Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spell checkers

I don't use a spellchecker. I've been drilled in spelling and grammar, and it's not a bad thing. I was taught three foreign languages (one of them I'm typing in right now), and you can't properly learn a language if you don't know the basics. Spelling is so fundamental, in my mind, that (typing errosr aside) you shouldn't need a spellchecker. Pedantic? Me?? OK, use a spellchecker if you're not certain. And to weed out those typos. But for crying out loud, please use a passive one. I'm allergic to active spellcheckers, that change words for you, without you having to allow it or not. I came across this horrendous example in an article on the STV website - STV is the Scottish commercial television channel - about Scots cyclists who were in the Joplin tornado. Describing the scene, the article quotes:

The storm sirens whaled out. We had to sprint and get ourselves to the van and head to the storm shelter. It was terrifying; the sirens filled me with fear.

Well, I should not joke about such a devastating event as the Joplin tornado, where over 100 people died. But I am pouring scorn over the text editor on STV.tv, who did not spot that particular banana-skin. He will end up wailing about whales until the end of his days...