I must kick the Autocorrect Habit

My apology goes to Art Alexakis, lead singer for Everclear. In a post last night observing his role as a tattoo artist in movie “Wild”, his name is misspelled. Funny thing, so to get it right, I copied and pasted from the web into the WordPress post editor. Yet somehow when published, and I missed, his name appeared as Alexis. My thanks goes to Scott Bell, who pointed out the error in Google+ comment.

It’s strange how tech meant to be beneficial gets in the way. More mistakes appear in my stories because of autocorrect than I make myself. The pattern is consistent: I will write, nix autocorrect’s misspelling, but later edit something else in the sentence. Word changes! As a long-time writer and editor, I revise constantly until publishing—and afterwards, too. The mistakes I most often miss typically are the ones made for me during spot edits. 

Autocorrect often baffles me. OS X autocorrects “Everclear” as “Evercleafr”. What the frak? I fixed that one three times while writing yesterday’s short “Wild” post. The “f” glares perhaps. But “Alexakis” to “Alexis” didn’t catch me eye. I once revised an ebook within an hour of publication because autocorrect changed Brad Pitt’s name; spelled properly when written. I edited something else in the sentence, which triggered the mis-correction.

By far, my most common autocorrect mishaps—and that I can’t fix later—are in texts and messages. Surely you have some familiarity with that problem. The catalog of mistakes made by people on mobiles could write a half-hour comedy series.

I find autocorrect to be beneficial on Android compared to iOS, which may have something to do with the greater control available—providing some choice on how aggressive it should be and, presumably, tapping into Google’s intelligent information services.

I’m done with autocorrect. Uh, I think. I also am lazier now, letting autocorrect fix words for me, which is good for my creative wordflow (that’s not a misspelling!). Gasp! What if I’ve become an autocorrect addict? It’s time to find out.

If you would like to kick the autocorrect habit:

  • On OS X, select Preferences, Keyboard, Text, and uncheck “correct spelling automatically”.
  • On IOS, select Settings, General, Keyboard, and swipe the “Auto-Correction” button left.
  • On Android, select Settings, Language & Input, Google Keyboard, and check “off” or modify autocorrect’s intensity.
  • On Windows 10, select Settings, Devices, Typing, and slide to off “autocorrect misspelled words”.

The problem now: I have no one to blame for spelling mistakes but myself.

Editor’s Note: A version of this story appears on BetaNews.