06-13-2011 07:47 AM
I am looking at buying a grammar software package but can not find any good reviews on them.
Does anyone out there use a software program to help with punctuation, spelling and all those little details that seem to elude us when ever we prepare our work. That is until we have our work in print and then, as soon as you open the pages, they jump out and poke you in the eye with their obviousness.
If so which ones work and which ones are a waste of money and why?
06-13-2011 08:22 AM
I have to confess my bane is in tackling the copyedit/proofreading stages of my manuscript.
The Top 2010 Writing Enhancement Software Products
Whitesmoke writer 2010 $79.95
Writer’s Workbench $100.00
Grammar Expert Plus $59.95
Grammarly Free ? (to a point!)
Clear Edits $79.95
These software products work by employing sophisticated routines to check grammatical errors, looking for common writing problems. They can highlight individual writing habits and particular weaknesses. The better ones in my mind try to act as a good editor, marking up a manuscript with explanations and suggestions for the writer to decide whether to rectify them or not.
As to the above list, most were either beyond my modest budget, the trials overly complicate, or just plain intrusive. I judged them overly complicated if they involved multiple cut & paste actions or relied on an online connection to achieve an end result. As to intrusive, that was based on the depth of their takeover and rejection of my writing style, substituting or deleting my word usage (not always wrong), wordy phrases, clichés, slang, jargon, etc.
Surprisingly enough and yet the most obvious place to begin was with MS Word 2007. After reading several articles, I discovered a number of settings that provide additional alerts/prompt to errors of grammar and missing punctuation, even a method of rating readability. You are aware of the red underline for spelling mistakes and the green for highlighting grammatical errors, in addition is a blue underline indicating possible wrong word usage (the obvious ones being their, there to, too etc.)
StyleWriter4 is an add-on that displays all your editing problems at the same time. It includes key statistics clarity of style, sentence length, a measure of the most common writing problems. It marks up your word document showing how to edit each sentence and offers alternatives to change the text.
Editor - Serenity Software - works off line. In opening Editor, you chose DRAFT and USAGE from the Main Menu to run on your selected document. Your text is analysed with FIX, SPELL 1, SPELL 2, TIGHTEN, POLISH, CONSIDER. The first three look for problems with spelling, word use, and punctuation, matters that may require immediate consideration. The other three focus on style: wordiness, redundancy, clichés, trite expressions, overly formal or pompous diction, empty modifiers, jargon, slang terms, and other possible problems with style and tone.
For more information about editing/proofreading visit the Apps and Tips page of www.CaxtonQuills.co.uk
06-13-2011 08:52 AM - edited 06-13-2011 08:53 AM
Even using a s/w package will miss many errors.
I believe that is cheaper and far more effective to use the services of someone like Faith Carroll to proof and correct you copy.
06-13-2011 02:16 PM
'Grammar enhancement software'...
Waste of money. No computer can do the job of somebody who understands and appreciates the proper use of grammar.
Furthermore, grammar is highly dependent on the writing style of the author. we all differ!
All that this garbage does is to waste your time and money.
Use somebody who likes to read and critique.
It ain't gonna break the bank.
06-13-2011 02:34 PM - edited 06-13-2011 03:14 PM
It's crap. Common sense tells you that using nonhuman anything to edit dynamic human language is a waste of time, money and sanity. And I'm not saying this because I'm an editor. I'm saying this because it's a fact, Jack. I bought, ok, bought Editor. I wanted my authors to have the best experience their money could buy: an editor and editing software. What could be better, right? Huh. I threw it away and demanded my money back. It doesn't know INTENT, for starters! Oh God forbid you are editing a High Fantasy novel! Talk about a friggin' headache! And regional dialects, idioms, and syntax? Hmmph. Forget it, not unless you want to spend the first day adding or ignoring words to its dictionary!
Nope, I'll trust to my education, experience, and competent editors, proofreaders, and beta readers.
Edit: PS: Hey, Col, how've you been? Of course you know I was going to knock down the editing software ;-). What, no poem for us?
06-13-2011 02:59 PM
Well said, Faith!
And we all know that syntax is what 'ladies of the night' and bankers pay to the tax department...
PS Joking apart, these kind of programs are an absolute waste of money.
PPPS It's 'programmes' actually, for UK readers.
PPPPS I'm not on commission from Faith.
PPPPPS Faith, do you pay commission?
06-13-2011 03:11 PM - edited 06-13-2011 03:12 PM
PPPPPS Faith, do you pay commission?
Yep----in Kudos! Here, have two.
06-13-2011 03:44 PM
I guess from these few feedbacks, newfrontier you might understand why there are no good independent reviews.
I suggest three steps,
(1) Formulate your own opinion by downloading and using a free trial offer of the software available.
(2) Pay for a critique on a sample of your work.
(3) Take a course on proofreading techniques.
Short of doing any of these, there is plenty of free advice in how to improve your writing skills and check for those spelling, grammar and punctuation indiscretions. If you do decide to use a copyedit/proofreading service, for starters take a look at Have Faith Proofreading.
Hi Ken and just for you Faith as always I try to be topical.
Spelling, Grammar, Punctuation
Why how annoying I know,
Are all the little mistakes I sow,
Even when writing at my best,
It all becomes a shadowy jest,
Why the lengthy text that I demote,
And all the misspelling that I wrote,
Then maybe a wrong tense deduction,
Or inappropriate word construction,
Then, I can hear you all clamour,
What about the lack of grammar,
As to my syntax and morphology,
Why should I make any apology,
Then there’s the vice I cannot beat,
That leaves my work so incomplete,
In separating to manageable groups,
It’s why my punctuation is just oops,
Three words that can and do unzip,
Turn a sentence into a comic strip,
Its sense, meaning not understood,
A word, phrase or clause no good,
So if in reading my literary attempt,
You feel a need to make comment,
Correcting an error as you might
Highlighting the errors of my plight,
Well naturally I welcome the criticism,
It must help understand this mysticism,
However, be careful what you say or do,
Just to let you know, I’m trained in Kung Fu.
06-13-2011 03:58 PM - edited 06-13-2011 04:03 PM
Been busy doing some research. Egypt with my son earlier this year (no jokes we didn’t start anything ‘onest) and a trip soon to Cyprus. Still look in on the forum from time to time and I’m still writing. Next challenge when I find some time is to brush up on the html to convert for kindle formats and do a bit more promotional.