[wdvltalk-social] spelling bee buzzing in my head

David Blakey davidblakey at gmail.com
Fri May 9 23:07:07 BST 2008

At 02:37 10-05-2008, you wrote:
>If it is possible to have a spellchecker, then it surely is possible 
>to have an alternative spelling checker.
>Seeing loose for lose, their - there - or they're used in a ways 
>that are neither here nor there, apostrophe's appearing and 
>diappearing in some random greengrocer's craze, and so on, drives me 
>mad and makes me cringe deep inside.
>A simple program to pick up these and to offer the alternatives *and 
>their correct use' seems feasible.   Either there is one and I've 
>missed it, or it needs writing.
>Any thoughts?   ;-)  And of course I am referring to proper English...

As someone who writes reports and articles for professional readers, 
I see some problems with suggesting correct English.

Would it suggest removing possessive apostrophes when the possessor 
was an inanimate object?  People write 'the car's engine', when, 
strictly, a car cannot own the engine, so that they should write 'the 
engine in the car'.  We might regard that as pedantic, but it would 
still count today as 'correct' English. One could not do a blanket 
check for individual abuses, say, 'potato's',  as 'the potato's 
delicious' would still be correct.

People who care about the experience of their readers do check their 
writing, so that their readers are not suddenly jolted by poor 
English, but those who do not care will continue to write badly and 
will turn off any in-built checkers.  Even if people did have a tool 
available to them, they would still have to know the correct form 
when a decision as needed between valid alternatives.

And that wouldn't stop 'asparagus's' in the high street.

[Incomplete sentence: do you mean 'I send my regards'?]

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