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Spellcheck and auto-correct are making you stupid and it could cost you your future job

As winner of my third-grade class spelling bee, I’d like to say I’m exceptional when it comes to spelling and grammar. Some might actually call me psychotic and I often get called the “grammar police” as I troll around on Facebook, correcting people’s grammar mistakes on their various statuses.

Often times when I call others out for their errors, they reply with “I don’t care. It’s Facebook,” or “That’s why there’s spellcheck and auto-correct.” Upon hearing these responses, I cringe.


It’s plain and simple: Spellcheck and auto-correct are making you dumb, lazy and incompetent when it comes to simple spelling and grammar.

Now I’m not saying spellcheck is entirely horrible and that it shouldn’t be used — it should be used, but it shouldn’t be given the power that it currently has.

We all know the unforgiving staggered red lines that scatter our documents as we write essays in Microsoft Word — the lines that for me at least, make me so overly frustrated until I fix every error or “ignore” words/author names that I know are correct.

The problem with the red and the green grammar lines is that they are generated by a computer — not a human with cognitive abilities. The issue is that the computer doesn’t detect when you’re using “your” instead of “you’re,” or “there” instead of “their” or “they’re.”

If you rely too intently on spellcheck to save you, and if you think just because you have zero red lines on your documents that you’re all set and error-free, you’re entirely mistaken.

Let’s move on to the issue of auto-correct on our cell phones. Auto-correct provides for the same issue that spellcheck does, that it can’t detect which version of a word to use within the context of your text or email. Additionally, auto-correct provides for (admittedly, often hilarious) corrections of words that you never intended to use — such as when my mom types “Brian” into her phone, it quickly autocorrects to “Asian”.

To all of you seniors out there, about to graduate in a few weeks and to all your underclassmen that will soon be on the path of searching for jobs — learn your basic spelling and grammar rules. If you’re sending an email or cover letter to a future employer and you use “too” instead of “to,” I can guarantee that the majority of hiring teams will write you off then and there (no, not their).

It’s fine to use either of these tools provided to us, but it’s not fine to rely on them as always being entirely accurate. It’s not fine to be twenty-somethings and have the grammar competency of a sixth grader. Actually, I know some sixth graders that have higher skill levels than (not then) half my Facebook friends.

I don’t care if you’re posting a Facebook status, tweeting, sending a simple quick text, or writing an email to a friend — your grammar and spelling matters. Somebody will notice, and somebody will judge you — harshly. Learn how to spell “receive” without typing in “recieve” each time because you know your spellcheck will correct it — it’s simply a bad habit.


If your grammar sucks, I can guarantee you your resume sucks and you probably won’t get that dream job you are “dieing” for.

Kyle Wiens, the CEO of the online world’s largest repair community, iFixit, stated that he is a stickler when it comes to grammar, and has a zero tolerance policy on the subject. He stated, “Everyone who applies for a position at either of my companies, iFixit or Dozuki, takes a mandatory grammar test. If job hopefuls can’t distinguish between ‘to’ and ‘too,’ their applications go into the bin.”

He goes on to discuss that grammar isn’t unimportant – it gives people credibility online. He states that his rule is fair, because “If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use “it’s,” then that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with,” and “sloppy is as sloppy does.”

Grow up, download a grammar app or Google any rules you don’t understand. Turn off auto-correct for a week and test yourself. This is a skillset that will help you in any job area, on any essay, in any aspect of life. This isn’t something you should simply learn and forget — grammar isn’t going anywhere.

I don’t care what your major is or what your age is, your spelling and grammar count.

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    theungrmmarnaziAug 23, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Oh my freaking god there are so many things wrong with this; beginning with but not limitedto, what is giving us the spelling of 6th graders is grammar checkers, MS word or otherwise, that force us to type sentences like this:

    The dog ran; the dog ran across the street, because, that is all the
    sophistication it can handle. Or calls this a fragment, “Being black in
    America feels like having nothing;” that was from a celebrated cultural
    blogger, by the way. Grammarly, popular grammar checking software even checks for wordiness; wordiness really, wordiness you might want in a thesis not in a Facebook page. So if you are looking foreven a simple once over of something you have written, you are completely out of luck; if our bosses only understand sophistication on that level?

    Which brings me to another point, you are confusing formal and informal typesof communication; you and the boss person quoted are also leaving behind the idea, the reason the person typed to instead of too is because they type badly,not because they don’t know the difference. If it isn’t a page you are using to gain employment, it isn’t your professional page at work, who cares and who should?

    I can almost also guarantee that person quoted doesn’t see text speak and
    internet slang as the independent, separate languages they are, or, that
    perhaps spelling receive reseeve would solve so many more problems than
    remembering that equally ridiculous saying I before e except after c except
    when sounding like a in neighbor and weigh. A personal favorite of mine when dealing with grammar Nazis like you proclaim yourself to be, segue vs. the guy who built the mobility apparatus who trademarked Segway. Says something about all this doesn’t it, and no, not how stupid or lazy we have become, incompetent or apathetic. Rather is gives a window into what the language should look like, instead of what it does look like; the reason people who actually confuse too, to, their, there, they’re and it’s and its is because it
    never made sense in the first place. That goes for 60-70 year olds right down
    to 6 and 7 year olds; nonnative speakers are the first to tell you how hard English is to learn. Further how many times has MS word confused it’s and its; when you clearly want it’s and it tells you to use the other one, substitute it is andyou good to go? This indicates the failure of a product to function not the person using it becoming complacent.

    Never mind the grammar rules that aren’t really rules or are outright mistakes in and of themselves;not ending a sentence with a preposition was a trend started by one John Dryden criticizing Shakespeare, punned by Winston Churchill, not an actual rule of grammar. Dido with beginning a sentence with a preposition, usually done with acomma directly after; a practice discouraged by English teachers all, not that it was needed to comply with grammar rules. Have you researched the origins of the apostrophe S to indicated possession; that particular headache was started
    either by a top grammarian that thought it meant something else entirely or the English (as in the country of England) habit of writhing things as follows:
    John his hat instead of Johns hat, meaning the hat belonging to John, on Johns head and so forth, depending on which version you read. All of it leaving everyone confused.

    • B

      Berard McLaughlinDec 22, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Thank you Lauren for a great post and thank you theungrmmarnazi for comprehensively illustrating her point.