May 21

How Reliable Are Grammar-Checking Tools?

There are many programs that you can use to check your grammar. Doing this can assist you in learning what mistakes you are making. This is needed in order to improve your skills and get a better grasp on the English language. Knowing what programs to use is the first thing you need to find out in order to improve your skills.

The most common type of program you can use to check your grammar is Web-based. You copy and paste your text into a form and submit it. The website then looks over your writing and reports what needs corrected. This type of program can be used on any computer with internet access, which makes them convenient, especially for those who are restricted to using school or public library computers to write their reports and assignments.

The second type of program used to check your grammar is built into programs like Microsoft Word. These analyze your grammar as you write your report, essay or assignment and underline portions of sentences that contain errors. These programs often include statistical information, such as grammar grade level as well as word count. Microsoft Word and similar programs will offer suggestions for corrections. However, when you use a program like this, you should keep in mind that the better you are at English, the more misleading grammar check programs can be. These programs do not allow for purposeful bending or breaking of grammar rules, which is often used for emphasis when writing at higher grammar levels.

The third type of program you can use to check your grammar is a stand-alone program. These are designed specifically with grammar and spelling in mind. You simply insert your text into the program, and the program will generate suggestions and corrections for spelling errors. 

One of the flaws with programs designed to check your grammar is that they will not necessarily correct words that are used incorrectly. For example, a program may not pick up that “We went to they're house” as incorrect. They're is a correctly spelled word, even though it is being used incorrectly. These programs do not have any method of distinguishing the exact definition of a word, only its type. In the example, you would need to correct the word to 'their' by yourself.

If you are careful, and keep in mind that there are cases where the programs you use to check your grammar may be incorrect, you can help improve your English writing skills (and grades if you're in school). As these programs take very little time to use, you should be able to do so efficiently. 



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Posted May 21, 2012 by Gary McCarty in category "Grammar Notes

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