We’re going to look at the spelling and grammar checker that is part of Microsoft Word. I am using Microsoft Word 2007 on a PC. If you are using different software or a different type of computer, of course, your screen won’t look the same. You may need to check the settings to make sure that the spelling and grammar feature is turned on.
Let’s look at one paragraph of our essay. This is a piece of the persuasive argument essay. I’m going to look first at the words that are underlined in red. Those indicate a problem with spelling. The first one here says, “alway.” I’m going to put the curser mouse over the word, and I’m going to right click on the mouse. Notice that a few possibilities come up: always, away, etc. Now, I could just go ahead and click on always, and it will change to that word in my text. Let’s look at the next one.
The next one here says “snecks” which should be “snacks.” Here I’m going to again right-click on the mouse. Some possibilities come up. I could also look under spelling to get more information. Here it comes up with the word in context, and it also has some different suggestions. In this case, I’m going to select “snacks” which is the first suggestion. Notice that if I have this window up, it is going to go automatically to the next word which is “usd.” And here again, I just click on Change.
Now I have looked at all of the possible spelling errors. Does this mean that every word in the paragraph is spelled correctly? Not always. The spell checker has taken care of many of the problems, but there may be other words that are spelled incorrectly according to the context. For example, up here it says, “pay four phone calls.” Certainly four—f o u r—is a word, but it is incorrectly spelled for this particular context. So, I can change that to for—f o r.
Ok, I’m going to look now at the phrases that are underlined in green. Here I have “so this are not.” I’m going to right click. Here it says, “this is.” “This is” is better than “this are.” So, I’m going to click, and it makes that change.
Next, it says, “On some airlines there has been a charge.” I’m not sure what the problem is here. So, I’m going to right click, and then select “Grammar” to get an explanation. It is suggesting that I use a comma. I have decided that I don’t want to follow this advice and use a comma here, so I click on “Ignore Once” and my text will not be changed. We don’t have to use the suggestion if we don’t want to.
The next underlined part is “These fees seems.” So, I’m going to right click on that, and here again, we have a problem with the plural subject used with a singular verb. I’m going to select the correct form and have it changed in the text.
Here it says, “extra, optional services which.” I’m going to click there, and it is suggesting that I use a comma, which I could do. I could either have a comma here, or not. So, I’ll go ahead and accept that.
Then it says, “But now we must also pay for snacks.” Let me look at this one. It is suggesting that I not use “but” at the beginning of the sentence. Strictly speaking, we shouldn’t start a sentence with “but,” but, in this case, I will ignore the suggestion.
Let’s look at this next problem. We have “some airlines even charge,” and it is suggesting that I use a capital letter. Of course, this is a good suggestion, so I will follow it.
In this way, you can see that we have been able to take care of some of the basic problems that were in the paragraph. We have seen in this demonstration that we don’t always want to follow the suggestions made by the Spelling and Grammar checker, and it may not catch all the errors. In any case, it’s a very useful tool. That’s it!