Friday, March 18, 2011

Spellchecker, You Big Fat Wuss!

So I open up Microsoft Word, my application of choice within whose electronic embrace I am writing my second novel, and it does that thing where it kind of pauses. The egg timer doesn’t appear but you can tell it’s working hard at something in the background. It calculates the number of words (11,801 if you want to know) and then the little animated spellchecker book in the status bar starts turning its pages like billy-o.

This is all par for the course. So I wait. And I wait.

And eventually a little dialogue box pops up. One I have never ever seen before in over 10 years of using Microsoft Office.

Apparently there are now “too many spelling and grammatical errors” in my novel for Spellchecker to continue working. So basically it isn’t going to. Spellchecker is going to stop. It’s going on strike and is putting its feet up. If I want Spellchecker to check my document in future I will need to press a button to activate it, i.e. I have to go out of my way and ask it nicely in future.

Great. I have broken Spellchecker. Me, little me, who prides himself on having a decent grasp of English. Sure, I occasionally slip up. The odd typo will appear now and then. I have sometimes, in the heat of the creative moment, written “your” instead of “you’re” but on the whole I like to think I can string a sentence together correctly.

Plainly those years at school and university, those years studying poetry and prose, those painful years writing it have been a waste. I am incompetent at using my own native language. Bill Gates has effectively told me so.

Well, sod you, Spellchecker. Especially as, typing this as I am in another Word document, you have underlined “sod” in blue because you don’t recognize it as a legitimate word, you know naff all about English. You know diddly-squat (there you go again – diddly gets a red underline) about how real people talk, about colloquialisms, about the realities of human speech and the creative literary process. You’re just a big list of rules and regulations and if something doesn’t quite match up with your limited parameters you spit the dummy.

Well, if you don’t want to Spellcheck my novel, fine. I don’t need you. I had a literary life before you came along and I’ll get along just fine without you now that you’ve turned your back on me. Yoo’ll see. I don’t need yoo anymoor. I can cope perfektly well wivout yoo, thank yoo very mutch. Take your stoopid Spellchecker and sod of.

We’ll see who has the biger kareer in inglish wont we?



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40 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

This tool is for writers who don't trust their own instincts and prefer to produce castrated prose. Turning it off might be the first step to finding your literary balls... if you've still got any.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: Oh I'm still chock full of literary spunk, believe you me...

Janete Cabral said...

Great post Steve, made me laugh first thing this morning. Although not so funny when it happens to you...I am a mac...what can I say...I will admit it...such a yuppie!

Steve said...

Janete: are you a flashy mac by any chance? ;-)

Mark said...

Grammer check is even worse - so annoying.

Wonder what it would make of Clockwork Orange or Ridley Walker?

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

I have planty of spell-check left it you want any? Mine just sits there filing its nails when I'm typing ;-)

Steve said...

Mark: I think it would spontaneously combust. After spellchecking it and then recommending the American spelling.

Trish: in that case would you mind typing my novel up for me?

the fly in the web said...

Mine thinks I'm American....and you should see what it makes of French!

Steve said...

The fly in the web: un cochon oreille?

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

I'd be happy to type your novel for you, Steve, but you may want to think again if you have a look at my original comment and see the typos that creeped in when uncorrected!!

Kelloggsville said...

Don't you just manually add a whole list of swear words to your dictionary? :) I have to or the red linage would indeed spontainiously combust! Maybe its time to discover notepad, a twee little app that lets you write what the heck you like and leaves you alone! I do all my programming in it :) Although it does show my education for exactly what it was!

Phil said...

This is so irritatingly true. I’m a ‘word’ & ‘spellcheck’ sufferer too. Without it, even the CIA wouldn’t be able to burn through and decode all those ziggy zaggy red underlining’s that decorate my typings. And if I type in more than two ‘french’ language words, it automatically switches the rest of my script to ‘French spellcheck’ so then everything thereafter lights up like Christmas in Leicester Square. And in turn when you stop to try and reset the spell check defaults; it just ignores you altogether and carries on red underlining everything you type.

But what peeves me most of all though is how Bill and the Clinton gang have burgled the last ‘u’ from our ‘Humour’. Between that one and my totally gummed up key board that refuses to do upper case when you need it to, no matter how many times I leave it in the sink to soak overnight, it’s no wonder I have to take a couple of days off just to type in my bluddy user name and password.

Steve said...

Trish: it's still streets ahead of me!

Kelloggsville: I'd have to add an awful lot of swear words. And in several different languages.

Phil: what annoys me most of all is even when I religiously give Spellchecker its head and let it spellcheck everything to it's heart's content and I then correct or "Ignore" until all the squiggly underlines disappear and then Save the document thinking I won't have to do that again next time I open the it... and then I re-open the document and all the squiggly lines are back again because Word saves all changes except for anything changed in Spellchecker! Aaaaaargh!

Rol said...

I blaim Bil Gaits.

London City Mum said...

Woz yu sayen sumfink?

LCM x

Steve said...

Rol: is he the fella with the funny walk?

LCM: PMSL and LOL cuz of what you said, like, innit.

The Dotterel said...

You could, of course, take it as a compliment. I mean, imagine what Word would make of Ulysses? Clearly you're a literary genius Steve old chap!

Nana Go-Go said...

They obviously don`t have `sods` in America - although I think your pen-pal, Mr. Mysoginistic-Especially-if-You`re-American, would fit that bill admirably.

Steve said...

The Dotterel: damned right! Eat your heart out Lewis Carrol!

Nana Go-Go: I think in America, instead of sods they have s.o.b.s...

Fran said...

Wel sed.

Steve said...

Fran: fanks.

dbs said...

througherly enjawable post. thankcs. sawd bil gatez!

Steve said...

dbs: thanks is all very well, Bill, but compensation would be better.

Simpsonslover said...

Yay! Two posts to catch up on. It's like Christmas. Back after a read.

Steve said...

Simpsonslover: and Boxing Day too hopefully...! ;-)

Simpsonslover said...

Bloody Simpsons Bloody Lover! URGH. This login is going to haunt me....

Steve said...

Simponslover: can't you delete it? Though for me it makes my comments' stats look really good. ;-)

English Rider said...

I agree. I am often in conflict with spell check.

French Fancy... said...

Step away from the Microsoft and install Open Office - leave the evil demon that took over the world, leave it far far away.

Good luck with the next book.

Wylye Girl said...

Steve, but why are you writing spells and what is it checking for? Is it to make sure you use eyes from the right kind of newt?

Steve said...

English Rider: it just loves trouble and trauma.

FF: thank you. Sadly I have made a pact with the devil.

Wylye Girl: expelliarmus!

Wylye Girl said...

Shit Steve, my arm just fell off. Was that supposed to happen? ;)

Owen said...

Microsoft takes up far too large a space in our lives already, but when it starts dictating to us with barbaric red lines that our usages are abnormal, I agree wholeheartedly with you, they don't know diddly doo, and can bugger off... I'll bet they think "bugger" has something to do with cockroaches. The automatic correction feature is even worse, I hate it. Every time I mean to type "it was", it changes it after I'm already thinking ahead to the next words to type to "I twas"... madness, madness

Steve said...

Wylye Girl: you don't fool me, Voldermort!

Owen: it has far too much control. Really we may all be at fault for not just disabling the Spellchecker feature... I'm assuming it can be done though I have never done. See? Lazy. My laziness makes me complicit. I am a Microsoft lackey merely by doing nothing. I take great comfort from the fact that my writing has defied Microsoft for me.

The Sagittarian said...

I have trouble with fat fingers when making comments on posts and a spellcheck would be great for that! (I did have a very witty retort but since I'm a day late and dollar short all the good 'uns have gone...)

Steve said...

Amanda: it is never too late for a witty retort!

Being Me said...

Pah! Down with Spellchecker. I'm with you, Stevo. Should see the suggestions it gives when it thinks I've spelled my name wrong. My own name! It gives me

Chirpily
Wirily
Charily - is that a word??? what does it mean?
Airily
Dirtily - WTF? I have a reputation to uphold
Fierily - and is that a word either?

And.... Krill

Honestly. Time for you to retire it. It knows not what it's trying to correct. Obviously.

Steve said...

Being Me: from now on I shall think of you as Chirpily Dirtily Krill. It may not please you but it will keep Spellchecker happy and make me smile...

Livi said...

ROFL! Brilliant!
I have to admit I get quite upset when those little red underlines appear, especially when it's spelt correctly but the spell checker has switched to American!

Steve said...

Livi: and then no matter how much you "default" to UK it still wants the American spelling! Grrr!