Don’t Be Hypnotized by Word’s Power

Word hypnotismI remember typewriters. I remember white out and rubber cement.

These are not fond reminiscences of a bygone era I long to return to. Oh, there are times when I wish I had my old manual typewriter. (It had a sweetly smooth keyboard and didn’t need electricity.) But there is no way on earth I’ll give up my computer with its powerful word processing programs!

Ain’t gonna happen!

But, like everything, my favorite computer program, Word, has its ugly side. I just need to adjust and forgive. Let’s look at a few examples.

Autocorrect – I’ve been writing long enough to know when I want a capital and when I don’t. It’s time consuming and frustrating to have to go back and correct Word’s “corrections.” I have shut off most of autocorrect, but there are times when my fingers slip and autocorrect saves me. Why can’t Word read my mind when I’m writing?

Comma splices – Word does not recognize comma splices. As I wade through endless essays, I am always mystified why there are no squiggly green lines helping out those poor, overworked commas. Has our society just decided they’re okay now? They aren’t! Why are so many people semicolon averse?

Fragments – On the other hand, Word seems compelled to warn me that I’m writing sentence fragments when I’m not. I admit there are times when my writing style is a bit different, and it gives Word’s algorithms fits. That’s why English is so much fun.

Stumbling Spellcheck – For a woman whose fingers have a hard time keeping up with her mind, Spellcheck is a godsend. Have you any idea the thousands of times Word has changed  “adn” to “and” for me? Those squiggly red lines provide a safety net for words I never can spell correctly (truly, judgment, accommodate, etc.). However, it’s those pesky words spelled correctly but aren’t used correctly where Word fails miserably. It’s more than just the there-their-they’re type homonyms. I can’t list the number of times defiantly shows up in papers when the writer meant definitely.

Word has so many virtues, it is easy to take it for granted, letting it lull us into a false sense of grammatical security.

Don’t succumb to its siren call! For your own writing wellbeing, become familiar with the grammar guidelines Word can’t handle.

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