Spellcheck (I Mean Spell Check or Spell-check) fail.

Well, well.  Guess what.  You can’t trust spell check.  After my excited post yesterday on the glories of spellcheck, I received a comment from my new friend Tracey.  She said,

“You know, I love spellcheck (I got red squiggles here?!), too; although, I think as an English teacher, I am supposed to decry it as the devil’s invention. You know writers still have to be careful with homophones, word choice, style, and everything else. So, I’m willing to let a neat tool like spellcheck help out on spelling. You noted one of the neatest things about it: If you’re actually paying attention, you learn something, re the S on the end of Brussels sprouts, which can lead to a deeper understanding of a word.”

I was flabbergasted by many things in this comment:  Tracey’s amazing use of quotes, parentheses, semicolons, commas, an apostrophe and a period in one sentence; her use of the word “homophones”; and her appreciation that devil’s inventions can lead to deeper understanding of trendy vegetables.  However, the thing that really floored me and sent me off on a research tirade was that SHE GOT RED SQUIGGLES ON SPELLCHECK!!!  I double checked my post and found no red squiggles.  I had to get to the bottom of this mystery.

In my real job, I am an internet geek.  I immediately sensed the problem here.  It is the thing that drives me and my team crazy at work.  That thing is browser incompatibility.  What does that mean?  Well, it turns out that Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer are not the same.  Yes, they will all show you my blog and other wonders of the internet, but they will each show them to you in a different way.  (Insert gasp of surprise from reader.)  Quick as a wink I replied to Tracey to determine her browser and low and behold, she was using Firefox to type her reply to my blog and I was using Chrome.  Could this be the difference?!?!

Viola!  Below I present to you the visual evidence from my post yesterday.

Red squiggles in Chrome.  Note that spellcheck is a-okay.  No problems here.
Red squiggles in Chrome. Note that spellcheck is a-okay. No problems here.

Ah, the travesty!  Spellcheck has red squiggles in Firefox, and it suggests spell check (two words) or spell-check!  My Chrome spellcheck has failed me for Firefox readers!
Ah, the travesty! Spellcheck has red squiggles in Firefox, and it suggests spell check (two words) or spell-check! My Chrome spellcheck has failed me for Firefox readers!
So, I am crushed.  If I’m writing for the blog, should I check my writing in all browsers looking for inconsistent red squiggles or can I find some trend?  I turned to my least favorite browser, Internet Explorer 11, for a tiebreak.

Oh for goodness sake.  IE is just horrible.  I have no red squiggles at all, my buttons and images are all missing and there is a weird dark blue area where my
Oh for goodness sake. IE is just horrible. I have no red squiggles at all, my buttons and images are all missing and there is a weird dark blue area where my “post” button should be.
First lesson?  If you are using Internet Explorer to access WordPress just do yourself a favor and stop.

I had one last hope.  I turned to the “Proofread Writing” button in WordPress.  (You know the one with a checkmark and ABC that looks a lot like a spell check button?)  I clicked on it in Chrome.

Yay!  Success! Spellcheck is correct because WordPress says it is.
Yay! Success! Spellcheck is correct because WordPress says it is.
Red squiggles are replaced by red underlines, but spellcheck is the correct spelling according to WordPress.  Hooray!  I am right!  Unless…well, I have to check.  What if WordPress somehow uses the browser dictionary to proofread my writing?  What happens when you press the WordPress button in Firefox?  Is spellcheck still okay?

Vindicated! Spellcheck is okay according to WordPress on two different browsers.
Vindicated! Spellcheck is okay according to WordPress on two different browsers.
Yes!  Spellcheck is one word.  Both WordPress and Chrome agree, while Firefox disagrees.  Tiebreak goes to spellcheck.  (I made the type super big and put explanations on the final picture to show you the difference.)  Except, wait a second.  Wiggly is misspelled?  What? Well, that’s a lesson for another day, but let’s review what we’ve learned shall we?

  1. All spellcheck (spell check) results are not the same.  Depending on what browser you use different words may or may not be misspelled.  If this really bothers you, check your post using the browser spell check and the WordPress “Proofread Writing” and address inconsistencies.
  2. Internet Explorer 11 is bad.  Let me tell you from experience, all Internet Explorers before 11 are bad.  Just stay away until Spartan, the new Microsoft browser, comes out.
  3. Brussels sprouts is spelled with a big B at the beginning and a little s at the end.  Like the country.  (This is from yesterday’s post.)
  4. The plural of eucalyptus is eucalypti.  (Also from yesterday’s post.)

Whoa.  My head is all full of new learny stuff.   I’m full for now.  I hope you found this all as enlightening as I have.  (Yes, learny has a red squiggle.  I know.)

7 thoughts on “Spellcheck (I Mean Spell Check or Spell-check) fail.

  1. The intersection of language rules and technology is an ongoing discussion in academia. I too teach English and I warn students of the pitfalls of Spell Check and Grammar Check, but their argument is that in some spaces errors don’t matter as much. I wonder what the compromise will be in the future. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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