Publishing 101: Spell and Grammar Check

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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This step of my editing process took less than fifteen minutes to complete. The check found eight issues that were easily fixed because they were brought to my attention using MS Word’s Spell Check and Grammar Check software (2010 version).

I know. I’ve heard the experts: Don’t use the computer software for spell check and grammar! Blah! Get over it, experts. Step down off your high horse and reconsider.

Spell and Grammar check does NOT replaceWhy do I use this feature? Because in an instant, it might inform me that I mistakenly used their instead of there, or placed two spaces instead of one between words. BANG! One mistake I may have missed was found. Even after I’ve completed the previous editing steps, there are still mistakes hiding in my manuscript, and if software can point out a few of them, I’m using it.

Spell and Grammar Check does NOT replace a proper edit, but it is a tool to help reduce the number of errors in a manuscript down to as close to zero as I can get it.

The software won’t correct things for me but many times it offers suggestions; the writer still must know whether to accept the advice of the program (and repair the error) or to discard it.

The software is not perfect. For example, it flagged the first ‘lay’ word in this sentence: “They don’t lay every day, but they lay most days.”

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