[wdvltalk-social] spelling bee buzzing in my head

joseph harris smilepoet at vfemail.net
Sat May 10 12:38:10 BST 2008

From: "David Blakey"
> At 02:37 10-05-2008, you wrote:
>>If it is possible to have a spellchecker, then it surely is 
>>to have an alternative spelling checker.

>>A simple program to pick up these and to offer the alternatives 
>>their correct use' seems feasible.   Either there is one and 
>>missed it, or it needs writing.
>>Any thoughts?   ;-)  And of course I am referring to proper 
> 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.
> Regards,
> [Incomplete sentence: do you mean 'I send my regards'?]
> David

'Proper english' itself being a colloquialism, and not a 
definition, suggests 'in its right place'.   So we would indeed 
expect high grammatical standards in report writing, but good 
abbreviated terms in a letter, and common colloquialisms in a 
note or email, and attractive, interesting word use and 
structures in popular writing.    Some ex-colonies, however, 
dispute the natural superiority of English english.


However.   My view is that many would welcome the help to make up 
for the low standard of education, specially in the teaching of 
english in both the mother country and its independent offspring 

I am thinking of a 'right word checker' or pop up window which 
will offer somethig like:

their: belonging to them
there: in that place
they're: they are


loose: free, not contained
lose: mislay, not be the winner

The day of referring to references in paper form may be slipping 
away, but the recognition of reference needs remains.


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