Regular daily blogging means writing five or more 1,000+ word pieces about a wide array of topics and that is just for one blog. That’s a lot of writing. With that much writing, mistakes are bound to slip in (Here comes the Grammar Checker Tools).
You won’t catch everything in your proofreading phase. Sometimes it’s even an amazing feat to go a week without publishing a typo.
To help alleviate these problems, as good technophiles and bloggers, we turn to software tools to assist us. What follows are eight sources of grammar and spelling checks you can use (grammar checker tools). Ofcourse, you rarely need to use more than one or two. This list is to present you with options to find the one you like best.
Just remember; no tool will work better than a fluent knowledge of the language. Some grammar checker tools can and will suggest mistakes and none of them will catch everything.
Grammarly generally cites as the best of the online grammar checkers, and with good reason. It has a very robust dictionary of common errors and it has an adaptive algorithm to help detect other issues that may crop up.
Also includes a basic level of Copyscape-style functionality, checking an index of webpages for plagiarism or false positives stemming from quoted content. It catches a number of correctly spelled but misused words as well, helping eliminate the to/too/two and there/their/they’re errors, and some others.
Grammarly isn’t free. Pricing varies depending on how often you pay. They do offer a free trial, however, so give them a chance and see if they’re worth the price. If so, you may be a subscriber.
Where Grammarly is a web application, Ginger is a local app installed as a plugin in one of your common writing applications. It offers a comprehensive grammar check and a phrasing dictionary to help you avoid too-often repeated phrases.
It includes a dictionary that gives you connotations instead of strict dictionary definitions, and it has an active tutor function to help teach you about the errors you make and why they’re errors. Finally, the program has a text to speech reader that lets you hear your content. If you benefit from reading aloud in your proofing, Ginger can fill that role.
Ginger, like Grammarly, is not free. They offer two different monthly plans, one with the basic plugin and one with the text reader, rephraser, tutor and other useful features.
Microsoft Word actually has a very robust grammar and spelling checker built into the software. The caveat is that you need to dig into menus to customize it before it works as well for you as it potentially can. Word has a whole host of grammar check options, but many of them are disabled by default. Go through and enable them all, then selectively disable the ones that nag you about issues that aren’t really issues. It can take a while to get the settings just right.
Of course, Word isn’t free either. You may have a copy of Microsoft Office, or you might need to get it; either way, it’s a whole application, not just a grammar check. If the investment is a little much, consider the open-source alternatives, OpenOffice, or LibreOffice.
Also found directly at http://www.polishmywriting.com/, After the Deadline offers both a web app and a series of downloadable utilities. It’s more basic than the above tools, but it works smoothly when integrated with other software, such as bbPress, Chrome, Firefox, or WordPress. You can even add it as a bookmarklet, to call it up on any page with a text submission box you’re typing in.
AtD primarily points out spelling and grammar errors, but it also includes a basic style checker to help identify when your writing is coldly impersonal or too formal for your needs. It takes some getting used to, and you should never accept all of its suggestions on faith, but it can point out some errors you didn’t know you had.
Initially used for academic papers, PaperRater has grown to work very well for blog posts around the Internet. Like all of the above tools, it offers grammar, spelling, and style suggestions based on its own database of errors and common phrases. It also, like Grammarly, includes plagiarism detection features and gives you feedback about how much, if any, of your content has been outright copied.
PaperRater is a free service supported by advertising, which can be disruptive when you’re checking a number of blog posts at once. The monthly fee for an ad-free version is minimal, so it can be very well worth the investment.
Is all of this too much for you? Do you need nothing more than a basic spelling and grammar check, like what’s built into MSWord, but you don’t want to pay for the office suite? Do you need it to be hosted on the web, to remain accessible from any remote location? Online Correction is exactly that. It’s simple and quick. It won’t judge your style or offer to tutor you in your mistakes.
Online Correction is completely free. It’s little more than an unadorned text box and a submission button on the page. Unfortunately, it can’t handle large volumes of text at once; you may need to break up your longer posts and run them through one piece at a time.
SlickWrite is exactly that; a very slick application. Click over and view the demo to see. It plugs in a selection of Sherlock Holmes to display a range of features, including labeling different parts of speech, pointing out repeated opening words, and a host of other style suggestions.
In another tab, it points out simple and complex sentences by color coding, with the balanced sentences in between. In yet another tab, it highlights sentences based on the recurring words in the passage, giving you an idea of the uniqueness and flow of the post.
And that, if you skip over to the settings tab, is just the basics. SlickWrite has dozens of options to check, each with a host of errors involved. Best of all, the whole thing is free.
All of the above tools are just that tools. Applications. Software. None of them have the human mind behind them, not in a direct way. They’re all just automation. Not so with ProofreadNOW; the company is a service through which you hire the time of an actual human proofreader.
ProofreadNOW has a range of possible prices, depending on the length of your piece, the depth of the content, the detail of the review and the specified turnaround time.
Frankly, the service (Grammar checker tools) can be invaluable for projects you absolutely need another set of eyes on. For regular weekly blog posts, it’s probably overkill, unless you’re not a native speaker and you don’t have the fluency you need.
Given the pricing, it’s generally best to reserve this service for your ebooks and whitepapers, not your general blog.