A spelling lesson for grown-ups? When I first started teaching copyediting, I was surprised to find that the class textbook, “The Copyeditor’s Handbook” by Amy Einsohn, had a chapter dedicated to spelling.
In the age of spell-checkers and online dictionaries, the idea seemed somehow quaint. Everything we could possibly want to know about how to spell is already at our fingertips. What more is there to say?
Plenty, as it turns out. For starters, as you probably know, you can’t trust spell-checker. How could your computer possibly know whether wine served at an event was complementary or complimentary? How could it know whether you want to recreate or re-create? Whether you want troubleshooting or troubles hooting? How can it know whether you’re saying the Johnsons are from a big family or whether they form a big family?