Using the Spellchecker
by Karen Johnson-Waugh
Microsoft Word has accumulated thirty years of features to assist us in writing. One beneficial feature to the writer is spell check. It will highlight the error and open a dropdown menu. The best word option on the list will be highlighted. This is an indispensable tool.
It also checks spelling and homonyms with new dictionaries. It will correct grammar errors, too, but it won’t enhance the readability of your style.
The spellchecker also runs a quick diagnostic feature known as the “Flesh-Kincaid Reading Ease.” The test will grade your article and score it. Reading ease should be around 55. The grade level can be as low as seven.
The spellchecker will tell you if your article is too wordy or hard to understand. It will also indicate the amount of passive sentences. Passive voice is most effective in a scientific paper or instruction manual, but in stories, it diverts the attention away from the speaker and highlights the facts. Active voice is the key to prize writing. Keep your writing relative and tight and aim for less than 3% passive voice.
Spell check doesn’t always recognize the meaning of words. It isn’t a proofreader. Try reading your article backwards to catch errors. Another trick is to change the font size to shift paragraphs around on the page and gain a new perspective.
Spell check won’t write your story, but it will give you a lot of help.
Don’t forget to ‘like’ us before you leave. For more great tips, sign up for The Writer’s Choice Newsletter (for free) at http://cwinst.com/newslettersignup.php.