Spell Check makes me Doubt my English Abilities

I’m a grown woman, educated in Australia in the 70’s- 80’s, an excellent speller and proud of it. English was always my best subject. I didn’t need to try too hard. I always got high marks even when I just threw something together the night before it was due, even though I had 2 weeks. It was how I wrote most of my essays.  I was a math dumb dumb but English was my bitch……Obviously the reason I started this little venture.

Grammar was fun and I understood all the rules and know the difference between tricky things like their, there and they’re…. to and too, and even this toughy, who’s and whose. Where to place commas, how to never end a sentence with at…..’Where you at?’ kills me ever so slowly, every time I hear it.

Then I moved to America and spell check has ruined my life and made me doubt myself where I never have before. All the rules are out the window, run over by the bus or dead in the water. Well not ALL ‘i before e except after c’ still remains but adding an extra letter before -ing or -ed doesn’t work any more for travelling or travelled, fuelling or fuelled. It’s correct english but not correct american english and therefore it gets those horrid squiggly red lines underneath. Then you have the ‘er or re’ debate as in theatre or theater, centre or center, metre or meter and litre or liter.

However those last two are kind of superfluous as there is no metric here.

Not to mention changing all ise words and making them ize….. realise realize, chastise, chastize etc..

ae is feeling rather neglected also…. how can you spell  gynaecology , encyclopaedia, paediatrician without ae..Why? Was it too hard to learn? Did you feel so challenged you needed to change it? Was it your little ‘Fuck you’ to the English after the war?

I write a post and all over it there are these crazy squiggly lines challenging all I know in the world of language. It hurts my happy little spelling heart.

Why people, why did you take a language and change it? I’m so unsure now. Do I spell the way I  learned, which is correct English or do I conform because those reading me may think I can’t spell and therefore my fragile spelling ego suffers further criticism. It’s a fine line I walk every time I put fingers to keyboard. It depends on the day …

I want to be right. I strive to use my native language to show off her abilities and intricacies but I feel she’s been brutalised, beaten like a pretty girl in Gaol (jail) so the skanks don’t feel too bad about themselves.

I wanna make my 8th Grade English teacher proud, she still sees all, so for the most part I stick to what I know and when in doubt I google it and go with the English version 🙂

Here’s a link to learning the differences

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Comments 13

  1. You forgot “cancelled,” hahaha. Also, I never even knew about those “ae” words. They look absolutely bizarre to me… But you go ahead and spell things the right way. Anyone who thinks you’re wrong is just ignorant.

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  2. I’m with you. I have heard TV anchors and School Principals end sentences with “at” and I just cringe. I do have to admit though, I learned never to start an sentence with “and” or “but” and I seem to be doing that on a regular basis now. Sigh, sometimes if you can’t beat ’em . . .

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  3. Hi Molley

    I hear what you are saying, and I know where you are “at”. Unfortunately, the more I look into these things, the more I am finding that the American form is the older form (not always, to be sure). The changes often occurred in British English after the War of Independence. The “or” form, for example, seems to be older than the “our” form. The “ize” ending is actually more appropriate than the “ise” if the word has a Greek origin, where the Greek letter was actually zeta. Apparently Chaucer and Shaespeare used “theater” rather than “theatre”. I am an English born Aussie, by the way.


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      Hey Philip, thanks for that, how interesting! I suppose it’s what you learn in your formative years that you stick with. I had someone tell me on twitter to change my settings to ‘english’ english… DOH! Why I never thought of that I’ll never know 🙂
      Thanks for dropping by.. Hope to see you again.

  4. Well done Molly! Congratulations on this piece! Spell check is the bane of my life and the automatic American dictionary, which always corrects my English spelling. In Aussie schools, grammar is no longer recognised and taught. so I wasn’t such a nasty teacher after all! 🙂 3:)

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      How the hell can you not teach grammar! They have finally realised that it really is required and have begun reintroducing it over here… WTF? Anyway, you were never a nasty teacher, I actually loved you! You gave me excellent marks for those essays I threw together n sunday nights 😛 It was always a pleasant surprise.

  5. What about colour or color, and similar words like that!! I had the same issue when I came here and MS Word decided to teach me a lesson (several, actually). So, completely relate to this post!!

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