Why your spellchecker isn't good enough.

Try typing the words mom, focussed, and customize, and if they're not marked as spelling errors, you have a problem. There's over two and a half thousand such problems in the commonly used spellcheckers.
Visit the Australian Dictionary site for the solution.



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Friday, May 22, 2015

Is the spelling alot or a lot?

I read this rather interesting article today and the final line caught my attention.

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/why-the-editor-of-the-macquarie-dictionary-just-said-charity-fk-in-front-of-thousands-of-people-2015-5

"And finally, Butler would like you all to know that “a lot” – as in “I like you a lot” – is TWO words, not one."

Those of you who follow my work will know the dictionary files I create are prescriptive. Why? Simple. I simply want people to be able to easily find the single spelling most people consider correct. We are presented all the time with choices with spelling and I think it is simply easier to use the preferred Australian English spelling rather than a secondary variation.

Now here's the problem with the statement. If we are to accept usage is what determines should or shouldn't be included in the dictionary, then surely the word "alot" should now be included as a secondary variation for the words "a lot". Yes it is an error, but based on usage, around 20% of the population use the spelling "alot".

When referring to a dictionary make sure you read the important tips which let you know a little more about the entry. A word may be slang, colloquial, commonly used in speech, or a secondary variation. These clues are invaluable when using a dictionary.

Given that my work is about creating the best prescriptive spellcheck dictionary for Australians, I do however agree that the spelling is not "alot", at least at this point in time.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

As I was reading about the term MX it occurred to me just how powerful words can be.

I was reading the following article about the MX possibly being included in the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

www.smh.com.au/world/gender-neutral-mx-may-be-added-to-oxford-english-dictionary-20150506-ggvsg1.html

The article states "The gender neutral honorific pronounced mux, will be an alternative to the traditional Miss, Mrs, Ms".

What occurred to me as I read the article that fighting for titles for equality appears  not to solve a problem, but to be to be part of the problem. Titles or salutations aren't really necessary and often they're used in ways that...well, is far from ideal.

Perhaps it's time to think about whether or not titles or salutations are necessary at all.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I decided to do a spellcheck on the NAP site after receiving an article which featured the NAPLAN testing.

I'm probably not a fan of the NAPLAN test. I simply see another level of administration where I feel other existing tests I suspect could just as easily provide sufficient information. Even though students aren't supposed to study for these tests, from what I read, time is spent preparing for the NAPLAN tests. In addition the test puts some students under pressure which need not exist. At least that's how I see it.

I checked one of the spelling tests and can understand why many students (and adults) would get the words wrong. They testing is typically for the trickier words. Isn't it interesting that we focus so much on the trickier words, which often we can work around, rather than the majority of the words we use can spelling easily.

This made me wonder if there may be spelling mistakes on the NAP site and whilst generally it is very good, yes the site does have spelling mistakes. Here's an example of one which is a fairly common spelling mistake. There were others, but not a great number.



The article which I initially received and read made a very interesting point about the written test which was about the set time to write an article. When in our lives do we have to sit and write a document at a given time, for a given time period. It simply doesn't happen outside of the school system, or at least it hasn't happened in my career. Isn't it interesting the pressure we put our children under which is totally different from the world they'll be in when they leave school.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au
Creator of the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.

Monday, April 13, 2015

For a bit of fun - The Australian Spelling Test.

A while ago I created a quiz which shows people something about Australian English spelling that many people don't notice. That is, there are many words which can be spelt in two or more ways. Both are correct, but one is preferred over the other based on usage.

I've found people quite enjoyed doing the quiz so I've decided to add the quiz to the Australian Dictionary site and I've now called the quiz the Australian Spelling Test. You can access the test from the menu, or go direct to the page www.australian-dictionary.com.au/spelling-test.

By the way, for those of you who think my spelling may be perfect, it isn't. Even though I know these words and have done the test many times, after returning to the test and not having done it for a while, I could only manage 9 out of 10, and it still took me three attempts to work out which word I was spelling using a secondary spelling variation.

The preferred Australian English spelling dictionary I've created has identified over two and half thousand such words (as well as errors often found in spellcheckers) and the add-ins I've created remove the secondary spelling variations for those using products such as Microsoft Office. Many people consider secondary spelling variations to be incorrect, and often they're mistaken as being American. One thing for sure, is you use the preferred spelling you'll be considered to be using the correct Australian English spelling and the spelling in your documents will be consistent.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au
Creator of the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Is the spelling business advisor or business adviser?

Spelling to me is an incredibly useful tool. Spelling often provides an insight into the quality of a businesses that are providing us with services. Often when something doesn't feel right about a business, if you check their spelling you often get hints you'd never pick up.

When I see the words business advisor across the front of an accounting practice I simply shudder. How could a professional business not take the time and effort to check out the spelling for a major part of their advertising. The use of the word advisor is now so common that it is more common than the correct spelling adviser. In time that probably means by default the incorrect spelling will become the correct spelling and to me that's a shame. It isn't the general public, but a specific group of businesses using the wrong spelling that leads us to believe it is the right spelling.



Not exactly on topic, but when I saw this very large sign on the wall of a shop in Thomastown, it did make me wonder. The accounting firm has spent a considerable amount of time and money getting a very large sign attached to the side wall of a shop which has great traffic visibility in two directions. At no time does it appear the accountant bothered to check the spelling of the word bookkeeping, which is spelt incorrectly as bookeeping. Even if they did, then they're more than happy to leave the sign up for years with the spelling error. How accurate and caring of your critical business information do you think this accountant would be when they don't even care about their own advertising?

Spelling often provides us with clues which I think are certainly worth looking for, and can often provide us with information the supplier probably wouldn't want us to know. Whilst spelling may not be the deal breaker in a final decision, for me it puts the business on the back foot and this simply makes it harder for them to get my business.

Don't let poor spelling affect your chances of getting business, a better grade for your assignments, or perhaps even that job promotion. Life can be tough so don't make it tougher than it need be. If in doubt, pick up a dictionary and verify the spelling of the word. Using the internet generally isn't a great idea as the spelling tools available are mostly overseas based and thus not the best for Australia.

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

When using the many low cost online options for written work, make sure you check the spelling.

I saw the following on the Fiverr site and it's a reminder that when using low cost services, to make sure the quality of your written material is up to standard.


Kelvin Eldridge
www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au
The creator of the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What's the difference between a lawyer and a solicitor?

Yesterday I was performing some SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) tasks for a client for the phrase conveyancing Melbourne. Part of researching for SEO is to look for suitable words and the words lawyer and solicitor came up. I thought to myself, what's the difference? Whenever I find a word I don't know the meaning of I become curious and like to learn about the word.

I did some searching on the internet but interestingly the Macquarie dictionary provides quite good definitions.

Lawyer: noun 1. someone who is professionally qualified to practise law in any capacity (whether a judge, barrister, solicitor, or a teacher of law).

Solicitor: noun 2. a member of that branch of the legal profession whose services consist of advising clients, representing them before the lower courts and preparing cases for barristers to try in the higher courts.

Another word mystery now cleared up for me.

What do you do when you find a word you don't understand? Simply skip the word and move on, or take the opportunity to extend your knowledge?

Kelvin Eldridge
www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au
Creator of the preferred Australian spelling dictionary add-ins for Windows and Macs.