I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I ain’t near as smart as I think I am.
Oh, before I forget, this is the first of the month, so pop over and read this month’s Hot Flash.
I got an email from a very nice fellow at Grammarly, offering me a gift certificate to Amazon if I posted about writing with a link to Grammarly. In case you don’t know what it is, Grammarly is an online proofreading service. You upload your text, run it through their editor, and their bot tells you what mistakes you’ve made and, it says here, helps you correct them.
It’s pretty slick, and I can see why I might actually shell out some cash money to use it. I’m highly disappointed in their try-out, though, and here’s why.
I wrote this story:
by Marian Allen
It isn’t but one thing in the world I’m afraid of, and that’s a English teacher. They useta be this one that th’owed a eraser at me ever time I said something the wrong way, and I seemed to always be saying something the wrong way.
And wouldn’t you know, I was doing fine ripping off convenience stores and this one guy turns out to be a English teacher laid off or something?
I says, “This here’s a stickup.”
“This is a stickup,” he says.
“Who’re you, Little Sir Echo? I want all them bills outa the cash reshter.”
“You want all those bills out of the cash register.”
So I hit him upside the head with my gun. And now I’m doing extra time for assault and battery.
Damn, I hate me a English teacher!
~ * ~
Deliberately weak in grammar and usage, just to see what Grammarly would do with it, yes?
I ran it through their editor and got this:
So it told me, generally, what class of errors I had, but I couldn’t access the specific errors. Still, it’s good to know I really did probably write the story myself, and wasn’t channeling some yahoo.
Well, thinks I, maybe I need to register for the free trial before I can try it.
So I registered for the site, but guess what? You can’t sign up for a free trial without signing on for a paid subscription. You pay, you get a 7-day free trial, to see if you like it. At $29.95 a month, no thank you at the moment, but quite possibly later.
However, having registered, I was able to refine my scan thusly:
I could choose a default style (Creative, in this case), which scans differently. My score went from 41 to 52 out of 100, because Grammarly excluded some “mistakes”, rightly seeing them as creative license. Of course, I can only assume it excluded the correct ones, since I still only had the generalized report.
Finally, I cut and pasted this post, excluding the story, to see how that came out.
I subsequently got an email from the Grammarly site, saying that I could cancel any time during the 7-day free trial, but I had to input a payment method before the trial could begin.
Still, would Little Miss Tightwad EVER want to pay $30 for a month’s use?
After I’ve written a book, after I’ve run it past my beta readers, after I’ve done the rewrites, when I’ve looked at it so often I can’t see mistakes anymore, I need a dispassionate set of ocular input receptors to catch what the meat sacks have missed.
If I didn’t have beta readers, a husband who’s a retired English teacher, or a mother who is death on errors, or if I wrote many novels a year, it would be worth it.
If I were writing technical, business, or academic papers, especially several a month, it would totally be worth running them through a scan to catch and correct formal errors.
The price per month goes down if you pay by the quarter, and way down if you pay by the year.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character who believes he or she has done something perfectly is criticized by a stranger.
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