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Algorithmic Spell Check? Fuhgeddaboudit

The popular spelling and grammar checking platforms of the day can certainly be handy in managing rudimentary email communications. But these platforms are powered by algorithms.

Not only will algorithms fail to detect the full range of errors made regularly, as machines they can’t possess an understanding of writing’s finer points, particularly where any form of emotion is concerned.

And if English happens to be your second language, well …fuhgeddaboudit.

What would Grammarly do with “fuhgeddaboudit”, the eye dialect spelling of ‘forget about it’ made popular as stereotypical New York City slang?

I downloaded the program and checked.

An alert appeared: fuhgeddaboudit – change the spelling.

Forget about those examples where words are unfortunately misspelled as other words, and go undetected – calm as clam, border as boarder, and on and on.

Forget about complications involving word order, and aspects like verb agreements.

Algorithms don’t have an appreciation for context, nor for your ability to emote. There will be times when what you say and mean will depend on the specific context in which it is said. There will also be times when you want your writing to generate a particular feeling in your audience.

Word choice is critical in both scenarios, and machines are unable to navigate this challenge. Expert proofreaders are, and can suggest words best suited to the desired context.

Sure, algorithmic platforms can help with the everyday writing basics. But when you’re really writing, there’s no substitute for human intervention through expert proofreading.


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