Is Spell-Check Good Enough?

ABC Check

So you ran your manuscript through spell-check and meticulously corrected every error. Thus, it has officially been edited…right? Sorry.

There is nothing more important than a human-eye review.

I repeat: Nothing is more important than having a human review your work.

What’s wrong with spell-check?

Using the spell-checking feature on your computer is absolutely the first step you should take before finalizing a manuscript (or email or newsletter or anything else). However, there are plenty of major errors that a computer just won’t catch.

Homonyms

Humans have a hard enough time noticing homonyms. (Homonyms=words that are pronounced the same but spelled differently or contain different meanings.) We can’t expect a computer to catch these for us.

Homonyms

Numbers

If you misspell a number, spell-check will correct it because it is a word. However, if you mistype a number then spell-check won’t know that it is incorrect.

Numbers

Missing Words

It is easy to get carried away when you’re typing out your thoughts. Most spell-checkers won’t catch the little word you missed in your eagerness.

Missing Words

Wrong Words

If a word is spelled correctly, most non-human grammar and spell-checkers will skim right past it. You need a real person to tell you that the wrong word was used.

Wrong Words

Verb Tense

I know this is getting a little technical, but it is important that you keep the same tense throughout any document.

Verb Tense

So I can skip spell-check?

Computer-generated spell-checkers should not be discounted. They will catch a wide variety of errors from typos to passive voice. However, they absolutely cannot replace the human eye.

Recommended Process of Review:

  • Spell Check
  • Author Review
  • Peer Review
  • Author Review (regarding the peer review comments)
  • Professional Review (Proofread/Edit)
  • Author Review (regarding the professional’s recommendations)
  • Professional Review (Proofread/Edit)
  • Author Review

You can repeat the last two as many times as you deem necessary until you are happy with the final product. You can also involve a professional at any stage in the writing and reviewing process.

Contact Unscripted at any time for a professional set of eyes to review your work.

When to Say I and When to Say Me

This one is easy, I promise!

A common error in both spoken and written English is mixing up when to say “I” and when to say “me” when referring to yourself and another subject.

Before we get into the details of “I” vs “me,” let’s start with the most important concept: the order of the subjects.

Simple Rule: ALWAYS them and then me, NEVER me and then them. (Always.)

In other words, always say “Tom and I” or “Tom and me,” never “me and Tom.” Think of it as common courtesy to state the other person before yourself.

Now on to the meat and potatoes. When is it Tom and I and when is it Tom and me anyway?

I or Me

Why do you say “I” in the first sentence but “me” in the second?

TIP: Take yourself out of the sentence and see how it sounds.

Would you say, “I am going to the store” or “Me am going to the store?” Put Carrie back in the sentence and you have “Carrie and I are going to the store.”

Would you say, “Would you like to go to the store with me” or “would you like to go to the store with I?” Again, put Carrie back in the sentence and you have “Would you like to go to the store with Carrie and me?”

The complicated answer refers to whether the pronoun (I or me) is doing the action or receiving the action. “I am going” vs. “come with me.”

Luckily, with the trick above, you don’t need to remember things like the relationship between the pronoun and the verb in a given sentence.

People who cannot distinguish between good and bad language, or who regard the distinction as unimportant, are unlikely to think carefully about anything else.   ~B. R. Myers

If you need another set of eyes to ensure that your usage is correct, contact Unscripted today.