Word Fails Me #1: This document is smoking

This is an entry in a series of posts I’m calling Word Fails Me, in which I highlight the strange ideas that Microsoft Word has about English grammar. Each post will be a screenshot with little or no comment. The intention of this series is to amuse you and make you wonder where Word is getting its ideas. I’m not trying to be condescending to Word’s grammar checker or the people behind it. Word is a fascinating program and the grammar checker can be a lifesaver, even if it leans prescriptivist sometimes. If I come across interesting research into MS Word’s grammar checker, I’ll share it here. You can find all of the entries under the Word Fails Me tag. Enjoy!

Welcome to Word Fails Me! Let’s start with an example from Microsoft’s own web site about their grammar checker. As you can see, Word thinks the following sentences are A-OK:

  1. The document is sorting that we must review.
  2. The document is smoking that we must review.

document_is_smoking_that_we_must_review

To be fair, I think you should definitely review a document if it is smoking.

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Author: Joe McVeigh

I'm a linguist who researches email marketing. I also teach at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. I write about language and linguistics on my blog, ...And Read All Over, and I write about language and marketing on my other blog, Email and Linguistics.

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