About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

Read more ...

Blog Search


(Supports AND)

Google Ads

Feed

Subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog.

See this post for info on full versus truncated feeds.

Quote

I can't complain
but sometimes I still do
Life's been good to me
so far


— Joe Walsh



Navigation





<September 2018>
SMTWTFS
2627282930311
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30123456

Categories

  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  
  RSS  

Contact

Email me

Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 9/21/2018

Totals
Posts - 2522
Comments - 2582
Hits - 2,081,911

Averages
Entries/day - 0.45
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 374

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 12:17 PM Pacific


  08:45 AM

There was an article in the Seattle P-I on Monday about the limitations of the grammar checker in Microsoft Word. Here's a cite:
[Some whiner] has crafted and posted for public download several documents containing awful grammar. Depending on the version and settings, the Word grammar checker sometimes detects a few of the problems. But it overlooks the majority of them -- skipping misplaced apostrophes, singular-plural inconsistencies, missing articles, sentence fragments, improper capitalization and other problems.

An excerpt from one of his documents: "Marketing are bad for brand big and small. You Know What I am Saying? It is no wondering that advertisings are bad for company in America, Chicago and Germany. ... McDonald's and Coca Cola are good brand. ... Gates do good marketing job in Microsoft."

With examples like that passing through unflagged, Krishnamurthy questions whether Microsoft should even offer the grammar-checking feature in its existing state.
Devising computer algorithms to check grammar is what's termed a "hard problem." The article notes that Corel's grammar checker is better than the one in Word, and they quote various people as saying that the Word grammar checker could be better. Quite likely true.

But I'll repeat my own view, the basis of which I think is neatly captured by this quote from the article:
[L]ast year, one student turned in a badly written report.

"The least you could have done is run spell-check and grammar-check," Krishnamurthy said.

"But I did!" the student said.
My view being that:
  • Grammar checkers are an aid, not a fix.
  • No one should ever let a machine override human judgement in matters of language.
  • Any kid who turns in a paper with obvious grammar errors and then blames the software should be put into remedial writing class. (And anyone who can't write grammatical sentences at the college level shouldn't be at the college level anyway ...)

P-I article via Anu Garg's AWADMail.

[categories]   , , ,

|