If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Spell Check – Friend or Foe?

A friend’s boss, who works for a conservative government agency, wrote a memo to staff and supervisors that was supposed to read, “Sorry for all the inconvenience…” Before she sent the memo, she used her spell check program but failed to verify the changes. The distributed memo actually read, “Sorry for all the incontinence…” Probably this woman wished she had double checked the suggested changes before hitting the save and send button.

If you use the spell check feature you probably have found an additional problem. Some words are not flagged as needing attention because they are spelled correctly. However, their meaning is incorrect. In many cases one transposed or missing letter can make all the difference between an appropriate word or a malapropism.

Recently, I purchased new software and one of the inserts advertised an international scriptwriting contest where the winner receives cash, prizes and industry exposure. Past winners were listed and one line touted the 2004 winner who “… was quickly singed by CAA…” He was burned by them? Signed – I’m sure they meant signed.

The TV cable guide has its errors as well. One children’s program described how “the heroin saves the town.” While noble in some circles, it should have read how “the heroine saves the town” or else the show is on the wrong channel.

Do you think sign manufacturers use a form of spell check, too? In front of a local 7-Eleven there is a disabled parking sign that warns potential offenders that the space is a “two-away zone” instead of “tow-away zone.” Did anyone who produced or installed the sign spot this error? Maybe not. Or, perhaps they noticed and ignored it because of the cost to make a new one.

I also have a friend/foe relationship with the auto correct feature that “helps” by suggesting words as you begin typing them. While this does save time, errors abound, giving us a chuckle or a huh moment. On a Facebook status, I read about Paris Hilton’s pantelis then the writer’s comment on the next line, “Gotta love smart type - make that pantsuit.” In another post I saw a reference made to Dissimilar and Gomorrah. Pretty sure that was supposed to be Sodom and Gomorrah or else there is a bible story I’m unfamiliar with.

Are we relying too much on technology alone for editing? While programs like spell check and the auto correct feature can quickly and easily catch mistakes and save us valuable time, I think editing needs a human eye to put words in context.

Have you ever experienced unintended errors due to a “helpful” computer tool?


Warren Bull said...

A recent short story of mine included a character who was a fight manger. Repeatedly.

Patricia Winton said...

I once had a student in a junior-level university writing course. It was required of all students scoring below a certain level in freshman English. He complained daily because, in his words, he would always have a secretary to take care of spelling and grammar for him. His first paper had twenty-five spelling/word choice errors on the first page, a clear case of spell-check gone wrong. I've always believed a disgruntled girlfriend that he had made type the paper got her revenge.

E. B. Davis said...

I like spell checker since I'm a lousy speller. But, I know that it can change words if you don't turn off that "suggested word" option. It remindes me of the tee shirt slogan-"Bad spellers untie."

Kara Cerise said...

Really funny story, Patricia! I'm curious if he ever got his secretary or if he now has a disgruntled wife taking care of his spelling and grammar for him.

Kara Cerise said...

Good example, Warren:)

I had forgotten about the "bad spellers untie" t-shirt, E.B. That reminds me of a past co-worker who accidentally wrote about the Untied States.

Pauline Alldred said...

I've noticed that grammar and spell check often makes erroneous suggestions. The first time I ignored it, I felt like a student ignoring teacher's red pencil. Now I see the check as a strict grammarian instructor with no imagination who is occasionally right.

Kara Cerise said...

That's a good way to look at it, Pauline. It definitely doesn't have imagination or the ability to put grammar or spelling in context. Maybe 20 or 40 years from now computers will think more like humans - scary thought.

Michele Drier said...

Not only spell check (which I usually find very helpful) and autocorrect, but Bill Gates version of English grammer and puncuation also drive me crazy. YES, I WANTED THAT TO BE A SENTENCE FRAGMENT. Yes, I meant "I've" not "I have". This is conversational English, for Pete's sake!

Kara Cerise said...

That makes me bonkers too, Michele. I think there should be two settings - one for conversational English and the other for stiff, formal and never used English.

Leslie said...

"Dissimilar and Gomorrah." Made me laugh out loud as I also tried to think in what part of Genesis that story might appear.

Kara Cerise said...

Leslie, I'm wonder how spell checker would correct Genesis - Genies, Ghengis,Thingies...