How to Use Spell-Check


On many word processing programs, there is a spell-checker function. Because all spell-checking programs are different, this article will provide general tips for the use of these programs as well as information about using this feature in Microsoft Word, since that particular word processing program is fairly commonly used. Hopefully, by learning to use spell-check, you can get the most out of it without relying solely on it to correct your writing.

Before running spell-check on a paper or manuscript, it is important to read the instructions or directions that come with it, which may be in the form of a tutorial on the Internet or a help section where you can ask questions and enter search terms. You will want to learn basic information about running the program as well as figuring out the settings and functions. A function refers to the actual work that the program can perform. Does it simply check spelling? Can it also work on spacing and formatting issues, or at least make suggestions about them?

One commonly used version of this program is the “Spelling and Grammar Check” feature under the “Review” tab of Microsoft Word. This feature will help you find spelling and grammatical errors that you might have missed otherwise. By left-clicking on this feature, you may set your preferences under the “Proofing” section. There you can choose whether you want to have it locate only spelling errors, or grammatical errors as well. It can even point out the use of clichés and colloquialisms in writing that might not be understandable to readers in various locations. Remember that while using this automatic check on your paper will help you find some errors, you always have to keep the context of your words and your intended meaning in mind when judging whether or not to make the corrections that this feature suggests. After all, you are the author and you know what you meant to say.

Nevertheless, it can help you catch some errors. This program is just one example of spelling and grammar check software; there are many other types of various word processing programs. Since spelling and grammar check programs are computer software and not a human mind, they will sometimes make mistakes. Keep this in mind when you are writing.

There are several areas of weakness that you may encounter while using a spell-checker. One is the use of homophones, which are words that sound alike but have different meanings. For example, you might write, “That is not there computer to begin with.” Even though “there” should actually be replaced with “their,” your program may not pick this up since the spelling appears to be right. Another problem with these programs is that they do not always understand the context in which you are using words or phrases, so there may be errors that it marks that are actually correct. A final weakness of spell-checking programs is that they will often mark names, places, and other proper nouns as incorrect since they are not in the dictionary. Even, for example, if spell-checker marks the name “Kalitha” wrong, you may know that it is correct since it is a person or character’s proper name. Thus you would know not to correct it. These are just some of the weaknesses that you may encounter; however, it is always worthwhile to use a spell-checking program to catch errors.

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