by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 17, 2016)
When Margaretrose uses a contraction in her writing, Word adds a squiggly underline to the contracted word. When she right-clicks the word, Word indicates that the contraction should be spelled out instead of contracted. Margaretrose wonders how she can correct this so that her contractions—which she prefers—are not flagged as incorrect.
There are, in general, two types of checking that Word does as you are typing your document—spelling and grammar. Sometimes it is easy to confuse the two types of checking, but they are distinct and different in Word. This is evidenced by the fact that you can turn off (or on) checking for both spelling and grammar independent of the other.
The checking that is producing the offending squiggly underlines in Margaretrose's case is grammar checking. The giveaway to this fact is that when she right-clicks the underlined word, she sees a suggestsion to spell out the word instead of using a contraction. This is a suggestion of the grammar checker, not a spelling checker. Many people suggested, in Margaretrose's case, to add the contracted word to the dictionary. However adding it to the dictionary won't help if the fault is with the grammar checker.
Truth be told, grammer checking in Word actually includes to checks: grammar and style. It is the style rules, in Margaretrose's case, that are causing the problem.
There are a few ways you can approach a problem such as Margaretrose's. The first approach is to turn off the grammar rule that deals with contractions, in this manner:
Figure 1. The Grammar Settings dialog box.
At this point, any contractions in your document should not be marked with a squiggly underline because Word is no longer applying the style rule you unselected in step 6. If you want Word to not apply any style rules (you probably noted there were a good number of them), all you need to do is turn off style checking. You do it by following these steps:
Figure 2. The proofing options for Word.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13468) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.
Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!
The grammar checking tool in Word can be helpful in developing a finished, polished document. You may want to share your ...Discover More
In my English classes in junior high, I would get marked down if I started sentences with a conjunction. ("There's a ...Discover More
If a word is normally supposed to be lowercase, Word helpfully lets you know if you incorrectly capitalize it. If you ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.