Q: My friends and I often text each other about meeting up at the same two restaurants, which have names that our phones autocorrect to completely different words. Can we teach our phones to stop doing this?
A: Smartphones tend to do pretty well in their corrections – but sometimes they can be a tad overzealous, automatically changing what you mean to say into an absurd malapropism. If you catch your phone in the act enough times you can fix the problem by x’ing out the suggestion on an iPhone or long-pressing the word on an Android device and pressing the check mark – eventually it will internalise your feedback.
You also can go straight to your phone’s dictionary. On an iPhone, head to the Keyboard menu under General settings, and enter any non-standard word by choosing Add New Shortcut. Type the word in the Phrase area, and leave the Shortcut blank (unless you want to add a shortcut while you’re at it).
The place to add words to the Android dictionary depends on the phone you’re using, but it’s usually in the Language and Input section of Settings. Some phones have a user or personal-dictionary option there; others require you to choose the keyboard you’re using, edit predictive text, and, within that menu, add or remove words from your own word list or the auto-substitution list.