RSS

Monthly Archives: August 2016

Did you know Word can check for gender-specific language? Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016

Following on from my discussion of “singular they” removing gender-specific / binary gender pronouns from your text, did you know that you can ask Word to keep an eye out for gender-specific terms in your document? Here’s how to do it.

We set up different things for the Grammar checker to check in the Options menu:

1 options

In Options, choose Proofing:

2 proofing

Scroll down to the section headed When correcting spelling and grammar in Word and click on the Settings button:

3 style settings

Make sure the writing style is set to Grammar Only:

4 style settings

Tick Gender-specific words (and notice there are all sorts of other grammar and style aspects you can ask Word to highlight for you):

5 gender-specific words

In order for Word to actually use this feature, make sure that Check grammar with spelling is ticked:

5.5 checkingClick OK until you are back at the original screen.

Back in your Word document, if you use a gender-specific term such as “chairman” or “actress”, when you run a spell (and grammar) check, Word will highlight those terms and offer alternatives:

6 checking

This article has described how to ask Word 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016 to highlight gender-specific terms in your documents.

If you have found this article useful, please share using one of the buttons below. I always welcome comments, too!

Related posts on this blog

Medalling, podiuming and singular they

 
10 Comments

Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Word

 

Tags: , , , ,

What I do when I’m not being Liz from Libro

IMG_20160823_174246954_HDRI’ve been away for a few days, running my first marathon, in Iceland (as you do). As I haven’t had time to write up a blog post on language or business for this week, I thought my readers might enjoy my report over on my personal (and usually book reviewing) blog. Do pop over to have a read!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 24, 2016 in Celebration

 

Medalling, podiuming and singular they

Of course this isn't exactly what "medalling" means

Of course this isn’t exactly what “medalling” means

Languages change. If languages didn’t change, we’d be speaking like Chaucer, British and American English would be identical, or we’d still be using words like “chairman”, “crippled”, “omnibus” and all sorts. We also wouldn’t have a way to describe “selfies”, “Brexit” or “omnishambles”.

The verbs formed from nouns, “medalling” and “podiuming” have been heard again recently, as they are every four years in an event whose name is controlled so closely you’re not supposed to go around mentioning it in blog posts. Lots of people have been complaining about these, saying it’s an erosion of the English language, etc., etc.

Now, I’m one for making sure we retain two words with a close but not identical meaning in order to be able to distinguish between different concepts or things. But in this case, it’s not taking away the distinction between two different things, it’s just adding another word to say the same thing. And we form words in all sorts of ways – by blending, shortening, lengthening them and shifting the part of speech they belong to. Once, we weren’t even allowed to start sentences with and or but …

The other wordy thing I wanted to mention briefly was singular they. This is something editors and other wordy people are still arguing – quite bitterly – about. “They” used to be used just as a plural. But, just as we’ve removed words like chairman and dustman from the language to cover the fact that different genders of people do different jobs, over recent years there’s been an acceptance that binary genders – the idea that everyone is either “he” or “she”, has joined up with a common dislike of the clumsiness of using “he” and “she” in alternate chapters or “he/she”, “s/he”, etc. to promote the use of singular “they”, i.e. the use of “they” to refer to one person in the singular. An example would be, “When someone gets to the front of the queue, they should go to the first available window”.

Now, some people rail against this change, but I think that it can be made to work grammatically, it gets rid of clumsiness and it doesn’t exclude people to whom, for whatever reason, it’s not appropriate to refer using binary gender wording. This is standard in my editing, although I’d never make this kind of change without consultation if it appeared more than very sporadically.

I’m not expecting to change anyone’s mind here; I’m just setting out my stall. These are my personal opinions, but these are interesting topics to think about and they’ve been at the front of my mind recently. Thank you for reading!

I generally talk about word stuff in my Troublesome Pairs posts which do distinguish meanings between pairs or triplets of words. Have a look at the index here!

 
18 Comments

Posted by on August 17, 2016 in Be careful, Errors, Ethics, Writing

 

Tags:

How do I add a dot or line above a number in Word to indicate a repeating decimal?

This is something that is used when working with maths texts – a friend who is studying maths asked me about it a while ago. This article will show you how to add a dot or line over a number in a Word document to indicate a repeating decimal.

Type your number first, then go to the Insert tab and look for the Symbol section to the right:

1 insert symbol

Click on the little down arrow below Symbol

 2 insert symbol

Choose More symbols

 3 more symbols

Drop down Subset and find Combining Diacritical Marks

 4 subsets

Scroll down a little and you will find the dot and various lengths of line:

5 combining diacritics

Highlight the symbol you want to use and click Insert to insert the dot:

6 combining diacritics

Note that this will look different according to which font you’re using.

When you want to do this again, you only need to click on the down arrow under Symbol and you will find recently used symbols showing in the first drop-down:

7 combining diacritics

This article has explained how to add a dot or line over a numeral to indicate a repeating decimal.

If you’ve found this article useful, please share, comment or like. Thank you!

Other useful posts on this blog

Inserting non-standard symbols in Word

 

 
21 Comments

Posted by on August 10, 2016 in Word

 

Tags: , ,

How do I count the number of times a word appears in my document?

I was asked this question during the week, so here’s how to count how many times a particular word appears in a document (or spreadsheet or anything).

The easiest way to count the number of instances of a word is to use the Find function.

Access Find using Control-F (press the control key and F at the same time).

Type in the word you want to search for.

Word will find and highlight all instances of the word and highlight them for you – and will tell you how many times it appears!

Count instances of a word

Note: this search for transcription will find that word buried in other words, too – so TRANSCRIPTIONs and TRANSCRIPTIONist.

To find just the single word transcription, you need to use Advanced Find.

Click on the down arrow next to the search box and then choose Advanced Find:

2 Count instances of a word

Click the More button (which appears where Less is showing here) and then tick the box marked Find Whole Words Only:

3 Count instances of a word

Now Word will count and highlight just the instances of this exact word.

This article has taught you how to count how many times a particular word appears in your document. You can use this method in Excel and PowerPoint, etc. too.

If you’ve found it useful, please click like and share it. Thank you!

Other useful posts on this blog

How to search for anything using Control-F

How to count the words in your Word document

How to count the words in your PowerPoint presentation

Find and Replace

Advanced Find and Replace

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 3, 2016 in Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Writing

 

Tags: , , , , ,