When spelling REALLY matters.
The preferred Australian English spelling for Microsoft Office.

Word Check
Now with spelling suggestions and a link to definitions

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Is the spelling car park or carpark?

Every day I see multiple a word is spelt and it literally stops me when I'm reading the article. I think, "that's not how I'd spell the word", and then I start to think about the spelling rather than the content of the article. Has that happened to you?

In this case it was a truly tragic situation of a man dying after falling three floors in a Westfield car park. This headline read "Man dies after falling from third level of Westfield shopping centre carpark". My first concern was for someone local as I live near Westfield Doncaster, but in this case it was Westfield Parramatta. How weird I thought. Even such a powerful and emotional headline trips me up with what I consider is probably a secondary spelling. The spelling had got in the way of the message.

So which is the correct spelling? The preferred spelling in Australia is using two words or car park. The single word variation carpark is a secondary spelling variation.

To check the ratio of usage in Australia I now use my search engine (www.advancedsearch.com.au/SearchAustralia/) which only includes sites with domains ending in .au and selected Australian sites. I enclose each spelling variation in double quotes which then returns the number of pages found by Google. In this case the numbers were:

car park - 1.9 million
carpark - 484,000

The Macquarie dictionary has car park as the header word (the entry) and carpark in that entry as an Also spelling. That is, carpark is a secondary spelling. The Oxford dictionary does not have a separate headword and only includes car park as part of the definition for car. The Oxford does not list carpark as a spelling.

The problem with dictionaries is they document usage which doesn't help us to know what most people would normally consider to be the correct spelling. Both spelling variations are considered correct by the dictionaries, as years ago dictionaries across the world decided to stop be prescriptive (telling us how to spell) to being descriptive (documenting how we spell). That doesn't really help people who simply wish to use the best spelling option.

If you were writing for an audience you could expect 80% would be expecting the spelling car park and around 20% carpark. In my opinion it is best to write using the spelling the majority of people use and that way it is considered correct by the majority of people. Far easier to argue your case if someone then challenges your spelling, who may themselves prefer the secondary spelling.

Kelvin Eldridge
Making it easier to Australians to know the preferred Australian English spelling.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

David Jones is a little inconsistent with their use of Wi-Fi.

I was checking the modern usage of apostrophe on retail sites and I came across the following David Jones page for their free Wi-Fi.


What caught my attention is the number of inconsistencies in such a short space. If we look at the graphic we see WIFI and INSTORE.

Now if we move to the two paragraphs of text that follow we see a number of inconsistencies.

Notice the first paragraph has the correct use of Wi-Fi whereas the second paragraph and the graphic use the incorrect form WiFi. The word instore is one of three possible forms but the preferred form in Australia is in-store.

Perhaps using a retailers site wasn't as good an idea as I first thought. Certainly does not give me confidence that appropriate care has been taken with the site. To me that's a pity as quality brands are often leaders which we can follow and use as references.

Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, October 24, 2014

I thought this article on Mrs Daffern's research through the CSU's School of Education in Albury Wodonga was an interesting read so decided to share.

Mrs Daffern's research, through the CSU's School of Education in Albury Wodonga, is examining how children learn to spell so that educators can improve how this important skill is taught.... read more
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Apostrophe use. If there's one things you'll see that's very common, it is the incorrect use of the apostrophe.

Apostrophe use. What can I say. Every day you'll probably see the apostrophe used incorrectly. I've used it incorrectly many times and I'm sure you probably have too. You'll see misuse of the apostrophe on signs and in written work all around you.

My work is about the preferred Australian English spelling. The apostrophe appears in my work in the form of possessives, plurals and telescoped words. Sometimes even though this seems simple it isn't.

To help those struggling with the apostrophe you may wish to check out the following article from the Macquarie dictionary site.


My favourite example is when I realised that everyone I asked seemed to say Princes Highway incorrectly. Everyone including myself would say Princess Highway. Home come I kept thinking. The reason is convention. The apostrophe in Princes has been dropped due to convention. If you don't know the convention (and many people including myself didn't), then you can see how this can lead people to mispronounce the word. Once you know however, it all makes sense.

Now if you're having trouble with an apostrophe and would like to ask a question, I'm not your man. I only do words;-)

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Does bad spelling annoy you?

Because of my interest in the preferred Australian English spelling, I receive alerts about articles on spelling. One popped into my email recently with the subject, "Does bad spelling annoy you?" I recognised the site as it was a survey site I'd reviewed earlier in the year. This was a question posted by a member of the group and from what I can see, is usually done simply for a bit of fun.

For a bit of fun I decided to post the same question and selection of answers to a business group I participate in that is administered by the Victorian government. The group is in theory composed of business people. The survey group I'm not sure of, but it would be a cross section of the population. The survey group are unlikely to be business people as when they do a survey, the reward is equivalent to $2-$2.50 per hour. The survey people are more likely people who have time on their hands and do it for a bit of fun, socialising and perhaps a desire to contribute. We can't rule out all workers, because someone who has time on their hands at work, with access to a computer, could effectively add 10% to their income whilst being paid to work. So nothing is certain except the group are members of the survey site.

A conclusion from the two different sample groups we can reach is that business people are more concerned about spelling than the survey group at 88% to 73%. Interestingly as well, more people don't care about good spelling in the survey group than the business group at 20% to 10%.

The survey site answers were:

Respondents: 59

Yes: 73%
No: 7%
Don't care: 20%

Male: 32%
Female: 68%

Under 18: 4%
18-39: 32%
35-54: 37%
55+: 27%

The business Facebook group

Respondents: 59

Yes: 88%
No: 1%
Don't care: 10%
(Total not 100% due to rounding down in each answer.)

Male: 37%
Female: 63%

For those who are interested, over the years I've asked various people about the importance of spelling. When I asked a few primary teachers the answer was not important. When I asked a year 11/12 teacher the response was not that important as it is worth only a few marks. My observation of tertiary is people are being marked more on spelling as there's been feedback on people losing marks.

The year 11/12 response concerns me. A few marks at the higher end could make a significant difference as to the course a person gets entry to. I understand the primary teachers response because the focus appears to be on overall learning to not focusing as much on the detail, which I suspect improves over time, but that's just my opinion without foundation.

The response to this type of survey will vary considerably according to the survey group, but it does show overall, that people do place some level of importance on good spelling. In the business world it becomes more important.

I do however wonder how much difference it does make in the real world. Would you not buy those avocados because the sign said avocado's, and would poor spelling in a real estate ad stop your from buying that million dollar property? I suspect the answer is no, it would make no difference. However if you received a quote or a resume with bad spelling then that could have an impact. It really depends greatly on the situation. To be annoyed is one thing, but to act differently is another.

Kelvin Eldridge
Creator of the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dictionary Australian - The preferred Australian English spelling for Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and Mac OSX.

Dictionary Australian - Give that people search for dictionary Australian in Google I felt I should at least make it easy for those people to find the preferred Australian spelling files for Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and Mac OSX.

If spelling matters to you then please take a little time to review www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au and see how my work can assist your written work. My work is a result of the past 11 years of producing dictionary files and as a result I've uncovered many issues in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and Mac OSX which is reducing the quality of your written work. Often you'll think something is a little strange but then think your software knows best. It often doesn't and as such is creating bad spelling habits you should be aware of.

Once you become aware you'll never look back.

Kelvin Eldridge

Monday, August 4, 2014

Spell check is an incorrect spelling and here's why it happens.

The spelling of the word spell check in Australia is spellcheck and in American it is spell-check. That is, one word in Australia and hyphenated in America.

Why then do so many people insert a space between the words spell and check?

The reason is very simple. The word spellcheck is not included in the dictionary which comes with the software. When people type the word spellcheck the spellchecker tries to find suitable suggestions and since the words spell and check are both valid, a suggestion that is made is spell check with a space between the two words.

People across the world now believe the spelling is spell check, but in fact their word processor has misled them and they are now making a spelling error.

The preferred Australian English spelling files I provide corrects this and thousands of other spelling issues that occur when using Microsoft Office products. The same issues occur with other software, but least I can provide spelling files which correct the issues.

Kelvin Eldridge