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Is Autocorrect out of Control?

Even for celeb tweeters, the struggle is real

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Autocorrect errors can wreak havoc on digital exchanges and leave text recipients bewildered.

It’s not all that often that you read something tweeted by a reality TV star and find yourself nodding vigorously in agreement. But that’s what happened to millions of people a few weeks back when a certain social media celebrity took to Twitter to voice her frustrations with the whims of the autocorrect feature. More specifically, the celebrity issued a fervent plea for all social media and text messaging services to offer an edit function so autocorrect-inflicted errors, from embarrassing misspellings to confusing typos, could be fixed without deleting and reposting a message.

Currently, Facebook does give its users the power to edit their posts, but Twitter doesn’t. And Apple’s Messages service doesn’t either, though there are rumors that it's developing a new tool to combat autocorrect errors. Right now, autocorrect can be a problem for celebrities and non-celebs alike, an in-theory useful tool that, seemingly more often than not, mucks up its job and leads to unnecessary confusion. Its incompetence is legendarily documented at the website, a popular repository for flummoxed texters who take a screenshot of their autocorrect mistakes and post for all eternity.

So, in support of this important campaign, we offer nine commonly autocorrected words that drive us, well, ducking nuts:

  • “dear” autocorrects to “dead” — A Dear John letter is never welcome, but we could all agree that it’s preferable to a Dead John letter. Its morbid corollary is the for/die switcheroo, which happens when autocorrect — all too frequently — inexplicably suggests that “for” should be “die.”
  • “honey” to “hiney” — The most bizarre autocorrect fails are the most inexplicable ones, like this one, which changes “honey” into something that isn’t even a word. Example: “If you’re still at the store, can you grab some hiney?”
  • “my” to “me” — This one makes you sound like a wee Leprechaun. Example:    “Thanks for coming to me party.”
  • “of” to “if” — This may be the single most common autocorrect mistake. It’s harmless, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.
  • “in” to “I’m” — Generally, autocorrect struggles with contractions. The effect is less confusion and more embarrassment that someone might question your handle on basic grammar. But confusion is certainly possible, too.
  • "np” to “no” — Speaking of confusion, since “np” is text shorthand for “no problem,” autocorrecting to a flat “no” usually transmits the exact opposite message from the one the sender is attempting to convey.
  • “this” to “thus” — Usually, this is so clearly an autocorrect mistake that it doesn’t even cause confusion. It simply makes sender and recipient shake their heads and curse the limitations of the technology.
  • “were” to “we’re” — Again, autocorrect is eager to help with contractions, even when no help is needed.
  •  The ALL CAPS autocorrect — Because autocorrect will, over time, make corrections based on words you’ve typed before, if you ever decide to type a word in all capital letters, it will then default to an all-caps version each time you type it. So be prepared for people to think you REALLY have something important to tell them.

Clearly, something needs to be done. Autocorrect is wreaking havoc on everyday email exchanges and leaving confused texters staring quizzically at their screens. Until that edit function appears, the only option is to disable your phone’s autocorrect feature. It’s easy enough to do: On an iPhone, go to settings>general>keyboard>autocorrect.

If course, we’re we to do thus, wed REALLY have only ourselves to blame die all those typos.

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