How Word’s grammar check can let you down


Office for Mere Mortals
Your beginners guide to the secrets of Microsoft Office
Invalid email address
Tips and help for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook from Microsoft Office experts.  Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.  Office for Mere Mortals has been running for over 20 years, we've never, ever revealed or sold subscriber details.  Privacy policy

A funny example of how you can’t trust the spelling and grammar checks in Word.

We laughed at this sign, seen in a Tesco’s supermarket in the UK.

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/inconvenience%20-%20incontinence%20sign.jpg image from How Word

Thanks to @sparkigol for the image

Now, we don’t know that Microsoft Word was used to make this sign, but it’s a good bet. So we wondered how anyone could print out those sentences without noticing the red or blue squiggly lines?

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/inconvenience%20-%20incontinence%20sign%202.jpg.png image from How Word

Guess what – according to Word 2013 that entire document has no grammar mistakes at all! Even ‘incontinence’ doesn’t get a contextual spelling query. It’s the same in the US, UK and Aussie variants of the installed English proofing tools.

That’s surprising but a warning to all of us …

Do NOT trust Word’s spelling and grammar checking too much.

It’s surprising that the first sentence doesn’t trigger something in Word’s grammar check.  Surely ‘and is removed’ would be flagged?  We tried changing the capitals from ‘Chillers Break’ thinking that might be fooling the software a little – but no.


Incontinence vs Inconvenience

Word’s spelling suggestions are pretty good but one stray letter can mislead it. In this case we think a mistyped ‘t’ in the word inconvenience caused Word to suggest ‘incontinence’ as well. For example:

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/inconvenience%20-%20incontinence%20sign%203.jpg.png image from How Word

Quite aside from the grammar, the design is very poor but typical of what we’ve all seen.  But it’s a great excuse for a shameless plug of our ebook – Eye-Catching Signs with Word which has 50 great signs that you can open, change the text and print out in minutes.

It also shows you how to make some plain text (like the Tesco’s sign) be more effective changing this

Boring%20sign - How Word's grammar check can let you down

into this:

Boring%20sign%20now%20better - How Word's grammar check can let you down

And yes, that sign is included as a Word document in Eye-Catching Signs with Word .

subs profile e1563205311409 - How Word's grammar check can let you down
Latest news & secrets of Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office experts give you tips and help for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.  Office Watch has been running for over 20 years, we've never, ever revealed or sold subscriber details.  Privacy policy
Invalid email address