Spellcheckers See, But They Do Not Observe

In honor of my current obsession with Benedict Cumberbatch, I quote the great Sherlock Holmes:

“Spellcheckers suck!”

OK, he never said that. But he should have. Because they do.

Proof? You want proof? Here you go:

learn teach spellcheck

Uh… excuse me? Having already made itself ridiculous in a million other ways, Word’s spellchecker has decided that “learn” and “teach” are “Commonly Confused Words”. And I suppose there are instances where someone might say, for example, “I’ll learn ya to talk back, ya lily-livered scallywag!” Or something. But that person is very unlikely to be typing that into Word — mostly because Old-Timey Wild-West Gibberish hasn’t been spoken since the old-timey. If that sentence were to be typed into word, it would be as character dialogue, and no one will ever want that spellchecked into something like, “I will teach you to controvert my command, you cowardly scofflaw!”

Other than that, I can’t think of a single instance where someone would confuse “learn” and “teach”. It’s like confusing “throw the ball” with “be hit in the head by the ball because you have poor depth perception…” Oh, wait, that’s just me. Well, you know what I mean.

Elementary, my dear Benedict Cumberbatch: spellcheckers SUCK. 

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Filed under DfW Holds Forth!, Spellcheck Sucks!

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