Only Word Check uses the preferred Australian English spelling. Other sites use American or British English. Check your spelling using Australian English spelling.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Word Check hints and tips

This blog entry aims to provide a collection of hints and tips for using Word Check. Word Check is an online service which enables you to check if you are using the preferred Australian English spelling of a word. Word Check is based on the Kelvin version of the Australian English spellcheck dictionary (also known as Kelvin's dictionary).

Kelvin's dictionary aims to:
  • Include only the preferred spelling of Australian words. Where there are two or three ways to spell the same word, only the preferred spelling is included.
  • In general, American spelt words are not included. For example mom is not included, as mum is the preferred spelling in Australia. The word ranch however is included, as it is not considered a non-preferred spelling variation of an Australian English word.
  • Archaic and obsolete words are not included.
  • Many words which should have a space, such as "ice cream", are included.
  • Many words which should have a hyphen are included.
Word Check is still evolving and many hundreds of hours of work on the Kelvin dictionary are still required before it reaches the general release stage. Word Check has been released early, as even now, it is providing a very useful tool for Australians and those wishing to write for an Australian audience.

Word Check is not a spellchecker. It should be kept in mind most spellchecking programs and word processing programs, are not as accurate as Word Check. They introduce errors in their implementation. For example, enter the word non-non in most writing programs, and you will find non-non is a correctly spelt word, which is obviously not correct. Word Check only contains correctly spelt words (subject of course to our own errors and omissions). By limiting Word Check to a single word, words which contain spaces or hyphens are included in the Kelvin dictionary and are now correctly handled. In a program performing spellchecking, hyphenated words and words with spaces (such as deja vu, which allows typing vu as a word) are often mishandled.

Please feel free to suggest words, or to challenge existing words (in a nice way of course). The Kelvin dictionary is a growing and evolving resource. As I find evidence of word usage change in Australia backed by an authoritative reference, the Kelvin dictionary will be updated.

Word Check can easily be added to your browser as a search engine, so you can use the search field in your browser to check a word. In Opera and Internet Explorer it is fairly easy to add Word Check so you can highlight a word on a web page, check the word and then check the meaning of the word.

I accept Word Check is not yet comprehensive enough to be live and I apologise in advance for any inconvenience. If you feel a word should be spelt in a certain way and it is not being found, the word may not have yet reached the dictionary.
Please enjoy the fruits of my labour.

- Kelvin Eldridge

  • Word Check does not offer a list of suggested words.
  • Word Check in many instances is more accurate than a spellchecker as it allows you to check against the list of actual words, which can include spaces, hyphens, periods and apostrophes.
  • Word Check doesn't allow you to create words using prefixes and suffixes which may not be actual usage. For example typing non-non as a word is often valid when using a spellchecker, as the word non has been included in the spellchecker, as have many other partial words. This does mean many more correct variations need to be identified and entered into the Kelvin dictionary.
  • Word Check is case sensitive. Enter the word as you would write it. For example Anzac can also be ANZAC, but it is never anzac. Type in Australia and not australia. If you type in australia without the first letter being capitalised, the result will be Not Found.
  • In general enter words in lower case and with the letters correctly capitalised. For example enter Melbourne and not melbourne. Entering melbourne will result in the message Not Found.
  • If you enter a word in all capitals, as would be used in a heading, the word will be compared with the words in the dictionary converted to capitals. You should avoid entering words in capitals so you can determine the correct capitalisation. You shouldn't assume that if you now use the word which was in capitals in lower case it will be correct. For example AUSTRALIA will be found, but australia will not be found.
  • There is quite a bit of confusion as to whether some words should be a single word, a hyphenated word, or contain a space between two or more words. Word Check aims to provide the correct variation. Try all three variations to determine the correct spelling. For example "ice cream" is the preferred spelling, but to determine which is the preferred spelling, you may wish to try "icecream" and "ice-cream". This is not an easy area, since in many instances, the two or more words will only be in the dictionary as separate entries that you can test separately.
  • You may wish to check the meaning of a word. Many words which are very similar, only differ by one letter, yet mean very different things, such as meter and metre, or confirmation and conformation.
  • Word Check aims to provide the correct spelling variations for a word, including possessives and plurals. These are not readily available in other dictionaries and can often be the hardest to determine as being correct. For example Word Check includes: dog, dogs, dog's and dogs'.
NOTE: 11 June 2013

Obtain the password

A password is required to use Word Check and is provided to everyone who purchases one of the dictionary files.

If you haven't purchased a dictionary file I've also created a Search Australia search engine. If you take the time to check out Search Australia, as a thank you, you can access Word Check and the password will be set for you.

In Search Australia enter the letter w by itself, click on search and you'll go to Word Check with the password set. Then you can enter the word you wish to check. You can also enter w, then a space and then the word and save the extra step. Remember this needs to be done on the first screen of Search Australia which can be found at

Thank you for checking out Search Australia.

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