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Posted on Thursday 4 February 2010 at 2:47 pm

Word is driving me NUTTY


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Dear Microsoft Word,

I love your spell check, grammar check, and auto correct functions. Truly, I do. You save me from looking completely stupid and correct all my minor typos. I appreciate the work you do, even though I'm smart enough to know that I can't rely on you 100% of the time. You are fantastic at catching when I didn’t type a real word, but you aren't so skilled in determining if I typed the right word. That's OK. We each know what we can and can't do and work together well.

Unfortunately, when I'm working on my dissertation you drive me insane! I know this isn't your fault. You are a twentieth-, now twenty-first-, century product and take for granted standard spelling and grammar rules. Unfortunately I am asking you to deal with quotes from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century documents. English (not to mention the other languages with which I deal) was not yet standardized at that point. When I type sentences such as, "The Justices off the Paice, and Capts off the militia in King's County came, and promised to doe all their endeavours to keep the people in quietnesse and defend the country against the comon ennemy and resolved to sett out a centry att Conny Island to keep a continuell watch to looke out at sea," I know you think there are about fifty errors there and want to correct them all, but please don't. Sometimes when you auto correct, you are "fixing" something that isn't actually broken and all your red and green squiggly lines are rather distracting. I know I could just turn off these features, but then I'd have typos and errors galore in my original text. I'd really love it if we could compromise here and have you be your usual efficient and helpful self when I'm typing my own words and just back off when I'm quoting from my sources. I know this is asking a lot of you and may not be possible, but please do let me know if you think we can make this work.

Thanks,
Rachael
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