The mistakes Word simply won’t spot

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ComputerThe importance of giving all your documents a final spelling and grammar check before they are ready to submit is obvious, especially given the high rate of pre-peer review rejection by journals.

Yet, despite the safety net of Word’s spellchecking function, you simply can’t rely on it identifying some of the high-frequency misspellings our latest blog article discusses.

Some spelling mistakes are subtle enough to be easily passed over during a quick glance through of your work, but stand out as glaring errors when read by a third party.

 

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Commonly overlooked spelling mistakes

One of the most frequent has to be the misuse of “indentify” instead of “identify”, which typically fails to show as incorrect during your spellcheck.

Another common mistake is writers using “statically” when they mean “statistically”, for example in the sentence “X was found to be statistically significant at the 10% level”.

“In summery” would of course be perfectly acceptable if placed in the following sentence: “In summery weather, the children liked to go outside to play”. But it’s simply not right when used to introduce a “summary” of your research findings.

And demonstrating a “casual relationship” would be OK if you’re writing about certain kinds of liaisons, but not if you’re an economist aiming to present the degree of “causality” in your findings.

Finally, also watch out for the misuse of “manger” when you mean “manager”, “predication” when meaning “prediction” and “trough” for “through”.

 

Help yourself eliminate these mistakes from your writing

Professional editors see these mistakes on a daily basis and get used to spotting when writers are likely to fall into this trap. They then use Word’s ‘Find and Replace’ function to search for other similar rogue entries throughout the document and eliminate them accordingly.

However, writers can also help themselves by ensuring that they have adopted the most suitable proofing functions in Word.

Most importantly, make sure that the ‘Use contextual spelling’ setting is checked whenever you start a new document (go to the ‘Proofing’ tab under ‘Word Options’ and see the section titled ‘When correcting spelling and grammar in Word’).

While this helpful tool won’t spot the mistakes discussed above, it will highlight some of the even more common misspellings in the English language, such as from/form and their/there/they’re.

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