I spend a lot of my time in the Google World and it is generally a warm and helpful place to exist online.  Lately, I’ve discovered Google Docs has a big issue with the way I spell things.  Google Docs Spell Check appears to now hate any sort of “hyphenation” and my olde timey Germanic-skool way of tending to spell some compound words as one — but with capitalization in the middle of the word, like say, “HandShape” or “FingerSpelling.”

Here’s the blurp from the Google Docs website explaining the intention of their Spell Check:

You can use Google Docs spell check — enabled by default — to find misspelled words and see suggested spellings. Words with spelling suggestions are automatically underlined in red. Simply right-click an underlined word to see the suggested correction and replace the misspelled word.

Google Docs uses contextual spelling suggestions (currently available for English only) to try to figure out which words you meant to type based on the content in your document. Sometimes we’ll even make suggestions for valid dictionary words if we think it’s much more likely that you meant to use a different word.

Here are some of the words that Google Spell Check insists I change.  Google wants “anti-viral” to become “antiviral” and “curve ball” to be “curveball” and “FingerSpelling” to become “fingerspelling” and that’s all just in one writing session!

In my brief history with Google Spell Check, I can absolutely confirm if you hyphenate any two words, Google will want you to make it a single word.  I’m not sure if I like that sort of overlord dictation from my ubiquitous Spell Checker, but I admit I usually just let Google make the wanted changes because they must have some sort of insider notion about what is common practice and, as you surely know by now, it never makes any sense to try to fight The Goog.  Oh, and in Spell Checking this article in Google Docs, Google wants to change “Goog” to “Good.”  Let it be known!

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at Boles.com | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.

6 Comments

  1. I wonder why Google doesn’t have a sort of blanket “hyphenation is cool with me” rule that you can enable.

    In the world of spell checking, Apple must be the worst. They can always tell you when they think something is spelled incorrectly on your iPhone and can force an autocorrection if you’re not fast on the draw but there is no way to “add to dictionary” the way that, you know, every single other spell check can do.

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    1. There might be some setting I could enable that would tell Google to keep its hands off my hyphens and em dashes!

      I agree, Apple is horrible, but the Google Search AutoCorrect has an entire website dedicated to its damnation:

      http://www.damnyouautocorrect.com/10513/damn-you-google-autocorrect/

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  2. I like the spelling help from Google. It doesn’t like it when I gloss ASL sentences for class, but I just tell it to be quiet and it does.

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    1. I wish we had a quick toggle to turn the help on and off. That would be an easier way to work.

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  3. Automatic anything bothers me. I want to decide the level of help I want. Should be on or off. Slider, please.

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    1. The slider approach is a novel notion, Anne! I like it!

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