Looking for an English proofreader? ispell is available from the Terminal.

ispell, English checker from the terminal Writing well costs a lot. Or little, depending on how you look at it. If it is not easy to write correctly in our language, with everything that must be taken into account, writing in a language that is not our mother tongue is even more complicated. The good thing is that today there is a lot of software that can help us improve our writing and in this post we will talk about ispell, a command that will serve as an English checker.

ispell is available in many Linux distributions by default. It's about a word checker that we can launch from the Terminal and whose use is very simple. In this post we will talk about it and about another option that we can also use without an internet connection, but this second option will make use of a more complete software and, let's say, less Linux than one that we can launch from the Terminal. If you want to know which one I mean, keep reading.

ispell: the most linux-friendly English checker

To open the ispell checker, we just have to write the command and add the path to the text file that we want to examine. There are two ways to do it: the first is to write everything by hand, which would be something like:

ispell /home/pablinux/Escritorio/Prueba

The other option is simply write "ispell" and drag the text file to the Terminal window. If we drag it we have to take into account that each operating system manages it in a way: some (like Ubuntu) add the path in quotes and we have to remove those quotes manually. In other systems like Kubuntu, when we drag it inside we have to choose the option "Paste the path here", but it will not add anything else. Once we have it, we press Enter and we will see what we have in the header image.

The options that are available are the following:

  • R: replace word. When a word is marked, we will press R to replace it with one of those that appear in the list. We will see a "promt" that says "Replace with", to which we have to add the number of the option and press Enter. It will automatically jump to the next misspelled word.
  • A: accept the floor for this session only.
  • I: accepts it and will add the word to the dictionary with the first letter in uppercase.
  • L- Searches for words in the system directory.
  • U: accepts the word and adds it without capital letters to the dictionary.
  • X: write the rest of the file and save it.
  • Q: exits ignoring changes.

ispell suggesting options

ispell allows us to check words manually

There another option that will serve us for single words, which we can access by just typing "ispell". Once Enter is pressed, we will see the version of the program and a prompt that says "word:" (word), at that moment we have to enter it and press Enter. If it is correct, we will see "Ok". If it is not, it will suggest options that are. In the example above I have misspelled "hello" (hello) and it has suggested halo, held, hell, hello, helm, helot, help, helo and he-he. In this case the correct one has been the fourth.

For security, ispell does not destroy the files we want to correct, or not directly. Yes it overwrites them, but right next to it create us a .bak file that we can open from any text editor. This type of security measures never hurts.

As an extra piece of information, if we want to edit the words that we have added to the dictionary we will have to do it editing the file.ispell_default that is created in our personal folder as soon as we add a word to the ispell dictionary. If what we want is to reset the dictionary, all we have to do is delete said file. We remember that the point in front means that it is hidden by default.

Related article:
LibreOffice: Create Fillable or Editable PDF

Correcting our writings with LibreOffice

LibreOffice English Checker

The second option "less linuxra" that I was talking about is to do it with any text editor that includes dictionaries. For example, LibreOffice. To use LibreOffice's English (or any other language) checker we will do the following:

  1. Either we open LibreOffice Writer and open the file we want to correct from File / Open or we right-click on it and tell it to open it with Writer.
  2. Next we will go to Tools / Spelling. What we will see will be like what you see in the screenshot above these lines: a text box above with what is in the file, a text box below with the suggestions and options on the right.
  3. By default, LibreOffice's spell checker always starts in the primary language, that is, Spanish for most readers of Addicted Linux. If we want it to correct in English, we will display the menu in the upper center and choose "English". By default, the English available is that of the United States, but we can add more from the general settings of the operating system. Of course, English will not appear if we have previously removed it from the system.
  4. Once English is chosen, everything is very simple: in red we will see the misspelled word. The quickest thing is to find the best option among the suggestions and double-click on it. It will automatically change it and go to the next one that is misspelled. We have options of:
    • Ignore once.
    • Ignore everything (always in that writing).
    • Add to dictionary (for this and all future times).
    • Correct (same as double clicking).
    • Correct all (correct all words the same).
    • Always correct.
  5. Once everything is corrected, click Close.
  6. Finally, it would not make much sense to correct an entire document at all, so we save it from the File / Save menu. To mention everything, it goes without saying that we can make use of the rest of the options, such as "Save as" or Export.

What is clear is that Linux always offers us a world of possibilities. Not only can we use programs like in Windows, but we also have the Terminal that often serves as a shortcut to perform this and many other tasks. I prefer to use options such as the English checker and any other language that is available in LibreOffice, more than anything because I feel much more comfortable with a program with GUI in which I can use the mouse or touchpad. What do you think?


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