Wednesday, January 20, 2010


While driving the other day, I saw a motto for a handyman service scrawled across a pick-up truck's rear window that said, “Call us to finish the work your husband started.” Well, that’s a bit sexist, I thought to myself. Who’s to say that the men do all the work around the house? And, in this economy, is it really smart business to limit their customer base to married women with inept and/or lazy husbands? But, after I got all that out of my system, I had to admit to myself that I actually thought their motto was pretty clever because, you know, you always hear about the husband who tries to fix the sink himself but ends up mangling it beyond repair- at least Tim Allen always did on Home Improvement. Sometimes spell check can be like Tim Allen.

So, you know how it goes with spell check: most of the time spell check will simply underline a misspelled word and then we click on the underlined word and it gives us the correct spelling. But, there are those times when spell check is just like the DIY husband that says, “I got this one, Babe,” and it corrects the word itself. I’m sure it means well, but like hubby, sometimes spell check does more harm than good.

For example, take the word definitely. Definitely makes the most commonly misspelled words list as consistently as Paula Abdul makes the worst-dressed list

because we love to spell it like this: definately. Well, when we use an a instead of the i , spell check automatically changes it to defiantly, and we don’t notice because spell check didn’t alert us. And then even if we belong to the tiny minority that does proofread, we don’t notice the error because we tend to see what we want to see instead of what’s there (you know, like we did with that ex all of our friends hated). Therefore, the email to our boss says,” I will defiantly be at the meeting on Tuesday,” like we’ll be staging a sit-in or something.

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