Do you use MS Word to do Spelling and Grammar checking?

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To any writer living beyond the borders of the United States, and I strongly suspect inside them,  MS Word is a pain in the butt.

Why do I say this? Let me give you a couple of for instances. Take the word its, or its other incarnation it’s. Word is continually monitoring the text of what you are writing, to determine when you make an obvious error, be it grammatical or a spelling error (in the latter case, depending entirely on which form of the English language you use). This is all fine and dandy, until Word decides to argue with itself over which version of the word it is querying is correct for a given situation, as it does endlessly with the above example.

This morning I am busy expanding the MS for my latest Sci-fi eBook The Next Age, which for those of you who have been following the excerpt posts on my blog concerning the novella, will be familiar with.

ms-word

The reason I am engaged in expanding various sections is simply to give me time to decide what will happen in the penultimate chapter. To that end I began by decided to add the following two words – hard bitten, to describe a particular group of politicians and military personnel.  Now, you and I both know that the words are used to describe tough minded, no nonsense, often red-necked individuals. Not so MS Word. For some totally unfathomable reason, according to Word, I needed to change it to hardest bitten!  Where did that ridiculous notion come from?

Having used MS Word for several decades, and knowing the software’s idiosyncrasies and other peculiarities (faults) I now usually totally disregard anything it underlines in green or blue, especially when creating a short sentence which it considers to be incomplete in some way or other.

These days, the only time I do sit up and take notice is when MS Word underlines in red, which always means a spelling error.

Come on Microsoft, isn’t it about time you created a fault free version of the world’s most used writing tool? After all, everything else within the MS Office software package works well.

I hate to think what will happen within the software if Microsoft ever decide to add another function to MS Word, covering the use of full stops (that is the English equivalent of the period, for the benefit of my American cousins), commas, colons, semicolons, exclamation marks and the like in the future…

4 Comments
  1. Ilia Davidovich says

    Jack. MS Word is a software program. It’s written by humans (prone to error) using rules created by humans (prone to error). Some of the rules are ambiguous, some incomplete, and some outdated. I don’t think there will ever be an error free software, especially when it comes to spell-check and grammar. The pain quadruples for the ESL writers, who need to rely on grammar checks much more than native speakers. I can’t simply brush the blue underlines away, as it often points to the actual error. I tried using StyleWriter4, which integrates into MSWord. You could give it a shot. Most likely it will annoy you much more than MSWord spell check, but it does much more analysis and makes more sense.

  2. Paula Boer says

    You can turn off the grammar checker, the spell checker, and/or the automatic word selection ‘features’. Or, you can add your own words to the automatic change feature so you get what you want. This is especially useful if you commonly use abbreviations and you want them written in full, especially acronyms.

  3. Jack Eason says

    Thanks for your informative input Illia. But In my defense I would point out just one thing, I am a writer, not a technophobe. All I need is a fairly user friendly software writing program. until one is invented, I will soldier on with MS Word. 😀

    As for what you say on the subject Paula, yes I know that these things can be turned off. But every one of us needs to have something or someone watching what we write as the electronic equivalent of an editor, otherwise were would we be? 😉

  4. ConnieT says

    I suspect that if you express the term as a hyphenated modifier, it should pass muster with Word.

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