‘Momma Word’ Isn’t Always Right

I’mmother-rocking-baby no Luddite*, but I always try to understand the limitations of the technology I’m working with.

I love word processing software. It is so
helpful. It automatically cleans up my typos. It formats pages for me. It can even give me an outline to organize my material.

The problem is when it becomes too helpful and wants to do it all for me. Luckily I have the training to know when I’ve written a complete sentence Word is convinced is a fragment.  I’m capable of correct, off-the-wall spellings Word is compelled to change to a completely different word.

Honestly, if I see defiantly when definitely is the word the writer means, I’m going to swing my keyboard at somebody’s head!

No, I don’t always want a preformatted space after a paragraph.

And don’t get me started on bullets! I’ve spent far too much time fighting Word’s pre-formatted style. It isn’t what I want, but I’ve got to settle in order to get it done.

It’s like Word is telling me, “Honey, I know what’s best for your writing. You just sit right back and let Momma Word take care of it for you.”

It makes me feel like I’m a teenager struggling against the restriction of what adults “know best.”

The good thing for me is that I am experienced and practiced enough to recognize when I’m right and Word is wrong. I can find ways around it.

What worries me are all those people out there who don’t have the experience or skill to recognize there’s a problem. They let Momma Word take care of it and ignorantly go about their writing clueless to the mistakes they’re making. I think that’s why I’m so worried about artificial intelligence.

For the sake of good writing, go out, buy yourself a dictionary, and use it! Invest in a good grammar and style manual. Use them!

Don’t let Momma Word take your voice away.

* Someone who is resistant to change, especially technological change. 

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