Proofreading and Computer Spell-Checkers

Spell check icon


Many students believe that they can depend on their computer spell-checker for their proofreading needs. They are wrong. At best, spell-checkers can help you with about 60% of basic spelling errors. They will also suggest absurd ‘corrections' for technical words they don't recognise, yet fail to pick out innumerable other mistakes that would be screamingly obvious to any professional proofreader or editor.


Consider the sentences below:

  • Rather than practicing their spelling and grammar, many students use there spell-checkers without being aware of it's limitations.
  • Its no longer acceptable to hand in work full of poor grammar and badly spelled words, those times are past.
  • The principle reason for using a professional proofreading service is to insure that your not making any spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors.
  • Poor English is sure to negatively effect your grade, so its always good advise to have your essays checked by a professional proofreader.
  • Since many students fail to consult the marking criterion used by their examiner's, they loose valuable points that could make a real difference to their grades.

There are three mistakes in each of these sentences that wouldn't be picked up by a standard computer spell-checker. Did you spot them? If not, you would do well to send your essays to be proofread before submitting them.

Computer spell-checkers also can't read context. This means that they fail to catch words that are spelt correctly but used wrongly.

They will also not be able to pick up on mistakes involving homonyms and compounds such as the following:

  • there/their/they're
  • its/it's
  • whose/who's
  • your/you're
  • who/whom
  • to/too/two
  • affect/effect
  • formerly/formally
  • passed/past
  • allude/elude
  • current/currant
  • allowed/aloud
  • assent/ascent
  • border/boarder
  • accept/except
  • devise/device
  • defuse/diffuse
  • practise/practice
  • advice/advise
  • principal/principle
  • imminent/immanent
  • addition/edition
  • further/farther
  • plain/plane
  • born/borne
  • continual/continuous
  • imply/infer
  • threw/through
  • versus/verses
  • cited/sited/sighted
  • personal/personnel
  • capital/capitol
  • hear/here
  • loath/loathe
  • wonder/wander
  • stationary/stationery
  • complement/compliment
  • course/coarse
  • whether/weather
  • chose/choose
  • all ready/already
  • all together/altogether
  • descent/dissent/decent
  • disperse/disburse
  • forth/fourth
  • elicit/illicit
  • allot/a lot
  • access/excess
  • desperate/disparate
  • council/counsel

Given that the English language contains thousands of homonyms and compounds, this list could be extended indefinitely.

There is little doubt that your examiners will spot these kinds of mistakes, and that they will mark you down for them. Are you confident that you will be able to avoid them?

To find out how Essay Writing Service UK can help you to submit perfect essays, take a look at our professional proofreading services  and our essay writing page. If you are looking for help with a dissertation, we have a variety of solutions available to assist you, from dissertation proposal to conclusion.

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