Keyboard Autocorrect Software – Does in Autocorrect Generation Grammar Matter?

Autocorrect Software Is Evolving

a new generationAutoCorrect is a function used in word processing software and text editing interfaces for smartphones and tablets. Depending on the particular program it serves as a spell checker as well as a grammar checker to save time for the user. [1]. Autocorrect grammar software isn’t something that is new. It has existed in one form or another almost as long as the personal computer. However it has changed greatly since its early days, especially with the rise of the smartphone. Autocorrect software makes predictions based on the probability that the word suggested is the one most likely needed using a dictionary and grammatical algorithms.

Autocorrect programs now found on smartphones will often make changes without waiting for permission using alternative words that change the intended meaning and range from amusing to insulting. [2]. One of the reasons for this is that because of the small keyboard size of smartphones, autocorrect will make suggestions for alternative words based on the proximity of letters to other letters. This produces more possible alternative words which greatly increases the chance for errors.

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A New Generation of Keyboard Autocorrect

keyboard autocorrectAutocorrect programs are all changing but none so fast as those for smartphones. The number of smartphone users is increasing and they have now become the preferred method of accessing the internet. Users aren’t limited to only one or two options. You can now change the keypad your device uses to one that suites your particular uses and habits. Virtually keyboard alternatives are easily downloaded. The keyboard you choose can be based on those features you feel are most important. Variations in keyboard size, speed, preferred method of typing (swipe or tap), autocorrect that can be personalized to a specific industry or an individual, and that can be adjusted for aggressiveness are just a few of the many different features available. Not only do some of these keyboards auto complete a word for you; they will also predict what your next word will be before you start to type it. [3]

Pros and Cons of Software That Autocorrects

There are plenty of users who are delighted with the changes in autocorrect programs. However it is fair to say not everybody is thrilled with the impact those changes are having. Here are some of the disadvantages of autocorrect programs:

  • Concern that grammar and spelling skills are declining: Does learning grammar matter anymore or will the world become a place where everybody depends on auto correct? A survey conducted in the U.K. showed that spelling skills are declining which gives rise to the question “will autocorrect technology affect writing skills? [4].
  • Increase in the number of autocorrect mistakes: Rather than reducing errors in grammar and spelling, autocorrect has made messages sent from mobile devices more embarrassing. [5]

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These are probably the two biggest concerns with autocorrect. There are positives as well including:

  • grammar matterAutocorrect will end up a valuable learning tool: In the opposite camp from those who believe autocorrect is causing a decline in writing skills are those who believe that eventually such technology will be an important addition to the classroom. The view is that it isn’t inevitable that writing skills decline. Autocorrect is a tool that students need to be taught to use correctly as with any other. [6].
  • Helps you type faster: Use text expansion function to expand a few letters into a whole sentence
  • Save time: Not only does it let you type faster, autocorrect means less time proofreading afterwards. Although it isn’t perfect, every mistake it catches means one less for you to hunt down

There is little doubt that autocorrect programs can speed things up and cut down on errors as well as time spent proofreading. Concerns about a decline in spelling and grammar skills are valid but not a foregone conclusion. Teaching students how and when to use keyboard autocorrect will go a long way towards eliminating the need for concern.