Autocorrect errors can be funny and problematic

Autocorrect errors can be funny and problematic

September 21st, 2012 by Holly Leber in Life Entertainment

Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

Recently, Kate Burkhalter said, she texted a friend to let her know she was helping someone.

But Burkhalter's friend got an entirely different message.

"I accidentally told my friend I was eloping," Burkhalter revealed on the Times Free Press Facebook page. "Clearly my phone anticipates my romantic, spontaneous nature before my generosity of spirit."

Ah, autocorrect.

The technological snafu has spawned humorous websites. Many have fallen victim to this supposedly helpful aspect of modern technology.

"Mine was so aggravating I got my daughter to disable the autocorrect," said Jennifer David-Bryan. "Luckily the only mishaps I had were minor and nothing graphic."

Indeed, autocorrect can lead to some rather inappropriate messages being sent.

Jake Truelove revealed an embarrassing story on the TFP Facebook page. "I was trying to tell her I was excited about meeting her new puppy," he wrote.

Instead, his message was autocorrected, and "puppy" became a crass slang term.

While autocorrect can lead to some humorous errors, failing to check before you text can be problematic, particularly in the job market.

Jean Dake, career counselor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said she makes sure to speak to students about the importance of being careful with their correspondence.

"We talk to students a lot about how with anything dealing with an employer, they are not texting," she said. "You are not texting."

The fast, on-the-go mentality of quick texts or emails can lead to less care being taken in communication, Dake said, and can pose a danger, particularly for those who are seeking employment. Despite typos being a common error, exacerbated by autocorrect, they are not always excused.

"The little things can kill you or keep you from getting that job," Dake said. "If an employer is out there texting, they're probably going to be a little more forgiving, but if not, they're going to be looking for more formal (communication)."

Robert Long, executive vice president at Chattem, said he has both sent and received messages that have autocorrect errors.

However, he said, should a job applicant send communication with such a mistake, he would question the care with which the applicant had formed his correspondence.

"The person may or may not have taken the due care to make sure they were reading their communication to their prospective employer completely and carefully," he said. "It's important to take the time to proofread the message appropriately."

Even after getting the job, taking a extra moment to look at one's phone before sending text messages can help avoid embarrassment, as Cathy Irby Pierce can testify.

On the TFP Facebook page, Pierce wrote that while trying to inform a co-worker of her whereabouts, she accidentally sent the wrong message:

"I texted that I was 'in the bedroom' with our boss," she posted, "instead of 'in the breakroom.'"


Contact Holly Leber at or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at Subscribe to her on Facebook at