“But I used spell check, it must be correct”! Oh, if I had a penny for every time I have heard someone say this. Spell checkers aren’t foolproof and here’s why. They are designed to pick up sequences of letters that don’t form a word; for example, if you type in “bdgdget” the spell checker picks that up because it doesn’t correlate with any word in the English language. However, if you type in “my pear of pants,” the spell checker won’t pick up the wrong use of the word pear/pair.
No matter how careful you are with spell check, there is no substitute for proofreading your work twice over and having someone else proof it for you. It is impossible for a spell checker to identify when you mistakenly used a correctly spelt word, like “infection” instead of “affection.” In this respect a good investment is a grammar checker.
Silly spelling mistakes will make you exactly that, silly. Never send an email, article or letter off without going through it with a fine toothcomb. While we encourage you to use the spell checker on this site, we also encourage you to analyze each word as you go, checking it is the correct form of the word you want. Perhaps the funniest mistake I have ever seen is someone type “penises” instead of “premises” in a presentation at a seminar. Mistakes like this happen because people first misspell a word, and then use the auto-correct function in MS Word to fix it, but choose the wrong correction. Now there’s a mistake worth checking your work for.