Monday, June 23, 2014

Stupid Gmail Spell-Checker (A David'Z RantZ Grammar Nazi Post from 2/28/2009)

Although I am one of the world's champion spellers -- he said, modestly -- I always have my Gmail's spell-checker activated. This alerts me to typographical errors and... Okay, I admit it, even I have so-called trouble words, words I tend to screw up as a matter of course. (One example? "Embarrassed." Ever since I heard a character in the movie Echo Park -- he employed women who delivered Strip-o-Grams -- define it as "I'm bare-assed," I have this mental block which makes me want to spell it with a single "r.") Also, my computer keyboard doesn't always respond correctly to my striking of a double letter, so a word like "comment" might sneak by as "coment" if I don't correct it.

However, I may disable it just because it's becoming somewhat annoying lately.

Most of the time, of course, we're allowed to "train" it. If I'm told that "Jayne" or "Valleri" are incorrect spellings -- they're not, of course, I know women by both names, spelled exactly like that -- it's easy enough to "tell" the spell-checker to recognize the versions I want on a go-forward basis by clicking on "add to dictionary."

Sometimes it's totally useless. Let's say I actually couldn't spell a simple word, like... well... "word." Let's pretend I really think it ends with a "g," like so:


Gmail's spell-checker flags that one, of course, but these are the corrections it offers:

w org (Whatever the hell that means!)
Borg (Yeah, no s**t, "Borg." Now why in the world... Oh, wait. Computer programmers. Star Trek. Silly of me.)

Just for giggles, I typed something else, went back to "worg," and tried it again, with slightly different results!


You see my point, right? Neither time was I given the word I really needed.

(Ages ago, another annoying thing was that they hadn't programmed it to recognize contractions! Every time I typed in a word like "isn't" or "doesn't," the "isn" and the "doesn" are underlined in that palsied red eye-grabber that asks "Are you really sure about this one, dude?"

Yes, I was sure, thank you very much.)

Just for even more giggles -- yeah, I'm easily entertained today -- I typed in a few random letters: "rlrlt." (I actually get results like that when doing late-night typing in a room lit by only my computer monitor and an antique whale oil lamp. The other night, I typed what I thought was "Papillon," and got "{a[i;;on".)

In response to "rlrlt," I got "Charlton" and "Carlton," which I suppose was Gmail's way of saying, "Dude, we're as confused as you are on this one!"

But I digress.

If all that isn't enough, it picks stuff at random! Earlier today, I typed the word "something," and wouldn't you know it, there's that little red underscoring again. So I decided to check their suggestions of alternates, and it actually said, "no suggestions." Nice. They didn't have a specific objection to the word, but they just wanted to tick me off, apparently. Well, it worked.

At least it recognizes "Gmail" as a real word. If it didn't, that'd be more than a little embarrassing. But if you type "gmail" in error, it gives you the following choices:

g mail (Again, whatever the hell that means!)
gm ail (There's a weird one. "G.M. Ale" sounds like the auto company's branched out into the brewing of malt beverages.)

They okay another word that almost everyone on the planet screws up (in terms of upper and lower case), "eBay." But if you've mistakenly typed "Ebay," it won't include the correct replacement in its suggestions!

By the way, I love how we're supposed to pronounce "Gmail" as "gee-mail." Just to be a smartass -- yeah, me, who'da thunk it? -- I constantly pronounce "Kmart" as "k'mart" (like "come on" and "come here" are often abbreviated as "c'mon" and "c'mere."). And when those too dim to realize that I'm making a small joke correct me, I defensively reply, "Well, you pronounce S-M-A-R-T as 'smart,' don't you? You don't say, 'ess-mart!' "

[looking at notes] Okay, I'm done. Thanks f--


Nope, nothing funny to wrap this one up with.*

Hey, look, the title said "David'Z RantZ." It did not say "David'Z RantZ, Always Guaranteed to Leave You Laughing."

So, what, you want your money back?

That's what I thought.

Thanks for your time.

*Hm. Maybe, in a post devoted to correct spelling, I shouldn't break the archaic grammatical rule about having a preposition at the end of the sentence.

could say something awkward like "nothing funny up with which to wrap this one," but that owes too much to Winston Churchill.

Wait! I have it! A perfect way to re-structure my sentence to avoid the offensive prepositional ending:

"Nope, nothing funny to wrap this one up with... dammit."

What do you think? More better?


  1. I mess embarrassed up, as well! That is a tricky one. It seems like it should have just one r.

    1. Agreed. Another persistent stumper for me is "exaggerate."

  2. Much more better. Indeed. That red squiggle makes me insane on a daily basis. At least you recognize when words are truly misspelled. I do believe there are people out there who think the red squiggle means, "Cool! Check this word out and share it with your friends!"

    I also say K'mart. But of course you and I would think alike. I don't know why, really, but it seems to make sense. (Just go with it; I'm on your side here.)

    1. Oh, good. I can always use people on my side.

  3. There are a few I mess up here and there. but once i learn I don't usually mess them up. Stupid spell check can come in handy but its suggestions usually aren't dandy.

  4. Sometimes spelling tricks work. Like "separate." It's easy to spell -- avoiding "seperate" -- if you remember that there's "a rat" in the center of the word.

  5. ah a worg is one that can share minds with and control an animal...just for your information...with all the slang that has been put into the dictionary these days you may be better off spell checking yourself...

    1. Very interesting. Surprised Gmail flags that one at all, then, if it's a real word.

  6. Replies
    1. I may end every sentence with that word... dammit.

  7. Yes. My very favorite example of ending a sentence with a preposition was the story of the little boy who called down the stairs at bedtime,"Dad, please bring up the Tigger book, not the Eeyore one."

    Dad arrived with both books in hand, and the little fellow inquired, "What did you bring the book I didn't want to be read to out of up for?"


    1. Great story. Thanks for sharing it. I never heard that one before.


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