English grammar checker
March 16, 2012 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Do you know any English grammar checker?

I'm not looking for a simple spell checker, but a real grammar checker, in order to improve my written English. In French speaking countries, we use Antidote, is there something similar for English?
posted by - to Technology (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
On notice boards around most college campuses I've been to you didn't have to look very hard to find a notice advertising the services of a starving english major to proofread/grammar check things for you.

I know that's probably not what you're looking for but if all else fails, and I fear it might because I'm a native speaker of English who is also pretty tech savvy/educated and like to think I would have seen or heard of something like this if it was in any way worth it, that might be a decent option.

That said, I've never decided to seek out such a program either...
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:21 AM on March 16, 2012

Microsoft Word also has a grammar checker. It's a bit simple, though.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on March 16, 2012

You could try SpellCheckPlus, the English counterpart to the French version, BonPatron. It will explain the reasoning behind any proposed changes to your text, and distinguishes between usages that are possibly wrong and definitely wrong in both your spelling and grammar. There is a character limit for users that are not paid subscribers, but I've used the French version as a non-paid user without ever finding the limitations too annoying.
posted by lookoutbelow at 8:30 AM on March 16, 2012

This is an anti-recommendation: Microsoft Word comes with one built in, but I would seriously advise against relying on it, especially if you don't already know the rules.
posted by griphus at 8:31 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Agreeing with griphus about not using the MS Word grammar checker; sometimes, it's flat-out wrong. English is a weird mix of languages, and there are so many odd rules that I'm not sure it could be successfully operationalized into a computer program. I think RolandOfEld has it: find a proofreader.

/former English teacher
posted by smirkette at 9:01 AM on March 16, 2012

it > they (bad English teacher! :slaps self:)
posted by smirkette at 9:02 AM on March 16, 2012

Ghotit was very useful for my dyslexic students. You can use the free online portion for short bits or buy the program for something more robust (I haven't tried the full version).
posted by adorap0621 at 9:24 AM on March 16, 2012

As a copy editor, I would advise hiring a person instead of investing in a program. There is no program that is as good as a human.

Word's grammar checker is OK, but can be wrong--you'll find it doesn't do well with subject-verb agreement in complex clauses, and it makes the wrong suggestions for that/which errors. It also won't catch or will miscorrect word usage errors ("I was tired and went to bed" vs. "I was tired and want to bed." Instead of catching the misspelling of "went" it might tell you that that "want" was the wrong tense based on your previous "was" and suggest "wanted" instead--which does not solve your problem.)
posted by elizeh at 10:01 PM on March 16, 2012

I use After the Deadline extensions in my browser for grammar and spell check. I don't know how robust it is compared to other products. It might be worth a try.
posted by andendau at 11:08 PM on March 16, 2012

I agree with the anti-recommendation of Word's grammar checker. I advise my ESL students against it unless they have a highly fluent friend with them to check every recommendation. (Of course, if they do, they're better off just getting the friend to read their writing.)
posted by wintersweet at 6:09 PM on March 17, 2012

Grammarly.com is what my PR department uses; I think it's one of the few web-based services worth subscribing to.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:13 AM on March 18, 2012

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