Hell and he’ll are easily confused words.
The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.
Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.
Hell (pronounced “h-ell”; rhymes with bell, well, tell, sell)
- As a proper noun, it means an underworld for the souls of evil people in Judeo-Christian religions.
- As a noun, it means a place of torture, punishment, or total discomfort.
- As an interjection, it indicates surprise, the state of being dumbfounded or skeptical. For example, “Hell, anyone could have done that.”
- As a proper noun, it can mean cities in Michigan, Texas, and California.
He’ll (pronounced “heel”; rhymes with wheel, feel, teal, peal) is a contraction of the pronoun “he and one of two possible auxiliary verbs: shall or will.
Here are some examples:
- He’ll need to work harder to pull his grades up this semester. He will need to work harder to pull his grades up this semester.
- He’ll abide by the rules of the club. He shall abide by the rules of the club.
The following story uses both words correctly:
Heloise was annoyed that her executive assistant, Hector, was running late for the third time this week. “Is he really not here again? He must not need the work. That’s not what he said in the interview.”
She looked out the window with annoyance, stewing, but saying nothing further. Then she just shrugged.
“He’ll probably waltz in here in the next half hour with some elaborate excuse. There will be hell to pay when he gets here, ” she told the staff as she hastily walked back to her office and loudly shut the door.
The staff weren’t phased by her threat. They weren’t sure why he was being given multiple chances to do better when they would have been fired the first time around.