function means

the natural purpose (of something) or the duty (of a person)

The function of the veins is to carry blood to the heart.

functionality means

any or all of the operations performed by a piece of equipment or a software program

Spell checker - Wikipedia says

In software, a spell checker (or spell check) is a software feature that checks for misspellings in a text.

in this context, should I say

"spell check" is a function?


"spell check" is a functionality?

I guess the latter, I'd just like to make sure my understanding is correct.

1 Answer 1


Between the two choices you've given I would say that technically spell check is a functionality. But really I think either could be used; you're unlikely to be corrected if you use function instead.

Which word you choose I think is more dependent on the sentence structure than on one word being more correct than the other. Personally I find the use of "a functionality" (setting up "functionality" to be countable) to be awkward if not actually incorrect. I would say either of these two are preferred:

Spell check is a function of the software.

The software includes spell-check functionality.

In the first sentence, depending on surrounding context, we may interpret "function" with your first definition of a "natural purpose" of the software. But we may also interpret it as meaning the particular bit of code within the software that actually does the spell checking – in programming, software is comprised of functions.

It's this second possible definition of "function" that makes picking one word over the other in this context somewhat unimportant: the spell-checking "functionality" is, in fact, provided by the spell-check "function".

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