ispell – Checks for spelling errors in a file

ispell is a command-line utility that checks for spelling errors in a file. It is commonly used to check the spelling of text files, such as documentation, emails, and other text-based documents.


The basic syntax of the ispell command is as follows:

ispell [options] [file(s)]

By default, ispell reads from standard input. If you specify one or more files, it will check the spelling of those files instead.

For example, to check the spelling of a file named document.txt, you would run the following command:

ispell document.txt

When ispell encounters a misspelled word, it displays a list of suggested corrections. You can choose one of the suggestions, or you can enter a new spelling for the word.


The following table lists the available options for the ispell command:

Option Description
-a List all possible spelling corrections for each misspelled word.
-d dictionary Use the specified dictionary instead of the default.
-h Display a brief help message.
-l List all misspelled words without suggesting corrections.
-S Save any new spelling corrections to the user’s personal dictionary.
-v Display the version number of ispell.

Troubleshooting Tips

If ispell is not recognizing a word that you know is spelled correctly, it may be because the word is not in the dictionary that ispell is using. You can add the word to your personal dictionary by using the -S option:

ispell -S word

If ispell is not working as expected, you may want to try using a different dictionary. You can specify a dictionary file with the -d option:

ispell -d /path/to/dictionary file.txt


  • ispell is a powerful tool for catching spelling errors, but it is not foolproof. Always double-check your work to ensure that it is error-free.
  • ispell may not be installed on your system by default. You may need to install it using your package manager before you can use it.