So which word processor is the most accurate? I use Microsoft Word on my PC, and would like to know what you think of its accuracy.
Well I don't actually know, because I've never sat down and hand-counted anything, to know what the word count really truly is, of a story that comes in at 979 in Scrivener, 998 in Word, 1006 in Open Office, and 1155 in WordPad ... (those are made-up examples...). With students, I just give them benefit of the doubt and allow the shortest count, but other tutors may not be that kind (or just in more of a hurry. Or not have that WP program).
It may well be different depending on whether you submit as a .doc vs .docx, .pdf, .rtf etc. etc., too.
I think you'll find, for example, that whether a hyphenated word counts as one or two will vary - after all, we'd call "no-one" a single word, but "long-felt", as in want as two. Some programs may allow you to tweak what it counts - I don't know.
Which is one reason I always advise students that the +10% really is to allow for these variables, and not (if you're sensible) to go to the wire with it, and risk being over. 7% is a hefty chunk of marks to lose, for five words, say. Especially if it knocks you down a grade band - I always want to weep when a student does themselves a stupid disservice of that sort...
Edited by EmmaD at 18:21:00 on 13 January 2014
Edited by EmmaD at 18:22:00 on 13 January 2014