"Taming" Your Computer's Grammar-Checker

The spellchecker may be one of your computer's most useful tools … but the grammar-checker is potentially one of its most dangerous.

The grammar-checker is dangerous, because doesn't really tell you what's wrong. It tells you what MIGHT be wrong. And what it flags as a mistake might actually be correct.

The problem is, grammar-checkers make suggestions for correcting these "possible" errors. And many writers automatically accept them.

Accept obviously correct suggestions like removing double-spaces between words. But if your grammar-checker flags an error in usage or punctuation – and you're not sure if it's correct – get a second opinion. My recommendation is to consult the 'bible" of grammar, "Elements of Style" by William Strunk and E. B. White.

This tiny (100 pages), inexpensive ($7.95) book should be your ultimate grammar reference. Keep it near you whenever you write … right next to your spelling dictionary.

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Published: September 27, 2004

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