Why Spell Check Doesn’t Work

Angela Megasko of www.MarketViewpoint.com discusses why you can't only reply on spell check.There you are, late at night, trying to input your mystery shopping report and complete it so it is submitted on time. Fingers are flashing across the keyboard and you are “proofreading” as you go.

You give the report one more look, click the spellcheck button – no errors – and you hit “Submit.”

The next day the reviewer tells you that you had a number of misspelled or misused words, so your rating is lower than you would have expected. What?!

Did you know our brains have the ability to read a word the way we think it should be read based on the context of the words around it?

Listed below are some of the types of errors we see in mystery shopping reports. Each of them is only off by one letter, but their meanings are quite different!

Fright vs. Freight

fright – a sudden intense feeling of fear; an experience that causes someone to feel fear suddenly

freight – goods transported (or to transport goods) in bulk by truck, train, ship or aircraft

Incorrect Usage: Horror movies give me a freight!
Correct Usage: Horror movies give me a fright!

Incorrect Usage: That ship carries fright rather than passengers.
Correct Usage: That ship carries freight rather than passengers.

Bought vs. Brought

bought – obtain in exchange for payment; to purchase

brought – to come to a place with (someone or something); to cause (someone or something) to come to a place

Incorrect Usage: I brought a new phone with my last paycheck.
Correct Usage: I bought a new phone with my last paycheck.

Incorrect Usage: I bought my friend Jackie to the party.
Correct Usage: I brought my friend Jackie to the party.

Versus vs. Verses

versus – against; as opposed to; in contrast to

verses – plural form of verse; writing arranged with a rhythm; a group of lines that form a unit of a poem or song, a stanza

Incorrect Usage: In a hypothetical fight of a gorilla verses a shark, I’d put money on the gorilla.
Correct Usage: In a hypothetical fight of a gorilla versus a shark, I’d put money on the gorilla.

Incorrect Usage: The poem’s versus didn’t contain a rhyming scheme.
Correct Usage: The poem’s verses didn’t contain a rhyming scheme.

Adapt vs. Adopt

adapt – to make something suitable for a new use or purpose; to modify; to adjust to new conditions; to alter

adopt – to legally take a child (or pet) and raise it as one’s own; to take up an idea or method; to take on or assume

Incorrect Usage: The institution must change and therefore adopt to new conditions.
Correct Usage: The institution must change and therefore adapt to new conditions.

Incorrect Usage: “Adapt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Correct Usage: “Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spell check would think these words are just fine! But the mystery shopping company and the client would not. Simple errors like these work against all the hard work you do to observe and write up your reports.

Take that extra moment to actually read your comments out loud to catch any of these errors. We will appreciate it, and so will you when you get a better mystery shopper rating!

What are some other words you see frequently confused?

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About Market Viewpoint

Market Viewpoint offers comprehensive mystery shopping services, complete customer service audits, employee and customer surveys, customer focused marketing strategies, and customer service training to help you improve your customer service and outshine your competition.
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2 Responses to Why Spell Check Doesn’t Work

  1. David Mayo says:

    Talk about typos. I get flashbacks every time I hear the word “typo”.

    When I was a manager of an accounts receivable department/ customer service department at a now defunked newspaper. I received a phone call from an outraged customer. His name was Mr. Whitehead.

    This was back in the pre computer days when you put a form letter in a typewriter and fill in the blanks. A typing pool filled with bored typists repeated the same “fill in the blanks” form letters for hours on end.

    Be careful when wiriting to Mr. Whitehead. The W and the S are on the same finger..

    Mr Whitehead was slightly overdue with a payment for a classified ad. He sent us a copy of the letter but I lost it over the years since. The letter read; Dear Mr (think how Mr Whitehead would appear if you did a typo and hit the wrong key.

    Mr Whitehead roared on the phone, “What do you mean calling me a S- – -head!”

    I had to put him on mute several times. People in the office were watching me laugh and they had no clue how funny it was. Tears were comming down my face.They thought I lost my mind.

    I put the call on speaker phone. I told typing pool to listen to this guy rant on. I wanted typing pool to understand the importance of checking their work. I finally stopped laughing and carefully apologized to Mr Whitehead.

    • David! Thanks for the good laugh! I hope your story hits home with people who don’t double check their work. You never know what you typed until you read it! Thank you for sharing!

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