Grammar Checkers

Has anyone else been seeing a lot of ads for this “Grammerly” program? I have.

As a writer, I have a problem with writers relying programs like these.

First, as anyone who’s played in Word knows, they’re not always correct. A program will never replace a good editor. I don’t know how many times it’s wanted to correct “its” to “it’s” and then immediately want to change it back; it’ll go back and forth in an endless loop. Personally, I’ve disabled Word to check grammar as I go.

Second, writers need to know the difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your’ without a program correcting them. If you don’t, uh…are you sure you’re a writer? Because that sounds like someone who hasn’t cracked open a book since freshman year when we read Huck Finn.

Third, I’m overall against programs that take the responsibility of knowing thing away from the individual. Sooner or later, the machines will know everything and people will devolve into blobs. (Have you seen Wall-E?) Then the machines realize that they’re smarter and they revolt. Next thing you know, humans have ceased and earth is run by auto-trons and robots.

Fourth, a program can’t help you to write “better” in the creative field. Sure, it can suggest stronger verbs and warn you against the passive tone, but then you’re not writing – the computer is. This goes back into how some writers have great stories, but can’t write then worth a lick. They think proper grammar is the same as editing; they have no concept of sentence flow, varying structure, or style in their writing. It’s like reading an essay.

I know programs like Grammarly have a place. If you’re not a writer, then I understand. There’s nothing like messing up your verb/noun agreements in a Facebook post, is there? And we all want to turn in final papers without those pesky mistakes. No one likes getting back a paper with more red marks than words.

What does everyone else this about these types of programs?

5 thoughts on “Grammar Checkers

  1. short term help – only turned on when absolutely necessary and the answers found without it/them are ambiguous … but these s/w things often don’t help either!
    so, I take it on the chin and go with the gut – if it’s good for the story, it’ll do as it is.


  2. Oh, I do recommend some of these products to new writers especially when I see evidence of missing commas, too many commas, incorrect use of dialogue commas, mis-using the your/you’re … if they have these problems, I ask them to find one they are comfortable with (grammarly is not a particularly easy to follow product) to improve these irritating and minor things. Please note the lack of apostrophes in this msg – I have problems with these things, so leave them out until the final proofread (a known enemy, to be dealt the final blow at the end of the journey).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Commas are another battle entirely – one source says use a comma, the next doesn’t, and then all the published book seem to do it differently. I also understand not knowing the arrangement of dialog punctuation. It’s one of those things, like dialog tags, that we read, but we don’t “read” read – we skim read. They eye glazes over them without really noticing them.

      I admit, I thought I had a tight grip on grammar until I started writing. There were little things that I had missed, because I hadn’t paid enough attention to them.

      Liked by 1 person

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