Posted by Brian McCullough
If you’re a lazy typer like me, then sometimes the spell checker is not your best friend.
Once, in a major college term paper situation, I meant to type “gentle” and instead typed “gentile.” This gave new meaning to the phrase I was typing: “gentle interrogation techniques.”
How many times have I meant to type “public” but left out a letter and instead produced “pubic?” There are plenty of ways for that to be embarrassing in context.
Yes, these are words that are not misspelled, exactly- just misused. Spellcheck won’t catch them. They’re spelled correctly! But it’s just as silly looking, and can be even more embarrassing than a simple i-before-e misuse.
How to catch these errors?
In what has to be one of the greatest hacks I’ve ever run across, the productivity blog Productivity Portfolio shows you how to create an “exclude dictionary” in Microsoft Word.
The step by step instructions will tell you how to hack into the spell check dictionary so that you can flag certain words. The idea is to flag the words you commonly have trouble with. Even though spelled correctly, the spell-checker will underline them anyway, giving you the opportunity to double check and consider spelling and context.
For example… always screwing up their vs. there? (I hope not, but hey, I’ve seen a lot of resumes in my day, so I know what people are capable of.) You can flag one or both, alerting you each time you use these words, and thereby forcing you to take time to consider the proper usage.