The Grammarly Effect

Professional writers and grammar nerds alike tend to correct people silently (sometimes out loud) for grammar because our brains are geared toward how words go together in the English language. However, even as writers we rely far too often on those handy grammar-checking tools, such as Grammarly; and they are not always right. Nor do these tools automatically make you a good writer. They do not check for homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings) or for words that you mistype but are still words (man instead of mane). I am a chronic re-reader for this very reason.

I cannot turn this editing off. Recently, I read this menu title: Half Roasted Chicken Sandwich. Is the sandwich half roasted? Half a chicken? or Half a sandwich? Logic would dictate it's half a sandwich, but who knows? They needed a better editor. People often dismiss this example as an anomaly, yet I see errors like these on advertisements, billboards, marquis, and news articles all the time.

In an electronic, computer, social-media, cross-cultural world, we forget to just check our words on the screen. How often do we check what we are actually saying? To communicate clearly, we must check the meaning our words are conveying. This is especially important in a global company such as ours. When we write quickly and without checking our wording and punctuation, we can either confuse or communicate incorrectly. Consider how often commas are misplaced and changing the nature of what you’re trying to tell someone.

As a content writer, I'm always checking to make sure the words I put to the page are presenting the best picture possible for the end users. My goal is to make their jobs easier and them more effective and efficient at their job. To do this, I must communicate clearly and not taking for granted that some automatic tool is correcting my grammar correctly.

This practice is not just for writers or for online content. It extends to emails and other documents sent to coworkers and supervisors, customers and colleagues, friends and family. Don’t rely on those automatic tools to make your writing clear or correct. Mean what you say and say what you mean. But, perhaps, read it aloud just to be sure you're writing what you mean to say.

Dawn Miller