Writing and Publishing

Does Grammar Trip Up Your Writing?

Grammar is my weakness. It seems I switched schools at the wrong time and missed foundational instruction. I never did catch up, struggling with it to this day. As such, Grammarly, the online grammar checker, has intrigued me.

Finally, I made time to check it out. According to the site, “Grammarly is an automated proofreader and your personal grammar coach. Correct up to ten times more mistakes than popular word processors.”

The process is simple: copy and paste text into their text box (or upload a file) and click “smart review.” Grammarly goes to work on your text, checking more issues than I knew existed. Even though my work passed the grammar checker in my word processor, Grammarly found many more potential errors.

I pasted last week’s 190-word post into Grammarly, which showed me eleven possible errors. Ten related to contractions and personal pronouns, which I deem acceptable for bloging. The eleventh item was a misplaced comma. Comma placement, by the way, haunts me.

A longer 3,000-word short story contained 117 “issues” in the following categories:

  • Pronoun agreement
  • Use of adjectives and adverbs
  • Comparing two or more things
  • Faulty parallelism
  • Confusing modifiers
  • Verb form use
  • Conditional sentences
  • Punctuation within a sentence
  • Sentence structure
  • Wordiness
  • Passive voice use
  • Spelling
  • Commonly confused words
  • Writing style
  • Vocabulary use

That was on the “general” setting; the “casual” option presented a less confounding list of forty-six issues. It does take a while to wade through each item, and, frankly, some of the explanations are beyond my understanding, while others are more basic, being easy to comprehend and fix.

After playing around with it, I know Grammarly will definitely improve my writing. But will I take the time to actually use it?

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: Successful Author FAQs: Discover the Art of Writing, the Business of Publishing, and the Joy of Wielding Words. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book Successful Author FAQs for insider tips and insights.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

5 replies on “Does Grammar Trip Up Your Writing?”

I’m with Roxanne on that. 🙂 I think I was secretly reading books during grammar classes. Somehow I missed the lessons on correct use of the semi-colon; i before e, except after c; and hanging participles; among others. When I took a class on English grammar at MSU (30 years ago), I got a B in the class. Just too boring. I must have been ready to learn when I took a business English class at GRCC in 2001. But you really can’t tell by reading this bit of “casual” writing.

Here is my secret to avoid needing to edit my comments: once I hit post, I resist the urge to read what I wrote. That way I never know if I made a typo!

(BTW, I did fix it for you!)

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