Spell-checkers have come a long way since a West Coast beach boy with an FBI record invented the first prototype at MIT in the 1960s. Nowadays, the überhelpful technology is not only ubiquitous in all word processors, quietly creating more error-free writing around the world, it also exists online, where it can point out mistakes in real time while we write emails or post on social media.
But while spell-checkers’ ability to catch slipups and understand context has evolved tremendously, most of these programs still struggle to identify homophones, those pesky words that sound the same but carry different meanings and, often, different spellings.
While Grammarly has algorithms that will help you correct all of these common mix-ups, there’s no substitute for the old noggin. So next time you’re writing, be sure to put on your thinking cap and look out for these homophones that most spell checkers won’t catch.