Autocorrect’s (lack of) logic

RyanJust yesterday I was organising a study session over Facebook with a friend. We both have to write a script, and I was feigning enthusiasm, so I typed ‘Do you want to meet up tomorrow to write scriiiiiiiipts?’ and hit enter. When I looked back at what I’d written, though, my sentence read:

Do you want tome up tomorrow to write scrimpiest?

… What?

Tome up, men! For tomorrow, we write the epic tale of 'Scrimpiest'!
“Tome up, men! For tomorrow, we write the epic tale of ‘Scrimpiest’!”

Scrimpiest? Seriously? What does that word even mean? And how on earth does that sentence make more sense than what I had written?

You see, this is where autocorrect’s logic totally escapes me. How do you take ten ‘i’s followed by p-t-s and decide that I obviously meant to push i-m-p-i-e-s-t? It seems to me as though autocorrect thinks it knows way better than us, but it’s not actually very good at…anything. Except taking a bunch of random letters and turning it into an almost-word. I’m kind of tempted to just start mashing the ‘g’ key and see what word it decides I possibly meant to type.

I see you're pushing 'g' repeatedly. Given that no human could ever intentionally repeatedly hit a key, I'm going to go ahead and assume you meant 'gigarificus'.
“I see you’re pushing ‘g’ repeatedly. Given that no human could ever intentionally repeatedly hit a key, I’m going to go ahead and assume you meant ‘gigarificus’.”
"That's not even a word."
“That’s not even a word.”


"Why would you flip the table when you're the computer? This sketch doens't make any sense at—"
“Wait. Why would you flip the table when you’re the computer? This sketch doesn’t make any sense at—”

And of course, this issue is just as present in assignments, especially when you’re studying something with its own terminology. Suddenly, your essay on paleomagnetism becomes a detailed thesis about ‘pale imagination’. Or the dreaded American English dictionary decides half our ‘s’s are meant to be ‘z’s.

For me, it’s become so bad that, if autocorrect decides it has to have some input, it becomes nearly impossible to go with what I originally typed. I hit space. It changes the word. I hit backspace and press space again. It changes the word. I try retyping it. Nope. I close the dialogue box. Autocorrect assumes I must be mistaken. Instead of writing my assignment, I end up having some sort of linguistic sparring match with my computer.

That’s not to say that autocorrect isn’t without some benefits. When you’re quickly tapping out a text message, it can often be very helpful. But when you’re working away on your final assignments, it can be important to make sure you don’t become overly reliant on it. I mean, it doesn’t even recognise ‘autocorrect’ as a word, so if it can’t even recognise itself, I think it’s fair to say it’s not the sort of system we should place our complete faith in. As a result, it’s worth making sure you take the time to proofread your work. Or, if you want to be super confident, turn off the ‘auto’ feature of autocorrect, so that it offers suggestions but never changes a word without your permission.

So as helpful as it can be, just be wary of this dangerous feature keep using this brilliant little thing.

Okay, I didn’t type that. Autocorrect is changing what I say. I am a liar and should no longer be allowed to write things.

What is it doing?! Autocorrect is my favourite.

Okay, I don’t understand how this is happening. Just ignore everything I said and use autocorrect all the time. It is definitely not a sentient artificial intelligence intent on destroying humanity. Many fun!

Ryan Rayn  That is not how you spell my name!

5 thoughts on “Autocorrect’s (lack of) logic

  1. Great article and cartoon Ryan. If you don’t already know them, I think you would like the websites “Hyperbole and a half” and “The Oatmeal” – two of the very best examples on the web of your style of work. Keep it up!

    1. I have seen and love both of them, so I take that as the highest compliment. Thank you! We actually even have quite a few Oatmeal posters up around CLIPP 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *