After clicking "Skip Video" about a dozen times on YouTube, I finally watched the Grammarly ad and tried the product. In a 15-page document, the tool identified nine "critical issues," only two of which were errors, and I would hardly call them "critical": a missing serial comma (from a CNN quote) and an unnecessarily hyphenated word.
The other seven were not mistakes; if I make the recommended corrections, I will have far more grammatical problems than when I started.
The original document is a case study, "SeaWorld Responds to the Movie Blackfish."
Here are the items marked as errors:
|My Original Version||Grammarly's Correction||My Comment|
|SeaWorld, a theme-park operator||Possibly confused word. Did you mean theme park?||No, I meant to hyphenate the compound adjective.|
|several other groups cancelled performances||Cancelled is British spelling.||Technically correct, but either spelling is acceptable in the United States.|
|debate over orcas continues||Change to the plural form, continue.||No, continues follows debate, not orcas, which is part of a prepositional phrase.|
|The November 6, 2013, article||Article usage (The) is incorrect.||No, it's not: "The...article..."|
|Nowhere does the article mention SeaWorld's response.||Consider replacing the period with a question mark.||No, it's a statement, not a question.|
|The revenue up-tick may have been||Did you mean uptick?||OK! You got me. Uptick is acceptable without the hyphen.|
|Dawn Brancheau's family, friends and colleagues||Insert a comma.||This is a quotation from CNN, and yes, I should add the serial comma after friends.|
|literally millions of safe interactions||Change to million because it's modifying a noun.||No, this is a tweet quotation, and it is correct as is.|
|Also in February, SeaWorld sponsored ads on Facebook||Add a hyphen: SeaWorld-sponsored ads.||No, sponsor is a verb here, not a noun modified by SeaWorld-sponsored.|
In addition to these markings, Grammarly says I have 38 "advanced issues" that I can see if I pay for an upgrade. The upgrade also gives me access to the plagiarism checker, which sounds like a teacher's nightmare: if students change a few words, will they circumvent tools like Turnitin?
- After reading this, would you use or recommend Grammarly? It could be useful for international students, but I worry that it gives bad advice.
- Try the product on one of your own documents. How does it work for you?