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  • Jacqueline Le Sueur

Can't see the letters for the words sometimes.

This image apparently went viral in (or is it 'on') social media this week. Makes a change from cats looking grumpy or pandas snoring, I guess. Despite being very active on various platforms it passed me by, only to land up being shared with me by a friend who suggested I might like to write about it.

In July last year I wrote a post called 'Words Matter' ( ). The first of these texts in the photo to the left show that it is not only words that matter but each letter, too. From an 'e' to an 'i' and all of a sudden a text of concern becomes one of amusement that could easily cause offence. This looks like a simple spelling mistake; no matter how many times we check a document or message it is so incredibly easy to miss an 'i' where an 'e' should be.

There is, however, another cause of embarrassing mistakes that haunts all of us with smart phones and the like ... that that wonderful time-saving thingy called 'predictive text' or 'autospell.' I often ask myself how something so useful can be a nightmare at the same time. The answer to that is easy. It's a computer algorithm that works on probability. It's up to us humans to check our spelling before we hit send. Except, it's not enough these days to just check the spelling; we also have to make sure we have the right words in the right place because who knows what mayhem our smartphone has wrecked on our sentences as we type.

There is a very easy solution to the autospell dilemma ... disable it. But you know what, when I do out of sheer annoyance because I've just sent a message I haven't checked properly I really miss the words that autospell sometimes throws up that are so out of context. The interwebs are full of amusing examples. Always good for a giggle.

There is another option. I think it may be time to go back to the technique I used to used when I used to proofread manuscirpts back in the early '90s - read my emails and massages backwards, from the bottom right to the top left so my brain does not see what it is expecting to see in a sentence but rather that what is actually written.

Why should I even bother, some of you may ask. Well, my words are a reflection of me, as yours are of you. To me, and I admit this is very personal, spelling and grammar mistakes indicate I have not taken as much care I as I should in my missive to you. Taking the time to check properly and correct my errors also shows that my message is important. Might be very old fashioned in this world of :-) that ROFL all the time but so be it. I'm happy being a grammar and spelling nerd.

As I type this autospell is on and it is correcting my spelling mistakes as I write that are caused largely by my poor typing skills, thus saving me a lot of time. I will admit though that pretty much every time I put up a new blog post, having read it countless times before hitting 'publish', I find at least one spelling error when I read the post back on my website. This post is no different ...

... except this time I have left the spelling errors untouched.

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