rub off some of the paper surface along with the wrong word. This would make the quality of your paper suffer, and in many people’s opinions (translate: bosses and teachers) make the quality of what you’d written suffer.
If you had a stickler for detail as a teacher, or if you were a stickler, you’d retype the entire page, minus any errors. Then came correction tape, a white ribbon or ink cartridge that corrected your mistakes much more neatly.
I’ve mentioned these dinosaurs of editing so you can understand what a glorious day it was when something called spell check arrived. People under the age of 30 likely don’t remember a day when spell check didn’t exist. Now, it’s a part of our daily lives.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls especially, let me tell you, spell check is not your friend.
It will tell you, yes, Copperas in “Copperas Cove” is misspelled. But it will not tell you that it’s wrong to write “there is much at steak in the outcome of the election.” Is that rib eye or T-bone? Um, that would be stake, as in, an important issue.
Auto-correct is not your friend, either. Once, on my way out to Fort Hood to cover the two-day state championship bicycle race, I stopped on Elijah Road to grab a picture of the gorgeous landscape and fluffy clouds. I used the speech-to-text feature on my phone to save my thumbs some work before I posted this on Facebook: “I’m loving this sky and the fields.”
But what my phone recorder heard was: “I’m loving this guy in the fields.” Spelled perfectly, of course.
I caught myself before hitting the “post” button and saving myself some explanations after I got home later.
With that, I leave you with a perfectly spelled poem (author unknown). Spell check told me it was fine, like it is.
Eye halve a spelling chequer, it came with my pea sea. It plainly marques four my revue miss steaks eye kin knot sea. Eye strike a key and type a word and weight four it two say weather eye am wrong oar write, it shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid, it nose bee fore two long and eye can put the error rite. Its rare lea ever wrong. Eye have run this poem threw it. I am shore your pleased two no its letter perfect awl the weigh. My chequer tolled me sew.