Check your spelling and grammar automatically in emails

How many times have you quickly typed in an email message and clicked the Send button only to realise too late that there was a typing slip in the message? Sometimes you don’t realise until you receive a reply and can see that there is a typo in the quoted text. Of course, it doesn't matter that much when chatting with your best friend, but you should not let errors creep into messages you use for work, job applications and similar purposes. Make sure you use Mail's spelling and grammar features.

When you create a new message in Mail, are typing slips, spelling mistakes and grammar errors highlighted? Right click in the body of the message or go to the Edit menu and the Spelling and Grammar submenu. There is a Check Spelling menu with While Typing, Before Sending, and Never. The best option to choose is While Typing. As you type, the spelling of each word is checked and it is underlined in red if it is not correct.

Mail in OS X

This enables you to go back and change it and it is a useful facility. However, an alternative to manually correcting mistakes is on the Spelling and Grammar menu - Correct Spelling Automatically. This automatically corrects typing slips and spelling errors and replaces the incorrect word with one that is spelt correctly.

Create an email in Mail

A limitation of this is that it does not replace the wrong word with the right word, it just replaces it with a correctly spelt one, which is not always the same. A problem that happens quite often on mobile phones, perhaps because they are less powerful than computers, when texting is that a mistyped or misspelt word is replaced with one that is completely inappropriate. Notice in the above image I wrote "is this rite or rong?", which was corrected to "is this rite or ring?" No, it should be "wrong" and Mail's spelling checker has made an incorrect replacement. It is spelt correctly though.

Notice that "rite" has not been corrected because  "rite" is a word in the dictionary. It does not matter that the sentence does not make sense because only spelling errors are corrected. You can still make a total mess of an email even with a spelling checker.

If you want to manually correct spelling errors, right click a red underlined word and select one of the suggestions.

Check your spelling

Another option on the Spelling and Grammar submenu is Check Grammar With Spelling. When this is enabled, more subtle problems with the text are highlighted in green. A simple example is not starting a sentence with a capital letter. Let the mouse hover over a green underlined word to see what the problem is.

Spelling and grammar in Mail in OS X

If you want to see something really weird, enter a spelling mistake in the subject box. Position the cursor in the text and press the Esc key.

Spelling in Mail

What on earth is going on here? What may be happening is that the spell checker has somehow become confused over what language is being used because it appears to be suggesting foreign words. That is very strange.




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