Siri Tricks and Tips: Do More with the iPhone 4S Virtual Assistant

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Teach Siri Hard-to-Pronounce Names

If Siri can’t understand your name or the names of your contacts, worry not; you can teach pronunciations to Siri by adding phonetic first or last names for your contacts. You’ll find this option in the Contacts app, toward the bottom of the page for the person you’re trying to reach. If phonetic names don’t work, you can also add a nickname.

Siri Search With Yahoo or Bing

By default, Siri searches the web with Google, but using Bing or Yahoo instead is pretty simple, as Search Engine Land points out. Just say “Search Bing for…” or “Search Yahoo for…” to use those search engines on a one-time basis. If either of those engines are your default, you can say “Search Google for…” to run a one-time Google search.

Siri Dictation Tips

When dictating a text message to Siri, you may want to insert punctuation or other formatting that the system wouldn’t automatically add on its own. Fortunately, Siri understands lots of formatting instructions, including “Caps On,” “No Caps,” “New Line” and “New Paragraph.” You can also add symbols, such as “open quote,” “close quote,” “percent sign” or “dollar sign.”

Over at iSource, Joe Tomasone has written a nice list of Siri commands for formatting and punctuation. Check it out to make the most of your dictation.

Everything Siri Does

Part of the fun with Siri is in testing its limits. But if you prefer to spoil surprises and get down to business, TUAW has a huge list of commands that Siri understands.

Siri Party Tricks

Ask the right questions, and Siri will give you some funny answers—perfect for amusing your friends when they ask to check out your shiny new iPhone 4S. Already, there’s a Tumblr page dedicated to Siri’s weirdest and funniest responses (warning: foul language). Worth keeping in mind when you need a laugh.

MORE: In the Future, We Will All Talk to Computers

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