RW Home
A Little Advice

Reprinted from News-To-Use, Vol.4, No.2.
Receive a free subscription to this quarterly e-mail newsletter

News Index Web Wisdom
Who we are
Our clients
More info

Spell-Check Fail

One of my first jobs in the mass media was working in the production department of a big suburban newspaper chain. Although I was a lowly production artist, I almost had a college degree and aspired to greater things. In specific, I hoped to be a proofreader, which paid better and didn't involve hot wax and x-acto knives.

One day my chance came and I was given a standard proofreading test. I remember that the head proofreader was a large, stern woman whose office was eerily quiet compared to the raucous production floor. I felt good as I turned in my test and was therefore astonished to see her mark error after error in the text that I had missed. Although I didn't get the job, she said I'd done comparatively well, and that being good at proofreading was a skill that could be developed with practice.

Nowadays we rely -- indeed, rely too much -- on the spell-checking programs in our word processors to save us from error. But, of course, among other deficiencies, spell checkers are notorious for passing by the completely wrong word just because it's spelled correctly.

Take a look at the sentences below. Which errors would you catch that your spell checker wouldn't?

I talked to the banker today, dear, and he said he wouldn't be adverse to giving us a loan.
Even though she was an exemplary worker, Mary was reticent to ask for a raise.
We're looking for a wine that will complement roast goose with mango chutney.
Although they never came right out and said it, we inferred from their letter that the account had gone to someone else.
The trail of clothing strewn down the hall peaked Carol's curiosity about what had been going on while she was at work.
The Supreme Court's decision on the case set a precedence which may effect the entire judicial system.
Jane disliked her supervisor and flouted his orders.
He decided to approach the blonde at the bar regardless of the consequences.
By the time Joe got the the front of the line, they were no longer excepting applications.
The utter awkwardness of this sentence notwithstanding, it is nonetheless constructed in proper grammar.

Ripley-Woodbury Marketing Communications
Marketing Strategy | Advertising | Public Relations | Web Development
1124 Main Street, Ste. B, Irvine, CA 92614
ph: (949) 251-0704 | fax: (949) 251-0806 |
Ripley-Woodbury Info
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday, Pacific Time
© 1997 by Ripley-Woodbury Marketing Communications, all rights reserved.