Word 2004: Bug with ‘etc.’ in French spelling engine still not fixed

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 21st, 2004 • 4:01 am

For this one, Microsoft doesn’t have the excuse that the bug is difficult to reproduce. It’s a 100% reproducible bug. It happens every time the French spell checker encounters the word etc. in a Word document.

As I’ve reported before (about Word X), every time Word’s French spell checker encounters the word etc., it stops (even though the word is perfectly correct) and offers to either “Ignore” this word, “Ignore All” occurrences of the word, or “Add” it to the dictionary.

As for the list of suggestions, it includes “etc.” and “et“. But since neither the “Change” button nor the “Change All” button is active, I suspect that it doesn’t mean anything.

In any case, if you click on “Add“, nothing happens. Word still stays stuck on the word, and the next time you use the French spell checker, it will stop again when it encounters etc.

If you click on “Ignore All“, again, nothing happens. Word refuses to ignore all occurrences of etc. — presumably because, in its mind, it’s a punctuation error and not a spelling error (but then the “Ignore All” button shouldn’t be active in the first place).

Finally, the only option is to click on “Ignore“, which will, indeed, work as expected, i.e. ignore this particular occurrence of etc. and continue the spell checking process… until the next occurrence of etc.. Then the same thing happens.

In other words, there is:

  1. a bug in Word’s French spell checker that makes it flag etc. as an error when it isn’t one
  2. a bug in Word’s “Spelling and Grammar” dialog box that leaves the “Ignore All” button active even though it doesn’t work
  3. a bug in Word’s “Spelling and Grammar” dialog box that makes you believe that you can add etc. as a word to your personal dictionary when you can’t (since it still flags it as an error after that)
  4. a suggestion for the “error” that is exactly the same as the “error”, i.e. Word’s “Spelling and Grammar” dialog box suggests that you change etc. to… etc. (except that the “Change” buttons are disabled).

One cannot help but admire Microsoft’s ability to cram so many flaws into a single software feature. As for their reluctance to acknowledge or fix bugs, well… There’s that “opportunity cost” thing, you know…

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