by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Does Grammarly actually work to improve writing skills

Last week an email from Grammarly landed up and set me thinking about a long standing problem.  My use of punctuation and phrasing.  When I read back some of the posts, the first reaction is to cringe.  For, even to myself, it is hard to believe that I wrote it with nuggets here and there, giving a sharp pinch at times.  So will the use of Grammarly, as against the conventional spell checkers, benefit my blog?

Let us face the reality.  A blogger on a MS Windows PC has three ready made spell check options. 
One is the spell check function built into the Windows Live Writer.  While this spell check function is good enough for spelling errors, it has absolutely no ability to check for grammar errors.


Two and 3 are the spell check functions built into the browsers and MS Office.

So how good is the Google Chrome’s spell check function used with the Blogger built-in compose window? For all the goodness of Google, grammar check is not yet their talking point. In a rough comparison, the Google spell check is slightly better than that of WLW one, for the simple reason it allows us the ability to ‘look up’ a particular word on the web.

The number three option is the spell check function built into MS Office, which is slightly better. Or is it better? Copying the same text from WLW into MS Office shows up a couple of suggestions, but it is minimal at best.

The readability statistics do not show too much to worry about. If anything the most worrying points of this post according to the MS Word spell and grammar check is the use of first person. On top there is the added nuisance of copy/pasting the text from MS Word into WLW or Blogger.

Thus given the best opportunity to try out the Grammarly, downloaded the Desktop Lite (free) version. To my horror, Grammarly does not work in WLW and instead is a replacement for MS Word’s built-in spell checker. But giving it a try makes it worthwhile. Though it requires an internet connection, the suggestions are impressive. Grammarly found 9 critical issues, eight of which were grammatical errors.

My old nemesis – the prepositions, adverbs and adjectives - were exacting the revenge for all my naughtiness to English teachers. Though the Lite (free) version does not offer corrections, with a more thorough review, I could sort out some of them.

For the rest, let us say $150 a year is too much for a skinflint like me, and leave it at that.

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