In the field of robotics, there is an old saying: it is possible to teach a machine anything that we learn to do after the age of 5. However, when it comes to the very basic things human beings learn before this age, this presents a problem for machines. We have developed computers that can easily beat the best chess players but we are yet to create a robot that can move like a human.
Perhaps, this unwritten law of machine learning can also explain why your computer can easily check spelling but your standard grammar checker is likely to lag significantly in terms of its accuracy and effectiveness.
A grammar checker is a piece of software embedded into a word processor that aims to find grammatical errors in your writing. In business, spelling and grammar mistakes often cost money and reputation while in education, they cost you high marks and academic success. That is why it is important to realise to what extent you can trust a standard grammar checker installed on your computer. In this article, we provide both advantages and disadvantages of this kind of software so you could get the most value out of it.
– It checks grammar
A standard grammar checker will proofread your text and identify any spelling and grammar mistakes. Ensuring it is precise and can be submitted to your tutor, colleagues, partners, or superiors. This software will suggest specific corrections and justify them using English rules about grammar so you could review your mistakes and correct them right away. In turn, this will allow you to refresh and improve your knowledge of the English language and learn from your mistakes.
– It saves your time
As all of us know, the process of proofreading can be daunting and time-consuming, especially when you need to proofread academic or technical papers. Therefore, another advantage of grammar checkers is that they save a lot of time for you since you don’t have to undergo various books to proofread your paper. Instead, you ‘outsource’ all this work to a grammar checker, which enables you to spend the saved time on some other important tasks or activities.
– It makes your documents look more presentable
Let’s face it: using a standard grammar checker makes your documents look better and more presentable. This software not only edits the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors but also improves the overall language, making your papers look more professional. Therefore, the use of a grammar checker will help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls and achieve better outcomes in business or education.
– It overlooks context
Unfortunately, standard grammar checkers have a range of limitations, which do not allow for referring to them as universally reliable instruments. One of the most notable drawbacks of this kind of software is that it is only programmed to match the words in your paper to the ones in its repository. In other words, a standard grammar checker does not verify whether the words have been used in the right place, in the right context, or in the right order.
For example, a standard grammar checker would not differentiate between ‘their’ and ‘there’ and, thus, would not let you know where you might have mistakenly used the wrong word. Moreover, standard grammar checkers can fail to detect proper nouns. While they still can detect some proper nouns, their awareness of technical terms and abbreviations is limited, which can confuse the checker or it can replace such words without any notification.
– It can’t process complex sentences
Complex sentences are another area where standard grammar checkers tend to fall short. The point is that this kind of software relies on limited rules in detecting spelling, grammatical errors and other mistakes in your paper. Simple grammar checkers use present algorithms and rules to compare what you have written with what they believe to be correct English.
The problem is that when you write complex and long sentences, these instruments often fail to detect mistakes and errors in such sentences. On the one hand, you could use well-constructed and grammatically correct sentences, even if they are viewed as too long and complex by a grammar checker. On the other hand, when passed through the eyes of the reader, a complex and long sentence with mistakes is likely to annoy them.
– It does not replace your grammar
Although grammar checkers could be very helpful in proofreading your writing and detecting punctuation and spelling mistakes, as well as grammatical errors. You should remember that they do not replace your grammar. In fact, many students and businesspersons nowadays excessively rely on grammar checkers to make their papers look better and more professional.
However, given the level of their current technological development, standard grammar checkers are still unable to detect all major errors and mistakes in your work. Therefore, you should not rely blindly on what they are telling you.
Should you use a standard grammar checker?
Standard grammar checkers should be used as complementary instruments that help you with writing, proofreading, and editing processes instead of replacing them. Your understanding of grammar and language is what makes this software effective in the first place, so this understanding should dictate the final word. It is important to know that standard grammar checkers are unable to learn English and they are just programmed to compare what you have written with what they have in their dictionaries.
In addition to standard grammar checkers embedded in word processing software, you can find numerous online checkers ready to assist you in improving your grammar and language score. Some of these solutions are free of charge while others require a paid membership so you could enjoy all their features. Generally, these checkers are much more proficient and developed to deal with some of the shortfalls of standard grammar checkers. Therefore, making them a better choice when using a checker for your writing.
While using grammar checkers can make your life easier, especially when it comes to working with academic or technical literature, they are not a substitute for your knowledge. Use them wisely to improve your writing process and maintain high writing standards.