Their, there and they’re – picking the right option

In the previous post, we briefly touched on using spell checker, synonyms and online thesaurus when writing to improve spelling or help you make the right choice.

I find it very difficult to use a dictionary and spell check on its own does not always work. It is only using a combination of spell check and synonyms that I can ensure I have the right spelling.

You see, when you get the spelling of a word wrong, spell check gives you a few options, if it recognises what you have written as a possible word.

Like a dictionary, if you know the first few letters then you could probably find the word you are looking for or at least one that looks right….. but is it?

I defiantly think that I have spelled everything in the post correctly, there are no red squiggles and I have used spell check to review my content.

But, I am wrong; the word defiantly, while spelt correctly, is not the word I was looking for in that sentence. I picked the word that looked like definitely as the spelling is not dissimilar. Nevertheless, without using the synonyms function which provides possible alternatives to your chosen word, I would never have known I was wrong.

I find it easier to get the right word if it is shown in context, providing a definition or a sentence where the word has been used can help to ensure you have selected the right option. This is where the online thesaurus can really help. Many words in the English language are similarly spelt or sound similar, for example ensure and insure, selecting the wrong word and changing the whole meaning of your sentence can be so easily done.

So, while spell checker can be a useful tool for pointing out when a mistake has been made, it does not always work on its own, if at all. It’s only understanding the meaning of the word you have written that will ensure you have got it right.

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