Spell Checkers? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Spel Checkrs!

Maybe you’ve seen that funny little poem about spell checkers that occasionally makes its way around the Internet. It comes in various versions, but the first and last stanzas usually go something like this:

I have a spelling checker

That came with my PC.

It clearly marks four my revue

Mistakes I cannot sea.

I ran this poem threw it.

I’m sure your pleased two no

Its letter perfect awl the weigh;

My checker tolled me sew.

Editors like the poem because it points out an important fact: A spell checker can’t catch words that are improperly used but spelled correctly. However, editors should not overlook another important fact: A spell checker *can* catch words spelled incorrectly–so why not use it to do that? Maybe we’d feel better about doing so if we thought of it not as a spell checker but as a typo catcher.

I usually use my “typo catcher” twice on a document: once before editing and once after editing. The first time through catches typos the author has overlooked. The second time through catches typos I may have inadvertently introduced while editing. It’s a great system for two reasons:

1. It catches errors I might have missed, especially if I’m hurrying to meet a deadline (always).

2. It saves me time (the time I’d have had to spend finding and fixing those typos manually).

The second reason is so important that it deserves further comment: One of the main reasons for editing on the computer is to *save time.* That means you should learn to use the tools your word processor provides–including your spell checker. Doing so is an investment that will pay dividends every day of your working life. The fact that you’re reading this newsletter shows that you understand this.

Other tools, too, can simplify your life, help you earn more, and make you more competitive. It’s worth the effort to seek out these tools and learn to use them well. You’ll find some of them on our website at http://www.editorium.com. We hope you’ll try them–not just because we want to sell you something (which we do) but also because the better your tools are, the more effectively you’ll be able to work. Keep that spell checker humming!

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