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The Spell Checker

The biggest decision you have to make is when you’d like Spell Catcher to point out your mistakes. Spell Catcher can check your spelling at different times, in various ways:

Tip: In fact, all of the above aren’t mutually exclusive, and there’s really no big decision to be made. It’s perfectly OK (in fact, quite common) to let Spell Catcher check spelling as you type—and also to check your spelling all at once just before you print or turn in your document.

What’s An Error?

Spell Catcher checks words and word pairs when looking for errors. Words are isolated from their surrounding text by word separator characters—generally defined as whitespace and line, paragraph or page breaks. Spell Catcher checks a words, and if it’s classified as an error, checks that word and the word following it (if there is one) together as a word pair. Spell Catcher only alerts you to the kind of errors you’ve told it to look for:

Spelling Errors

When a word isn’t in the Spell Catcher spelling files, it’s considered a spelling error. Usually, such a word is an actual misspelling or typo, such as potatoe or Amerca.

Other times, the word is what you intended to type, but simply is not in Spell Catcher’s spelling files, such as phat, twelvish, or your last name. (As you’ll see, it’s easy to add such words to the Spell Catcher word lists so that it won’t be considered an error the next time it’s encountered).

Capitalization Errors

If a word exists in a Spell Catcher word list as all lowercase, Spell Catcher considers the capitalized and uppercase varieties OK. If a word exists in a word list as strictly Capitalized, it’s OK if Spell Catcher finds it all uppercase, but it’s considered a capitalization error when all lowercase. If a word exists as all uppercase, then it’s a capitalization error if you type it all lowercase or strictly capitalized. For mixed-case words (MacBook), if the case doesn’t match exactly, that’s a spelling error. Same goes for checking a mixed-case word—these will always be spelling errors.

No Error  –  Spelling Error  –  Capitalization Error
In Word List lowercase Capitalized UPPERCASE Mixed Case
mycustomword mycustomword Mycustomword MYCUSTOMWORD MyCustomWord
Canada canada Canada CANADA CAnada
MacBook macbook Macbook MACBOOK MacBook

Missing Capital Errors

Spell Catcher also warns you when you fail to capitalize the first letter of a new sentence. (And what’s a new sentence? Anything you type following a period, question mark, or exclamation point—except when the period is part of a standard abbreviation, such as i.e. or Ph.D., or is not followed by a space or quotation mark).

Punctuation Errors

Spell Catcher also lets you know when you’ve typed certain combinations of punctuation symbols that don’t make sense, such as consecutive commas, colons, semicolons, or periods. (It’s smart enough to know that exactly three periods, which is an ellipsis... like this... is OK, but two, four, or more periods make Spell Catcher suspicious).

Repeated Word Errors

If the same word appears more than once in a row, are separated only by space characters, and match case exactly, you’ve got yourself a repeated word error. Best to fix these, so that you don’t send your doctoral thesis off to the publisher with sentences like “This is the the most important paper of of my career.”

You’re Always in Control

If you’d prefer that Spell Catcher keep its nose out of your punctuation, capitalization, and double words, you can turn off these forms of checking by choosing Preferences from the Input menu; in the Preferences window, click the Spelling icon, and select the Checking tab. From here, you can control Spell Catcher’s checking behavior. For more details, see Spelling Preferences.

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