tech-userlevel archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Old Index]

Re: A new modern spell(1) Implementation

    Date:        Sun, 29 Jan 2017 01:47:18 +0530
    From:        Abhinav Upadhyay <>
    Message-ID:  <>

  | But a spell checker is no good if it tells you that you misspelled a
  | word but doesn't tell you the correct spelling.

With that I disagree.   Particularly if the aim is a replacement of
spell(1) rather than yet another {a,i,hun}spell type program.

One common usage of spell is

	spell input files >wordlist

and then edit wordlist to delete the actual misspellings, leaving in names,
acronyms, and similar, which aren't appropriate for a dictionary, but
which just annoy when reported as errors (and then:
	spell +wordlist input files
or ispell -p wordlist ... etc.)

Further, it should be possible to use spell in a Makefile, when generating
a doc, to have the process fail if the doc contains spelling errors.
Again, fixing things is not the objective.  Just discovering whether there
are errors.

And last on this point, generally, anyone with a half reasonable education
can usually see how a word should be spelled, when it is pointed out that
the way it is, is not correct (the hard part in proof reading is actually
spotting the errors, not in fixing them).   And when you really don't know,
we have dictionaries, and the ability to perform lookups.


ps: while I have no doubt that the algorithm that spell(1) uses could be
improved, and that it is certainly possible to set out, and succeed, in
fooling it with "words" like "birdlets" when you know how it works, in
practice, if the doc was prepared by someone who was actually attempting
to type and spell correctly, spell very rarely misses mistakes.

pps: personally I'd prefer using the OED, rather than that Webster nonsense,
but that's a different battle.

Home | Main Index | Thread Index | Old Index