All the Way Home blog post #20 – Grammarly

With the human editing done, we’re letting the software tools have a crack at the manuscript. This week, it was a tool called Grammarly.

Grammarly runs through the text, looking for errors in spelling, punctuation, word usage, etc. The premium version can also give styling input, but I’ll be using ProWritingAid (coming soon) for that.

It’s amazing how much auto-correction your brain does while you’re reading! Chapter One is so important that, for the first few weeks, I would review it at the beginning of evey writing session. I’ve probably reviewed Chapter 1 at least a dozen times, and Jean has reviewed it a couple of times as well. Nevertheless, Grammarly immediately found one missing word and one duplicated word.

Sometimes, even when Grammarly flags an issue I can’t see it. I had written, “… few few …” in one place. Grammarly flagged the second few, confused as to what it might be modifying. I stared at the passage for a considerable time, bewildered, before my brain finally let me see what was so plainly written there.

Going chapter by chapter, I can easily see that, typo-wise, I have good days and, well, not-so-good days. Some chapters are nearly error-free, and others, um, not-so. But I noticed that the not-so chapters are all chapters that I really enjoyed writing. I think I get too excited about the story and the words just pour out – perhaps a little too quickly sometimes.

Being an engineer, I keep track of it all – on a spreadsheet, naturally. In all, Grammarly found 61 bonafide errors in 282 pages (that’s about one every 4 or 5 pages). There were also 51 times where it flagged something that wasn’t actually wrong, but caused me to make a modification anyway. I’ve learned that, when Grammarly gets confused, it’s well to stop a moment and consider whether the reader might get confused as well.

So, that’s 112 “fixes” in one form or another from 250 items that Grammarly flagged – about 50%. Not bad at all, considering how difficult most of these issues are to find with the naked (biased) eye!

Still, there are a few things I wish I could change about Grammarly. First, I’d like to turn off its “overused words” check inside dialog tags. They’re overused words because people use them, a lot, when speaking.

Also, I wish I could “teach” it some things about our dance terminology – like the word “teach” can be a noun in “our world”!

But, it was well worth the 3 hours and 36 minutes I spent on it (I told you, I track these things!).

Just for fun, I threw the text of this post into Grammarly after Jean had reviewed it. Grammarly flagged eight issues. Seven of them were false alarms, but it did find where I had spelled “every” as “evey” in the fifth paragraph. I decided to leave it alone – as a test. Did you catch it?

On to ProWritingAid!