I hate editing my copy. It’s the trickiest part of writing. There are so many ways to go wrong when you are producing words by the hundreds. For all the value word processing programs have brought to writers, their biggest flaw is literal non-contextual interpretation of words.
She went their to see her mother. Their is spelled correctly, but it’s wrong in this context.
The bear truth, is misleading unless you are talking about a big brown animal you came across in the woods.
Grammarly.com, an online instant grammar checker and more, is a wake-up call: Commas, periods, exclamation points, oh my! Spelling, context, confused words, oh my! Voice, mixed metaphors, unclear comparisons, oh my! Grammarly points to the word or phrase and suggests an alternative, or that you rethink what you’ve written, oh my (head in my hands here), and sigh. I am not a horrible writer, but I am too often a lazy one. Grammarly is worth every cent of the $139 I paid for it.
Grammarly forces me to think: Yikes, what a thought. Think more about what I write. Perish the thought. However… (Picture me thinking here: Hmmm, Grammarly might not be happy about that ellipse. Does it have a purpose? It does come in handy now and again, because as I write I may want to slow my readers down. Still, is the ellipse necessary, or am I slowing down the reader too much?) I hope you get the idea. As a writer you do want to think about every aspect of what you’re writing – spelling, grammar, voice, tone, and readability, and yes the occasional ellipse.
Grammarly hates, hates, hates, passive voice: If you use this product be ready for a rude awakening. You think you’re writing in electrifying ways, until you see how many times you slip into passive voice. Why do you slip into passive voice? Because passive voice is easy, and it’s sloppy, that’s why. Things happen, and you tell about what happened, yadda, yadda, yadda. Have you put the reader to sleep in the process? I look over some of the things I’ve written, and I cringe. Instead of engaging the reader, I see where I dumped information in globs. Bad form; sloppy writing.
Grammarly gives you options: You can use the basic mode and Grammarly checks for contextual spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and style. Or you can select plagiarism to learn whether you have inadvertently “borrowed” someone’s words and made them yours. There is a vocabulary enhancement function, which points out vague words that can be changed to another word or phrase to make the sentence stronger or clearer.
Grammarly will send you to a professional proofreader: I believe there is a charge for this service, but if you want another pair of eyes to look at your work, the option is there.
A caution here. Grammarly doesn’t do your work for you. You still must read your copy. The suggestions in Grammarly are just that, suggestions. As the writer, it’s up to you to accept or reject the program’s recommendations.
In summary this is a good product for writers whether you are writing a business letter, an op-ed piece for the local paper, a school paper, an essay or a book. Punctuation and grammar are the building blocks of written communication.
Note: I am in no way affiliated with Grammarly.com. These are my thoughts based on my experience. There are other similar programs in the marketplace. I have not tried them.
Categories: Writer's Block