PLEASE! DISABLE forced selection of whole words with surrounding spaces

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Occasional Visitor

 
Ever since the last generation of Microsoft products hit my computer I have lost the ability to NOT auto select words with surrounding spaces. I do a lot of editing in several Microsoft programs, including Outlook and Word and I have no idea why this option is no longer available.
 
I need to be able to select 1 or 2 characters in a word for editing, and not be forced to see the whole word selected and then have to go to the keyboard to control backspace to unselect.
 
This must have happened by misstake and it is very frustrating. Please fix it...
 
Thank you

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