10 things your spell checker won’t catch

The ubiquitous software is great, of course, but it’s designed to do just so much. Beyond that, you need a set of eyeballs—or maybe more—advises this university admissions consultant.

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We urge applicants to have their applications carefully proofread before hitting the “submit” key. That means printing out your application and having it checked for errors “by eye” rather than trusting an automated spell checker to do the job for you.

In case you’re wondering why, here are some examples of mistakes that most spell checkers will not catch:

Homonyms (words that sound the same but mean different things): Spell checkers won’t realize that you intended to write “pair” instead of “pare” or “pear,” or “there” instead of “their” or “they’re.”

Incorrectly divided compound words: Spell checkers won’t tell you that “court yard” should be “courtyard,” or that “yester day” should be “yesterday.”

Incorrect pronouns: Spell checkers won’t realize that you typed in “his” or—worse—”its” when you should have typed “hers,” or “she” when it should have been “he.”

Usage errors: Spell checkers probably won’t alert you to typos involving “its” and “it’s.”

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