Today’s question was asked by Avni, a budding author with dreams of making it big through her pen. She asked:
Apart from Word’s inbuilt spelling and grammar checker, are there any other software tools available- preferably free to use- which can help me clean up my writing of grammatical and spelling errors?
Word’s inbuilt spelling checker is pretty efficient. However, it will not correct words which are valid words but are not relevant in the context in which they have been used. For example, in the following sentence:
The sardonic eyebrow-wielding lady is no in touch with me anymore, but her spirit lives on in me.
The word to be used should have been NOT, not no. The sentence would then read:
The sardonic eyebrow-wielding lady is not in touch with me anymore, but her spirit lives on in me.
Word’s inbuilt spell checker missed the error. There are other software tools which are a little more effective. Yet even they, for similar reasons to the one stated in the example above, are not 100% accurate. Among the many software grammar checkers available, we found Grammarly to be most effective and easy to use. And it is free!
To use Grammarly for free, all you need is to download it from their site. Once you install the downloaded file, it adds itself to your Word program. When you open Word, Grammarly opens as the last menu in your menu-bar. You can keep it on while you are writing and correct your errors on the go, or you can keep it off while you write and correct all errors once you are done writing.
Grammarly detects more style, punctuation and grammar errors than Word does. It offers alternatives and suggestions based on your usage. Whether you are working in British English or American, Grammarly works wonderfully well. There are a couple of disadvantages though.
Since Grammarly maintains statistics of your usage and style preferences, it only works when you are online. We have never tried the paid version of this tool so have no idea if this limitation holds for a subscribed version also.
Another constraint is that it does not work in the Review/ Track Changes mode, which is sad for editors like us. But for writers, who don’t need to track their own changes, it works happily enough.
We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
~ Ernest Hemingway
However, but for these two drawbacks, we’ve found Grammarly to be a great tool. The best thing is that it adds-on to Word. You can use it while in Word without having to exit it and launch another program, create multiple versions of the same document and make your life even more complicated.
Have you ever used a software grammar tool? Which one? How effective did you find it?
This week’s question has been answered by one of our core team members, Dagny, whose love for the written word is deep and enduring. Her language skills and love of books help make her an efficient editor.
Note: This is NOT a sponsored post. We get no consideration from Grammarly for this recommendation. We’re just sharing our experience of this tool, which we found useful.