I Do Windows

It must be a slow Monday when I decide to scrutinize a Microsoft Word message window.

I’ve just noticed a subject-verb disagreement, or at least the appearance of one, in the window I’ve viewed more than any other in my lifetime of Word usage (see above). The window tells us that the spelling and grammar check is complete. While true that one check covers spelling and grammar, making it a singular action, a desperately bored reader (hello) would complain that spelling and grammar could be misconstrued as standing for two checks, rendering the singular check and is problematic. I see two possible fixes:

  1. The spellingandgrammar check is complete.
  2. The spelling and grammar checks are complete.

After careful consideration of not more than fifteen seconds, I’ve decided that the first fix is preferable. The hyphens link spelling and grammar into an unmistakably singular check. It’s also more accurate than number two, seeing as Word checks for spelling and grammar in the same function.

And, please, let’s set aside the silly counterargument that Microsoft users have seen this window trillions of times during the past couple decades and have likely never given this a first, not to say second, thought. If this post ends up preventing one user from thinking, Wait, did I just perform one or two checks just now? The possible subject-verb disagreement in this box makes it hard for me to remember!, then I’ll consider myself satisfied.

Messrs. Gates and Ballmer, kindly direct your thanks and remuneration to thewritingguide @ gmail dot com.

3 Responses to “I Do Windows”
  1. Dave Shulman says:

    I are notice most time them alertly dialog poppeth, said check hain’t actual found half entirely them different errørs what said done found did.

    Microsoft’s interface designers may well trump grammatical propriety in favor of maintaining hyphen-free alerts. Which is not good but is very Microsoft.


  2. Asdf says:

    I just had the same thought, but I also searched the web for other people who were troubled by the MS message. I suppose that reveals something important about my progress at work today. I’ll vote for the second option since the spelling and grammar checks are discrete tasks even though invoked by a single request.

  3. Lori Jablons says:

    I’d go with the first fix as well.

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