“Their” and “they’re” and “there,” oh my

I did a little searching earlier for likely candidates for my daily post here, and I found this.

Am I troubled? Yes, I am.

Do I understand their reasoning? I do, but I don’t agree with it (obviously, or I wouldn’t be posting this, would I?).

Yes, spellcheckers have their useful moments. Do I think their existence negates the need to know proper spelling without their help? I do not. Do I wish that Word didn’t auto-correct words while I’m typing? Sometimes, yes. I’m capable of correcting my own errors, thanks. (And I am sometimes paid to correct those of others.)

Granted, the school is adding “a word usage section” focusing on the kinds of errors spellcheckers will miss, such as that set of triplets up in the title. I suppose I should be grateful for that much; at least they’re (holy cats, I just used one!) going to expect students to be able to tell the difference, and know which spelling is correct in a given instance.

I should be grateful. Somehow, I’m not.

Sincerely,

Miss Thistlebottom

5 thoughts on ““Their” and “they’re” and “there,” oh my

  1. Yeesh. I have a really, really hard time believing that an institute of higher education would do such a thing — and for a JOURNALISM school, no less. The computer engineering school? Maybe. But not the guys ‘n’ gals who sling words for a living.

    On the plus side, this ensures that there will be plenty of fodder for our blog for years to come.

    Like

  2. As someone who’s multilingual and might write in one of three languages when using word… I HATE autocorrect. With a passion. It’s always correcting in the wrong damn language.

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    1. Unless you’re using a very old version of Word, I think you can turn off all autocorrect options. You can also customize it so that Word autocorrects only certain things—say, common errors that you know you always make.

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