Thursday, February 17, 2011

In which spellcheck (almost) redeems itself

I'm a believer in first going after the low-hanging fruit, so when I started a recent document editing project, I didn't hesitate to make a first pass using Word's Spelling & Grammar function.

My directive was simply to proof the document and make minor edits to copy based on changes provided by the client, so I clicked "ignore" on the plentiful suggestions to address usage of passive voice. I accepted changes to spelling errors and spacing issues, and studied the context for any identified sentence fragments or other infractions before choosing to ignore most (the majority were items in bulleted lists).

But I nearly chortled in joy when Word suggested that I reconsider the use of the word "impact" as a verb--this is one of my top three copywriting pet peeves, but I've never seen it flagged by Word as an error.

And I really DID chortle when, a few pages later, it suggested that I replace the phrase "step-by-step" with the word "systematic."

And then Word reminded me why I get paid the big bucks: it completely missed that "acronym" was misspelled "acroynm."

Three cheers for another victory of (wo)man over machine!

5 comments:

Savannah Rose said...

Hurray! I never trust that crazy spellcheck. Some of the suggestions I know are not correct. I now use WhiteSmoke. It's a little better. At least it catches when I use a word incorrectly such as "then" and "than". But the best type of spellcheck is my very own eyes.

Lori said...

I LOATHE Grammar Check! It cost me a client, who thought the machine was infinitely more educated than I was. Even after I quoted chapter-and-verse of the style manual to him, he decided to go with what Microsoft - those bastions of perfect grammar and grammarians.

Then again, it could have been the four friends he had editing my edits....

Amie said...

Lori, isn't it fun when a client puts more stock in their friends than in the professional he is paying to do the work?

Michael Soininen said...

Spellcheck fails to pick up some basics. Avoid!

Amie said...

Agreed.