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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spelling and spell check | Laura Moyer, The Red Pen, Free-Lance Star

Apparently, Moyer is a copy editor for the Free-Lance Star in Fredericksburg, Virginia. And she says she's "a lifelong compulsive copy editor who reads the AP Stylebook for fun. If you ask me a question, I'll try to answer (but I won't do your homework)."

Moyer writes that she has a strong opinion about the use of the spell check function in word-processing programs on computers:
Use it, dammit.
She notes that spell checkers incorrectly flag many proper nouns as misspellings, even when they're spelled correctly. They also flag other correctly spelled words as misspellings. And they miss some misspelled words.

Moyer writes:
It’s well-known that spell check won’t help you if you don’t know your homonyms, or if you misuse a correctly spelled word. It won’t prevent you from saying someone was a volunteer on the rescue squat, or that a student won the Stafford Country Spelling Bee.
So she implies that writers (and their copy editors, if they have them) need to pay attention to those potential spell check errors and oversights.  Yes, they must do that! Still, Moyer writes:
But spell check can save your butt. It has certainly saved my imperfect one. It’s most helpful in flagging words my brain can spell but my fingers can’t type.
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