This morning, as we were planning to go to the Boston Aquarium, I checked the website, as you do, to verify the Sunday hours. No point in showing up only to discover that it’s closed on Sunday or undergoing massive renovations or some such thing. As I began typing the letters “boston aq” into the Google Toolbar, the following word completions were helpfully suggested to me.
|boston aquarium||1330 results|
|boston aqarium||1140 results|
|boston aqaurium||856 results|
|boston aqurium||682 results|
|boston aquariam||626 results|
|boston aquirium||64 results|
|boston aqustics||14 results|
I’m not terribly surprised that the word aquarium is so easily misspelled, but I am amazed that the correct spelling accounted for only 28% of the overall result count, not to mention the fact that it very nearly came in second. This is fascinating data, and it illustrates that Google is in possession of the finest set ever made of data on spelling in English. What could schools do with this? For one thing, we’ll be able to watch trends over time. Are we getting better or worse at spelling? It also seems that by correlating a list of frequently used words against frequently misspelled words, we could at least make our spelling tests more practical. Screw up a word like flagellar and nobody gives a damn, but if you write erotic instead of erratic, it might get you in some hot water. Nobody likes an erotic spellor, or mabe they dont realy care much any more, sinse Google can fix it all.
Google will always know what you mean, even if nobody else does, for Google knows what is in your heart.
Incidentally, Boston Acoustics is the name of a speaker company. And yes, Google will indeed suggest that perhaps by aqustics you meant acoustics.