It is a truth universally acknowledged by pedants that spell checkers are pretty much the worst thing ever to happen to civilization. Back in the day, at least people tried to proofread, but now, everyone assumes their built-in spell checkers and grammar checkers will take care of that for them. (At least, everyone who came into the writing center where I used to tutor. Oof.) And boy, is that ever not the case.
All right, I’ll admit that “worst thing ever” might be stretching it. (A little.) I suppose spell checkers have brought us fewer transposed letters and common misspellings, so I’ll begrudgingly give them some credit. But they have also unleashed upon the world a hell of a lot more homophone abuse–not to mention misspellings that create entirely different words which, because they are still words, don’t get caught.
My sister Julie is just as annoyed by this as I am (and employed by a resume-writing firm), so she’s written up a quiz for job seekers to test their ability to catch common errors. I got them all correct (of course, ahem), but she says everybody misses number 8. Go take the quiz, then come back here and tell us how you did and what your other spell-checker-related pet peeves are–or tell us why you love spell checkers, if you do. I do try to remember that spelling is something that came so naturally to me I can’t really take any credit for my abilities, and other people are undoubtedly as grateful for spell checkers as I am for calculators. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t ruined civilization. Harrumph!