How to be a perfect speller

To be a perfect speller, follow these two rules:

  1. Be careful and double check — Don’t be complacent. If you have even the inkling of doubt that what you’ve just typed or wrote is wrong, don’t risk it. Find out.
  2. Use a search engine — In general it’s faster than using an online dictionary. Most browsers will have a search box linked to your favourite search engine built right into them. Also, it’ll help you see alternative spellings of the word, in context, almost instantly through the description portion of each search result.

Using a search engine to check for spellings

Type the word the way you think it’s spelt into a search engine search box. Then review the results.

screenshot of Google spell check
Google showing you the suggested spelling
screenshot of Bing spell check
Bing showing you the suggested spelling

If you see an alternative spelling suggested for you, chances are you spelt it wrong.

Another great reason to use a search engine to do a spell check is that you can see which variant of a word or phrase is more common.

For example, do more people use “as compared to” (1.1 billion results via Google) or “as compared with” (1.3 billion results via Google)? And when is it appropriate to use each of them?

Don’t forget, unlike online dictionaries, you can even spell check names or proper nouns (e.g. Donn Lee). This is especially useful if you’ve only ever heard a name being said but not seen how it’s spelled. Though not foolproof, it’s a pretty good guide.

And that, my friends, is how you be a perfect speller.



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