Goff and Howard Public Relations / Public Affairs Logo

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It’s okay to question spell-check

As I blogged recently about the impact of texting on kids’ writing and spelling skills, my spell-check went crazy. It’s going a little crazy again right now.

The words “blog” and “blogging” are in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (my preferred dictionary), but only as nouns. “Blogged” is not listed at all.

“Text” has long been in the dictionary as a noun, but not in the way that I’m using it here. In the way that I’m using it, the dictionary lists “text” as a verb only and “text messaging” as a noun.

Don’t even get me started on “spell-check” in the dictionary.

I’m telling myself not to be alarmed. Language is an evolving art as much as a science. Merriam-Webster cannot possibly answer every question or keep up with every new word.

Under the “FAQ” section at merriam-webster.com, there is a question about how to suggest a word for the dictionary. The answer is:
“The selection of which words to include in the dictionary is not based on personal preferences or popularity-contest-style votes; it is based on usage. Simply put, to gain entry to the dictionary, a word must be widely used in a broad range of professionally written and edited materials over an extended period of time.”

Next year at this time, I expect my spell-check might let “blogging” and “texting” slide.