Style Spelling and Grammar Errors with the ::spelling-error and ::grammar-error pseudo-elements

Part of the CSS Pseudo-Elements Level 4 Specification are ways to style spelling and grammar errors.

By default spelling errors — words you have mistyped — get a red dotted underline, thanks to the ::spelling-error pseudo-class selector you can tweak that. Grammar errors — such as a missing capital letter at the beginning of a sentence — can be styled with the ::grammar-error pseudo-class selector.

::spelling-error {
  text-decoration: underline wavy red;
}

::grammar-error {
  text-decoration: underline wavy blue;
}

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Embedded below is a demo that shows the output of the browser you are visiting with, and the wanted output:


See the Pen The Future of CSS: Style Grammar and Spelling Errors (Demo) by Bramus (@bramus) on CodePen.

As you can see your browser does not yield the proper output, as ::spelling-error/::grammar-error currently have no support in any browser at the time of writing:

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Once these highlight pseudo-elements do gain browser support, do note that they can only be styled by a limited set of properties that do not affect layout. Only following properties apply to the highlight pseudo-elements:

  • color
  • background-color
  • text-decoration and its associated properties
  • text-shadow
  • stroke-color, fill-color, and stroke-width

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In case you are interested, here are the relevant bugs to flag/star/follow:

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Published by Bramus!

Bramus is a frontend web developer from Belgium, working as a Chrome Developer Relations Engineer at Google. From the moment he discovered view-source at the age of 14 (way back in 1997), he fell in love with the web and has been tinkering with it ever since (more …)

Unless noted otherwise, the contents of this post are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License and code samples are licensed under the MIT License

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