Get the audio version of this post about spelling checkers here
Newsflash: good spelling is still important, and bad spelling can cause more trouble for you than you might imagine.
Yes, even in email and on social media, especially when you’re writing to someone for the first time. Why? In text-based communication, your spelling and language are all people have to go on when they’re forming that all-important first impression. For example, imagine that you’re writing to introduce yourself to an online English teacher or potential speaking practice partner. If you use sloppy spelling, you’re gambling that they will look past your mistakes and still see the intelligent, charming person that you are. But the truth is that they might find your mistakes annoying and off-putting. In fact, there are many ways that bad spelling can cause bad things to happen to you in life.
Fortunately, there is some good news. Free online tools to check your spelling are available, and they make correcting your spelling piece of cake. In fact, it’s so easy to check your spelling online that it’s pretty hard to justify not doing it!
Let’s look at a couple of the free spelling tools available for two of the most popular browsers, Chrome and Firefox. These tools will help you check your spelling in everything you write online: email, social media posts and comments, even in online forms. Of course, no spelling checker can reliably fix all of your mistakes, but that’s still no reason not to use one. Fixing most of your spelling errors is better than not fixing any at all.
Here is a link to the free spelling checker extensions with 5-star ratings in the Google Chrome store. I am currently experimenting with the spelling and grammar checker from Grammarly.com, and really like it. I’m using the free version, but Grammarly also offers a paid premium version with extra functions. Like the name implies, Grammarly helps you find grammar errors too. It highlights grammar mistakes and suggests corrections which you can then accept or reject. It also offers explanations of the rule that it thinks you are breaking so you can learn from your mistakes.
Moving on to Firefox, I have to admit that I haven’t used that browser since I discovered how awesome and fast Chrome is a few years ago. But after a little research, I can see that the default spell checker that comes with Firefox is actually quite good. You can read more about what it can do and how you can use it here.
This is not an extensive list of spell checker tools, but I did that on purpose. I don’t want to overwhelm you with tons of options to the point that you experience decision fatigue and end up doing nothing at all!
Remember, fixing careless spelling mistakes with a spell checker can make a huge difference in how people perceive you in your online writing. It only takes a minute to do, and I promise you, many people will appreciate it.