# Can anyone recommend a spell checker for tex files?

Doug McKenna doug at mathemaesthetics.com
Fri Aug 16 01:45:40 CEST 2019

Spell-checking TeX source code doing code-y things is no doubt fraught with difficulties doing the right thing.

Only two hours ago, I was going through a draft paper of mine in LaTeX, changing a word I had used ubiquitously, to a slightly less ambiguous word that I decided would be better.  But I hedged my bets.  Instead of just doing a simple text find and replace, I wrote a TeX macro to replace with, so that if I decided to undo my global change, I could just change the macro's definition to the previous word I was using.

But the word can be plural or not.

So for the plural instances, now my TeX source code is filled instances of the substitution macro that look like this:

\def\newword{widget}

...

... a whole lot of \newword s for English plurals

A spell-checker (or worse, corrector) is very likely going to flag that lone 's', which is not a word.  This would leave me in a mood somewhere between annoyed and murderous. :-)

Yes, I could have created macros for the plural words too (and the capitalized versions as well), but you get my point.  TeX is advertised as a Turing-complete macro language, and there will therefore be a near-infinite variety of creative uses that can't be out-thought by any one spell-checking algorithm.

- Doug McKenna