Saturday, April 7, 2018

G = Grammarly Is Not Enough

Welcome, A to Z bloggers, visitors, and of course all my faithful regular readers! This year's theme for my A to Z:
Short & Sweet Reasons Why You Need an Editor

So without further ado . . .

Grammarly is not enough. Not by a long shot. In fact, many (most?) editors will argue that it's possible to do more harm than good to your work when relying on Grammarly. And it's not because we like getting paid, because . . . duh. Everyone likes getting paid.

The problem with any grammar program is that artificial intelligence can only take you so far. It will never pick up on the same nuances a human being will catch. (And don't even get me started on MS Word's grammar suggestions that are guaranteed to destroy you AND your gray cells.)

Grammar checkers will consistently point out things that aren't actually wrong, trying their best to convince you to change whatever you've written. They may be an okay starting point, but for someone who doesn't know better, sole reliance on any grammar program may lead to disaster.

Trust a human being who knows not only the rules but the language usage as well.

17 comments:

  1. Plus there are words that you can leave off or add a letter and while it's wrong, the checker thinks it's right - and you'll miss it.

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    1. Our oldest son constantly misspelled "where" when he was in grade school, and of course since "were" is a word, spellcheck never picked up on it. I'm forever laughing (or growling) at Word's supposed grammar fixes.

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    2. Oh, yeah. Our son Brian was nicknamed Brain by his Little League coaches, and Bonnie's classes in "beastfeeding" were a high point in the world of hilarity! And yes, the repartee between me and MSWord has been known to generate some words that aren't in its on-line dictionary around here!

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    3. Ha! Beastfeeding! That's pretty terrific. And sometimes accurate.

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  2. I don't use grammarly but I imagine its like autocorrect. I find it impossible to self-edit (as many do) so it is natural to look for tools to help. I imagine those tools will improve overtime.

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    1. It is very much like autocorrect in the sense that it's only so intuitive before it runs out of programmed fixes. There's no substitute for a human being and their grasp of language nuances.

      Most tools are great as a starting point, but it's almost a situation where you already need to know what you're doing so you don't fall into the trap of thinking every suggestion is valid.

      Thanks for the visit!

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  3. I've never used Grammarly. I don't like relying on any kind of program that supposedly makes up for a writer who doesn't know how to spell, or put a sentence together!

    It probably won't surprise you to know that I did a whole post about how frustrating spell-checkers can be. Here's the kind of observations I made: If all that isn't enough, it picks stuff at random! Earlier today, I typed the word "something," and wouldn't you know it, there's that little red underscoring again. So I decided to check their suggestions of alternates, and it actually said, "no suggestions." Nice. They didn't have a specific objection to the word, but they just wanted to tick me off, apparently. Well, it worked.

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    1. Arrggghhh! I have had the same problem with spellcheck and real words that are spelled correctly. It doesn't seem to like contractions like "isn't" and will red line it randomly.

      And no, I'm not surprised at all that you did a post about it. I did one a few years ago about MS Word's grammar checker, and I've had another one in my drafts folder for a while. There's always something to rant about. :)

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  4. I have not used Grammarly, even though I do find a lot of typos that Spellcheck won't catch, and often it takes me more than one glance over my work to find them.

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    1. Always trust your eyes more than a program, that's for sure. Every editor I know seems to have the same general disdain for Grammarly.

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  5. Hi Lynda - I've not used Grammarly ... I prefer a human - though sometimes I check things ... but so often the machine is wrong - such is life ... I prefer me, and then a.n.other two legged human!! Cheers Hilary

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    1. Humans are better company, too! Most of the time, anyway . . .

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  6. I love Grammarly, but yes, it's certainly not the grand salvation for all editing needs. It's only a step along the way. I find that it's generally a very helpful step, but one does have to know when to take it's advice and when to ignore it.

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    1. You use it in the right way—as a step, rather than as the ultimate destination.

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  7. I enjoyed your post especially because Grammarly made me itch the couple of times I tried it (eventually, I recoiled in self-defense), and Word, well, don't get me started on Word: anything 'auto' got turned off long ago.

    I use AutoCrit - to count, mostly. Repeated phrases and words are the bane of any author's existence. My brain is lazy, but if I want to repeat words, I do it deliberately. So I spend a lot of time putting scenes through the various filters (the non-judgmental ones).

    For content editing, the best is a human - one who has read masses of real and junk literature.

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    1. One of my authors likes to make me twitch by saying, "Well, Grammarly said this and you didn't." It's become a joke between us. He uses it but doesn't actually like it, thank goodness, and knows I have the final say if it comes to me duking it out with Grammarly.

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    2. How could you possibly argue with that logic?

      Still laughing at the horror that caused me.

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