Who needs dictionaries when we have Google | Local News
Spell checking and the ability to Google the correct spelling of words is a double edged sword.
I write for a living, but there are always words that trip me up: welcome, occasional, entrepreneur. Highlighting my spelling mistakes is a handy tool to make me seem more competent than I am. (With a keen-eyed short story editor who knows all that grammar stuff and corrects my disagreements about misplaced pronouns and modifiers.)
The problem with spell checkers is that they don’t tell you if you’re using the wrong form of a word, like typing “there” when you meant “their”.
I have a chronic problem of occasionally typing “form” rather than “from”. Every time I complete a story, I automatically do a word search for “shape” just to double check.
But all the computer’s automatic help means people don’t really need to learn spelling or grammar, or enjoy the uncanny pleasure of flipping through a large Merriam-Webster dictionary to look up words.
Google Trends just released its annual infographic that highlights the top spelling searches in each state, looking specifically at searches beginning with “How do you spell…”
The infographic comes out around the time of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where smart kids this year spelled out words like “escharotic,” “hebdomadal,” and “gegenschein.”
It turns out that the words normal people have trouble spelling are much more mundane.
The most searched spelling in Minnesota this year has been “paparazzi”. I do not know why. Minnesotans aren’t often hounded by aggressive freelance photographers trying to snap pictures of us exiting the Pizza Ranch or digging ice-fishing holes.
But there is a popular multi-level marketing company that hosts jewelry parties called “Paparazzi Accessories,” which may explain the popularity of the word this year.
Last year, Minnesotans most often needed to search for “celebrate.”
Minnesota sports fans will be pleased to learn that Wisconsin residents have most often searched for “lose” this year.
North Dakotans can show their lack of confidence in what their state has to offer. They most often searched for the word “sorry”.
Indiana residents, on the other hand, are apparently quite proud of themselves and their state. Their search word was “awesome”.
People in South Dakota searched for the spelling of “beautifully”, while people in Nebraska searched for “beautiful”.
The people of Iowa, meanwhile, kept it in the family with their spelling search for “cousin.”
West Virginians welcome questions about their education system. The top search word in West Virginia was “West Virginia.”
Hawaii had trouble with the spelling of one of its islands, but that’s understandable because “Kauai” is a “k” followed by four vowels.
Ohio’s search word was “chorus,” while Kentucky’s searched for “again.”
Looking at the list of 50 searched word states, you must be wondering if spell checker and Google have irretrievably dumbed us down.
Tim Krohn can be reached at [email protected] or 507-720-1300.