Freelance Blog + technology

Guest Post: Pros and Cons of Automated Grammar Review Tools

Editor's Note: When Dan sent this idea, I had reservations. Call me old school, but I think self-editing is an important skill for writers to cultivate. Still, I use technology in a variety of other ways, so maybe there is something to automated grammar tools. Per my request, Dan agreed to focus on the pros and cons of these tools. I expect this will spark a lively debate in the comments section. But whatever your viewpoint, I hope you'll keep comments respectful. By Dan Hinckley

The ability to write correct sentence structure, punctuation, and spelling is so important to learn in today’s world. With technologies like text messaging, instant messaging, and chat rooms, communication methods have been accelerating and as a result English grammar rules are often ignored.

Experts believe technologies are breeding grounds for contractions, abbreviations, and poor grammar. In fact, it's not expected to always follow formal grammar rules when communicating through these modern communication platforms.

Unfortunately the lack of following grammar rules through modern technologies has allowed these habits to trickle into the classroom and everyday workforce. What many individuals do not understand is their inability to write formally when required may haunt them for their entire lives if unchanged.

Writing skills are a crucial element in the academic world, and even more important in the business world. It will be difficult for people to even get an interview if resumes and cover letters are not written in the correct format. Once hired, promotions will never come if you release emails to co-workers riddled with grammar mistakes.

New grammar checking tools like Grammarly have emerged to assist writers produce content that follows English grammar rules and correct the bad habits developed with lazy writing on electronic devices. These grammar tools can be a great resource, but can also have a negative effect on your writing. Below you’ll find a few Pros and Cons of using automated grammar tools.

grammar check

Pros - How Automated Grammar Tools Can Help Your Writing

Grammar checking applications are a great starting point for getting feedback on your written work. They offer a number of features that can improve your writing:
  1. Grammar tools are programed to read through your writing and check each punctuation mark against all possible punctuation rules.
  2. They are also excellent at finding typos can often be overlooked by peer-reviews. For example, it's not uncommon for writers to type two words in a row, these tools will identify these possible mistakes and ask if you meant to do this.
  3. Grammar checking tools are also programed to find fragmented sentences, as well as sentence run-ons you might have missed.
  4. Possibly the most important thing grammar tools offer is they help alleviate embarrassment from peers. It is often a good idea to have an automated tool check your work before having peers review it.
  5. They can also teach you correct grammar if you pay attention to the changes they prompt you to make.

Cons - Problems with Automated Grammar Tools

Even though grammar tools can be positive, and are essential for writers to use, they can have negative affects on your writing. Below are a handful of ways that grammar tools can have a negative impact on your writing:
  1. Writers often blindly accept all suggestions from an automated grammar tools may damage the correctness of their work while failing to learn anything about the mistakes they have made. Writers need to understand why grammar tools are suggesting changes to their work so they do not continue to make the same mistake in future works.
  2. Grammar checking tools may try and make changes that disrupt the flow of a sentence. Computers are never as effective as a human being with the ability to make sure a sentence makes sense.
  3. Relying solely on these tools as the only source of editing and grammar check can seriously hinder your ability to produce high quality content.
Grammar tools can be great resources to help writers produce higher quality content. However, they need to be accompanied by writing lab time and even peer review. If you spend the time to learn how to write you will save your self time, produce quality works, and become a better writer and communicator.
Dan Hinckley is a partner at MangoCo, a website design company in Northern Virginia. In addition to building websites he runs a number of blogs across the web and loves writing interesting content for them.

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