22 March 2013

Grammar checkers reviewed

Mark Nichol of DailyWritingTips has reviewed a number of English language grammar checkers in an article entitled Grammar-Checking Software Is Soft on Grammar Errors.

I am looking for a better grammar checker than the one that comes with Microsoft Word, but I'm hardly tempted by any of those reviewed by DailyWritingTips. (I'm also looking for a better thesaurus -- specifically a thesaurus tailored to the needs of general and technical journalists... but that's another subject.)

Above, I wrote 'English language grammar checkers', but I suspect I should have said 'US English grammar checkers'. Indeed, it is interesting to note that most of the site promoting these products are aimed solely at users writing in US English.

I'm in the market for a grammar checked, but I want one that offers choices matching my personal preferences. These include:
  • spelling options (-is- vs. -iz-, US versus UK, etc.)
  • punctuation options ('inside' vs. 'outside' quotation marks, single vs. double  quotation marks, spaces around ellipses, bullet list punctuation options, etc.)
  • Oxford comma vs. optional Oxford commas
  • US vs. other adverb positioning options.
Although we sometimes appear to have a plethora of tools to choose from, there are occasions when users like me continue to search.

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