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Grammar checkers and word processors

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I use the free version of Microsoft Word 2010 that came with my laptop. I like Word, but I have a question about the grammar checker. Sometimes I set it to check as I write and sometimes I wait until I proofread. It can get distracting when I'm in the zone and really getting down. I also find that it corrects the same "mistake" even after I follow what it tells me to do. Basically, its gotten to the point where I use it just to remind me when I'm writing a long and ponderous run-on sentence that never seems to end and twists around in convoluted turns that sometimes resemble the twists and turns in a photograph of a brain that one sees in those before and after demonstrations of.... oh, dear. Where was I? Oh, run-on sentences. Yes, I have a tendency to do that, and so I use Word's grammar checker basically for that and little else.

I use:


and Strunk and White at Bartleby.com for questions I have, but does anyone have thoughts on Word's grammar checker, ways to use it better, etc., or do you find it a waste of time and a distraction? Do you have suggestions for online grammar help? Actually, I also use an ancient copy of Fowler (even though I'm not a Briton from the twenties) and an almost as ancient copy of the Harbrace Guide I used in college in the seventies.

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Word's grammar checker is terrible. It contstantly confuses its and it's, it wants me to change grammatically valid text to something that's invalid. Ugh.

I tried Grammarly. It's worse than Word's grammar checker for literary works. Maybe it would be okay for checking my Thesis, but I didn't have time to check that out in the time I had left in my evaluation period. The other problem is this puppy is expensive, even with the student discount.

So stick with Strunk and White. I use The Writer's Digest Grammar Desk Reference by Gary Lutz and Diane Stevenson, Writer's Digest Books. I also like Painless Grammar by Rebecca Elliott, Barron's. It's a handy (not too many pages) paperback and has larger more easily readable type than the Writer's Digest book.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Colin, ignore the red and green underlining until you are done writing. I agree, if you stop and wonder at every little hint these grammar and spelling programs throw at you then you will lose your train of thought.

I'm not saying ignore them completely, but the time to address the underlined cues is at the end during your editing phase. Maybe they have a valid reason to flag you, or not. The spell checker is weak on certain terms and hates me when I write dialogue. I wish there was some way to say "I know" back to the program, or "leave me alone, I know it's a fragment." :lol:

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Don't use Word's grammar checker. It's totally ridiculous. Especially if you're writing dialog, which we all do. Try to make something sound like the way people actually speak and you'll get green lines all over the place. I turn the thing off.

I don't much like their spellchecker, either, as I've been known to use words of which they don't approve but which are perfectly accptable in other dictionaries. Often. Oops. Oops again. No verbs in those sentences.


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I write using Libreoffice these days. I like Scrivener but their Linux support is poor, so until that's remedied I use Libreoffice. The grammar checker is so-so. Mostly I ignore it, other than to scoff at what it's telling me, but I have to admit it has found a few significant things for me from time to time. For non-electronic help, I have my abridged OED by my desk, a thesaurus, and a copy of "The Canadian Writer's Handbook" that I've had since college.

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