Spell Checkers

Bev asked B.D.A. tech:

“Hi. I use the computer for work. I am very Dyslexic. Is there a computer program I can use for spell check? There are so many different spellings of ‘there’ etc., and I never know which one to use.”

1. M.S. Word.
2. Spell checkers for dyslexic users.
3. Multi-function programs.
4. Stand-alone spell checkers for dyslexia.
     Verity Spell. Ginger. Ghotit.
5. Research comparisons.
6. Handheld checkers.
7. Global AutoCorrect.
8. Spell checkers for browsers, tablets and smart phones.
9. B.D.A. tech references.
10. Examples of real words in wrong places.

The English spelling system is very irregular and many people find it hard (which surprises some dyslexic people, who think that everyone else can spell well). There are many free online spell checkers, so do try them. There is no single best spell-check for dyslexia. The choice depends on your situation and the facilities you want. You may prefer to use word prediction or speech recognition.

A basic spell checker identifies words not in its dictionary and offers suggestions. Grammar or context checkers also aim to identify correctly spelt words in the wrong places for meaning or for grammatical reasons, with reversed, added and omitted letters, and keyboard substitutions. See examples below. Programs sometimes flag too many possibly misplaced words or miss some. They also suggest punctuation.

Users must be able to identify the word they want from several suggestions, and to have the courage of their convictions to ignore suggestions if they disagree with them. There are often several possible correct answers. For example, ‘spell-check’, ‘spell check’ and ‘spellcheck’ are all accepted by most checkers, and Google finds 45 million, 43 million and 10 million responses for them.

Spell checking takes a long time, and is a tedious task!

1. M.S. Word

If you usually type near-misses, M.S. Word may be enough. It flags words that are not in its English UK or US dictionary, to which you can add names etc. It shows possible grammar errors, offers dictionaries for meanings, a thesaurus for synonyms and has AutoCorrect to amend some errors. Free WordTalk AddIn can speak the text and the spelling suggestions.

2. Spell checkers for dyslexic users.

Many spell checkers have been developed mainly for dyslexic users. They deal with phonic approximations better than Word does and have Text to Speech for text, words, meanings and suggestions.

3. Multi-function programs.

You would buy ClaroRead, Read & Write, Kurzweil 3000, Co:Writer, Textease, or WriteOnline for their whole range of features, not just for their spellchecks with homophones, word meanings and Text to Speech.

4. Stand-alone spell-checkers for dyslexia.

Verity Spell

Oribi Verity Spell can be used offline, unlike Ginger and Ghotit. It is an AddIn to Microsoft Word or Mac, and you can use it in any other application in which you can select text. Its Text to Speech uses whatever voices are in your computer. It shows confusable words in example sentences. See research information at Verity. Purchase from UK retailer Iansyst.

Oribi Verity Spell

Oribi Verity Spell


Ginger has spelling and grammar checking, with word meanings. Try a limited version free online. Purchase Standard and Premium download versions with more features. Internet connection is required for its operation in M.S. Word, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and PowerPoint, for Windows only.

Ginger Software

Ginger Software


Ghotit has free online spelling and grammar checking and purchasable downloads, with more features including with Text to Speech, for use in Windows, Mac and devices. Internet connection is required for operation.




5. Research comparisons.

In May 2012, CALL Scotland compared M.S. Word, ClaroRead, Read & Write, Verity Spell, Ginger and Ghotit. The last three scored the best on different aspects.

In 2010, E.A. Draffan and Abi James compared the same programs, with similar results. They also compared Word, IEspell, Google Spell, Verity Spell, Ginger and Ghotit. Again, the last three scored the best on different aspects.

In answer to an enquiry, we have found out that ClaroRead and WordTalk can speak Microsoft Word spelling suggestions. All spell-checkers show their own error window. ClaroRead, Read & Write Gold, SaySo, WordTalk, Verity Spell and premium versions of Ghotit and Ginger all speak their own suggestions.


6. Handheld spellcheckers.

iansyst has a range of hand-held, battery-operated Franklin spellcheckers. You have to enter the words for checking (no grammar or context checking). They flag confusables, show synonyms and some models speak. They are more convenient than computers in some situations.


7. Global AutoCorrect

LexAble Global AutoCorrect is not a spell checker. It compares your misspellings with its lists of thousands of spelling variations. They will be corrected automatically; you do not see any options. You can add consistent errors easily, and practise your own tricky words. Real voice recordings and a dictionary help your error entries. Free download for 30 days. Cost is £109.


8. Spell Checkers for browsers, tablets and phones.

Most browsers and devices have inbuilt spell checkers, and there are many free and purchasable Apps for spell checking.


9. B.D.A. tech references.

There is a summary of comments about spell checkers in B.D.A. tech Writing page. Some free checkers, mainly for non-word checking and the stand-alones mentioned here, are listed in B.D.A. tech Freeware page.


10. Examples of real words in wrong places.

  • Pat and Chris handed in there reports. (confusable, their)
  • We can won a lot of money. (grammar or adjacent letter, win)
  • John spots outside the door. (transposed letters,stops)
  • Did she loose her way? (Added letter, lose)
  • The dog cold not get up. (omitted letter, could)
  • He cane out. (adjacent letters on keyboard, came)
© B.D.A. New Technologies Committee. July 2015.
Copies of this page may be made providing it is unchanged and the source is acknowledged.

2 Responses to Spell Checkers

  1. Pingback: Ghotit for Mac | BDA Technology

  2. Robert says:

    There is a great blog below on importance of correct spelling
    in emails and letters – with emphases on dyslexia.
    It contains several excellent examples of the real-world “dyslexic” errors
    that could ruin your business:

    Kind regards,

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