Though we've narrowed it down to "10
things spell checkers won't catch," we should warn you
that there are hundreds of spelling and grammatical
errors that can go unnoticed by your computer's
spell-check program. That's why you will still need to
proofread your application the old fashioned way, by
eyeballing it. Enlist a friend to proofread it as well.
Read it out loud, read it backwards, and try to read it
like you've never seen it before. Rooting out typos and
other errors will be well worth your time and effort. If
you need any motivation to commit to a vigorous
proofreading effort, read on to learn about the errors
that can slip right through spell-check programs:
Homonyms (same-sounding words with different
meanings): Spell checkers won't alert you to change
'pare' to 'pair,' or 'there' instead of 'their.'
Incorrectly divided compound words: Spell
checkers won't tell you that 'bed room' should be spelled
'bedroom,' or that 'snow flake' should be 'snowflake.'
Incorrect pronouns: Spell checkers won't realize
that you typed in 'his' or – worse – 'its' when you
should have typed 'hers,' or 'she' when it should have
Usage errors: Spell checkers probably won't alert
you to typos involving 'its' and 'it's.'
Missing words: Spell checkers probably won't
catch the missing word in a phrase like, "I attended
University of Michigan…"
Wrong words: 'Martial' often gets typed in when
the writer means 'marital,' but your spell checker will
be oblivious to the error and other cases that involve
incorrectly used words.
Wrong dates: Spell checkers won't question a
statement like, "Graduating from college in 2024, I
Misspelled names: Of course you know that a spell
checker won't help you with the name of your favorite
English professor, the delightful Dr. Fitzenschreichter,
but it won't help you with Kira or Kyra either. Double
check those names yourself. The one you get wrong could
be the mother of the admissions officer reviewing your
Incorrect verb tenses: Past or present? In terms
of correct verb tenses, the spell checker doesn't care,
so you need to be the grammarian here.
Repetition: Spell checkers will alert you to
errors involving the same word twice in a row, but other
erroneous repetitions, like the same phrase or sentence
twice in a row, won't be detected.
Spell checkers are handy for screening small, common
errors, but running a spell check is only the first of
many steps it takes to produce a letter-perfect