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frankbell 03-06-2020 07:39 PM

Word Processor Grammar Checkers Don't Work Write
In the Hartford Courant, Mark McFadden explains. An excerpt:


Microsoft Word has trouble with capital letters. For instance, in the sentence “She works as a Teacher at a small University in Iowa,” neither Teacher nor University should be capitalized. Yet when this sentence appears in a Word document and when the user clicks on the Spelling & Grammar icon, the “Spelling and Grammar check is complete” message appears again. In Google Docs, after typing the same sentence and running the spelling and grammar checker, a dialogue box appears with the caption: Document looks good. For students, these two messages send the entirely wrong message; many students misinterpret the content of these dialogue boxes to mean they’ve written an error-free essay. And then they complain about it when their instructor marks it wrong.

scasey 03-06-2020 07:49 PM

Spell checkers, yes...although one still needs to proofread ‘cause they won’t catch when ‘too’ is used instead of ‘to’.

One also needs to proofread for grammar, students should be advised/taught not to use automated “checkers” at all.

Just my 2cents

frankbell 03-06-2020 08:12 PM

I agree wholeheartedly. If you want to so something well, you need to understand the tools you use.

I use spell checkers, just not the automatic ones, because I know what I meant to write, and they don't. I have never used an automated grammar checker. My entire career involved writing. I nose me grammer.

I wonder whether U. S. schools still teach grammar, or whether it's gone the way of civics?

dugan 03-06-2020 08:15 PM

I hear the kids these days are using something called Grammarly.

chrism01 03-11-2020 12:13 AM

I quite like to leave the spell checker on (British English), but only because my typing is a bit iffy ;)

My spelling is fine, it's just faster/easier for me to type what I want to get down, then let the system highlight my typos & then fix them.

On the other hand, I agree grammar checkers are rubbish :)

GazL 03-15-2020 10:51 AM

I couldn't read the article. Apparently those of us in (or formerly in) the EU are geo-locked out, so I'll have to assume that the bit Frank quoted was the main gist of it.


Originally Posted by chrism01 (Post 6099372)
On the other hand, I agree grammar checkers are rubbish :)

I recently decided that colons don't get nearly enough love, and I wish to champion them, so,
"On the other hand, I agree: grammar checkers are rubbish."

Flows much nicer than the dropped "that", at least to my mind's ear. YMMV.

I'm a product of the shockingly poor 1970s English "Comprehensive" school system, and I don't remember ever being taught grammar in and of itself in any technical sense. Much of how I write, I do by instinct, learnt from example rather than any hard understanding of the rules educated into me. Quite frankly, it's astonishing that I'm as coherent as I am; I have absolutely no idea how that happened. :)

frankbell 03-15-2020 08:30 PM


so I'll have to assume that the bit Frank quoted was the main gist of it.
I'm sorry you couldn't see it. If you would like me to email you a copy, send me a PM and an address, but, yes, that captured the gist.

The bulk of the article contained additional examples, plus a smattering of polemic.

GazL 03-16-2020 05:29 AM

If the Hartford Courant want to be all Xenophobic then I can live without reading it, but thank you for the offer.

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