How do you weed out homophones?

macOS and Mac Apps

So, an issue I often face in my work as a copywriter is trying to fix homophones in my work. An example I've just encounter are the words patience and patients, the first being the ability to wait for something, the second being the client of a doctor and, as you can hear, they both sound the same.

To be honest, I didn't actually know that they were spelled the same. I've spent most of my adult life using audio as a means of parsing information rather than brail because brail machines either have tiny little batteries or they are super expensive.

So, my question to you, fellow authors, scribblers and jotters, how do you adequately proofread and spell check documents including weeding out homophones? Is there anything clever on the Mac that can point these out for me? Does Microsoft word have this feature despite it not being the most accessible application on the Mac?

I tend to write in markdown for editing purposes if that makes any difference.

Any tips and techniques will be well received.




Submitted by Yvonnezed on Monday, November 25, 2019

I don't have any personal experience, but maybe research grammar checkers? I have no idea of its accessibility, but my Husband's been experimenting with grammarly for the last few weeks.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Monday, November 25, 2019

Unfortunately grammarlee doesn't appear to be accessible, at least when I last tried it... Is he blind or VI?

Submitted by Yvonnezed on Monday, November 25, 2019

No he's not. He wasn't using the app though, it seemed to be the website and a google docs plugin. I'm pretty sure I could see at least some of the interface while I was editing a document with him, but I wasn't paying a lot of attention at the time

Submitted by Patrick Smyth on Monday, November 25, 2019

It's a bit of an extreme approach, but you could grab a list of common homophones or ones you frequently encounter and change their pronunciation to something exaggerated or memorable. You could change patients to patiiients or something, for example. Certainly a lot of effort but would chive the desired result. Both Voiceover and NVDA let you do this, define your own pronunciations.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Monday, November 25, 2019

I show a sighted person what I'm doing and they correct it or let me know what I did wrong. For me it's faster, especially if I'm working on a 32 page something.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Monday, November 25, 2019

You could also search your document. Sometimes when I think I may have used the wrong word, I will search for the word I did not want to use. If it pops up, I correct it.

Submitted by J.P. on Monday, November 25, 2019

I find word correction helps in system settings. Also, I’ve used the search trick as well.
KE7ZUM I’m glad that works for you. This isn’t meant as a knock, but Oliver can’t do that. As a copywriter being his profession, asking for sighted help could poorly affect him. In a professional setting I mean.

Submitted by OldBear on Monday, November 25, 2019

I like the idea of changing the pronunciations. I would try to make it subtle though.
I am only an amateur writer. I try to be aware of them and spend a lot of time looking up words. From time to time, I wake up in the middle of the night and realize I've been using the wrong spelling. Doh!

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Monday, November 25, 2019

In reply to by J.P.

Woops? I didn't know that. interesting I would think that sighted people would be aloud to in that profession ask for help especially if let's say they are drawing a blank on bare and bear.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

That's a very good idea though I would expect the list to be rather extensive. I'll have a look and get back to the group.

Yes, having someone look over my work is possible but, as we know, waiting on others isn't always the best for deadlines or even quality. I'm certain you've all also had the same frustration of having to take responsibility for others work that isn't up to snufff despite their best intentions. Help tends to be freely given and quality is rarely assured. I don't mean to sound ungrateful but it is essential that I produce clean copy for clients and the only way to avoid reliance on others is to do it myself, for better or worse.

I've just downloaded pro writing aid which is partially accessible. It indicates how many issues one has in a document however I can't find a way of VoiceOver reading the corrections or suggestions, assuming there are either.

Thanks for the thoughts everyone, keep them coming. I love this community. Being blind and visually impaired really makes for good problem solvers.

Submitted by OldBear on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

You might not always have access to your own screen reader pronunciation dictionary.
The words used for vision have two Es: see and sea, peak, pique and peek. You could devise strategies of sayings or rhymes.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

for the most part I'm aware of what is the correct spelling, it's typos or spell checks that change it to the wrong word that are the issue.

This is only one part of the problem too. Extra spaces are an issue, no capitalisation, all such things that I believe can be solved with a fairly intelligent spell checker however, the one built into Mac OS doesn't seem to do much beyond the most basic of tasks.


Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

My biggest problems are principal and principle, guaranty and guarantee, and affect and effect. My biggest problem is remembering when to use each one, not the spelling per say. These are some great ideas you all are suggesting.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

There is a good resource for learning the correct use of words by grammar girl, quick and dirty writing tips. She's my go to if I need a grammatical issue clarifying.

We're certainly not alone in this confusion but I believe that we do miss a lot in this primilarly audio world in which we now live. If we used brail more often we might have a better understanding of punctuation and word usage... But this is straying beyond the remit of AppleVis.

I'm looking for a technological solution with in the apple ecology.

Submitted by OldBear on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

For extra spaces I use search, same for spaces before punctuation.
I use Libreoffice on my desktops, and you can run advanced searches for several things, if you learn the codes. The grammar checker is... mediocre, but it does catch a lot of mistakes.
Back when I used JAWS on Windows, it had a text analizer, but I haven't found anything like that with any other screen reader.