Why your spellchecker isn't good enough.

Type the words mom, focussed, and customize. Notice how the words are not marked as spelling errors. Over two and a half thousand similar issues have been found in the commonly used spellcheckers. To fix this problem with your spellchecker visit Australian Dictionary for the solution.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thirty per cent of people worry about making writing and spelling errors.

When I read the linked article this paragraph caught my attention.

"Failing to achieve key outcomes/goals was considered the worst mistake ever made (32 per cent) quickly followed by written errors and spelling mistakes (30 per cent).",

I thought that's a lot of stress, some of which can be avoided.


Over the years I've read of many people getting stress or grief from their spellcheckers. The most common being the use of "ize" spelling (which is a secondary spelling variation in Australia), which is considered by many as American spelling and incorrect. In particular this affects students.

If spelling is causing you grief, Word Check is the only online service enabling you to check to see if the word you're using is spelt using the preferred Australian English spelling. The Microsoft Office add-ins enable you to eliminate thousands of secondary spelling variations often considered errors. For more information visit www.Australian-Dictionary.com.au.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling add-ins for Windows and Mac.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Be careful when reading articles online, even if they're on .com.au sites.

An article from Business Insider pop into my inbox which I thought would be interesting to share. As I was reading the article something didn't feel right. Some of the advice didn't seem right for Australia.


Even though this article is on a .com.au site, Business Insider also has a .com site. The author of the article is Christina Sterbenz. Further checking reveals Christina lives in New York, so it starts to make sense that some of the content may not be correct.

If you search the internet for a part of the document, such as "These students spend months, sometimes years, studying for their big moments on the mic.", you'll see the article is being republished across the internet. For Australians the word "memorize" has been changed to "memorise", which is appropriate. But it is easy to change the obvious, but only an Australian editor/journalist would pick the less obvious differences in the language, that we as Australians will read as errors.

As you read the article there's small clues that catch your attention, which makes you suspect this isn't an Australian article. The first is the word "Anglicized". Yes they got "memorise" correct but they've not been thorough. Where the article really tripped me up is when they started talking about how we sound a word. That's when it didn't make sense as how Australians and Americans pronounce some words is different and it then became apparent this was an article that could mislead people.

Perhaps the worst piece of advice is to check the Oxford Online Dictionary. This is something you shouldn't do in Australia. We don't have a free online resource in Australia, but if you do check a word, use the printed Macquarie Dictionary and/or the Australian Oxford Dictionary.

There's some great information in the article which is very useful. However always keep in mind it you're not aware, you don't know what is good advice and what is bad advice. You'll start to absorb some of the bad advice and believe it to be true. That doesn't help you in the long run.

Kelvin Eldridge
The preferred Australian English spelling.

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.


"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
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.


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
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
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
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