Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spell Check And AutoCorrect Are Killing Me

Not to go off on a curmudgeonly rant or anything, but yesterday I gave myself an ulcer trying to correct something on Apple's iTunes store.  CBS is debuting a new sitcom this month called Friends With Better Lives.  Good for them; I wish them well.  But on the iTunes store, in their "Free on iTunes" section, they offered us a "Sneak Peak" at the new series.  Yeah, "peak."

Spell Check and AutoCorrect can be wonderful tools.  They have all but eliminated one of my great pet peeves of all time, namely the misspelling of the word "deity" (meaning a god or godlike being) as "diety."  Some of my favorite writers used to make this mistake, and every bloody time it had the effect of completely knocking me out of the story narrative.  Thanks to modern software, though, this has all but gone away completely.

What has gotten much worse, though, is the misuse of homonyms.  Spell Check is not Usage Check, at least not yet, so words that sound the same -- their, they're and there, for example -- are often used interchangeably.  And incorrectly.

So for the record, here are a few of the worst -- now go ye, and sin no more:

HOARD -- a dragon's stash of gold and goodies
HORDE -- a huge group of something, like Attila's Huns, or lemmings headed for a cliff.

PEAK --  the top of the mountain
PEEK -- a quick look
PIQUE -- a feeling of irritation or resentment; you usually leave in a fit of one.  (Or, the feeling I have right after seeing Apple or CBS describe their quick look as a "Sneak Peak.")

And I shouldn't even have to, but:

THEIR -- belonging to them.  It's their problem that they can't spell.
THEY'RE -- a contraction of "they are," as in, "They're going to get this right if it kills me."
THERE -- a place indicator, as in, "The grammar book is right over there."

TO -- a preposition expressing direction
TWO -- more than one but less than three.  You know, just a couple.
TOO -- also, or as well, as in, "This frustrates the hell out of me, too."

BY -- next to, or close to
BUY -- as a verb, to purchase, and as a noun, simply a purchase.

THREW -- what you did to the ball
THROUGH -- how you went via the tunnel

Here's the thing:  you're sitting there, reading this, and thinking, "Geez, this guy is an uptight asshole.  Who freaking cares?"  Well, you should.  You can be making the tightest, most cogent argument in the world about something -- anything -- and it could be that you're making a point that I agree with completely, and then you misspell a simple word or phrase and it blows your argument up in your face.  I have a harder time being convinced of anything by someone who can't spell.  I'm not alone in this, I promise.

So please, please, please stop using Spell Check or AutoCorrect as your safety net.  It doesn't help with words that sound the same, even though they are used horribly and incorrectly with the end result of you seeming ignorant.  Which I know you're not, because you're reading me.  ;P

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