Using Essay Spell Checkers and Grammar Checkers

Spell checkers and grammar checkers are a safety net and worth using. However, they are not a cure all and should not be used as an excuse for failing to proof your work. Further, to use a spell checker effectively it is necessary to know how the software operates and to know its limitations.

Writing a good essay is, of course, your primary objective. However, sometimes teachers or employers can be so distracted by incorrect word usage, spelling errors, and grammatical errors that they cannot see your brilliant logical analysis.

Although creating an essay or research paper that is almost error free can seem difficult, please keep in mind that when you work, your employer will expect flawless work. Your teachers try to set up habits to ensure your success in the work place.

Advantages to Using Spell Checkers and Grammar Checkers

  • Some spell checkers highlight or underline words the computer “thinks” are incorrect. Moreover, some spell checkers correct words for you.
  • Some sophisticated spell checkers have a built-in second language feature and even a thesaurus. This is particularly helpful if you are bilingual.
  • Spell checkers will catch many mistakes and improve the quality of your paper.
  • Some people feel less stress when they use a spell checker. They feel free to concentrate on the content of a paper instead of the “mechanics.” If you attend closely to the computer’s warnings (underlines and highlighting) you can write a better paper.

Disadvantages to Using Spell Checkers and Grammar Checkers

  • Spell checkers that correct words for you are particularly problematic because the software program does not always choose the correct option for the words.
  • Some people depend too much on a spell checker, thus reducing the quality of their documents when they are working on their paper.
  • We can forget how to spell words because the spell checker automatically corrects them for us or offers us suggestions to choose from. When you take the TOEFL, SAT, or other standardized tests, you may be required to write an essay without the use of spell checkers. If you have depended on the spell checker to monitor your spelling for you, you may have more trouble on an in-class essay.
  • The computer may not always figure out what you intended to say. For example, the computer might see “lay” as okay when you meant “play.” The amount of help you receive is a function of the quality of the software.

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