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Friday, August 21, 2009

A piece of desert

“Who would like a piece of desert?”

If you are pausing, wondering, or questioning your spelling skills right now, there is a good reason. Or, if you are picturing sand dunes and cacti, you’re wondering what my previous sentence means.

Either way, I am getting my point across. One little letter can make a big difference.

What I meant to ask was, “Who would like a piece of dessert?” You know – like a delicious piece of apple crisp.

But my spell check didn’t detect my incorrect spelling, probably for two reasons:
1) because “desert” is a word, and
2) because it is possible that I could have meant “desert,” as in “Who would like to own land in the desert?”

Computers’ spelling and grammar check systems miss all kinds of misspellings and extra words. For example, none of these sentences/words set off any red flags on my screen:
• He has no patients.
• She is a descent person.
• The writing is in the wall.
• The writing is the wall.
• School funding cuts would harm on Minnesota students.

Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate and fully utilize the spelling and grammar check in my writing. It catches some things that I might otherwise miss.

Just don’t let it give you any false security. Read and re-read what you write. Or, ideally, have someone you trust edit and proofread your business documents.