Tuesday, March 29, 2005


MS Word Help Me Right Real Good

Computing is supposed to make us more efficient, more productive, and generally happier. There was a great article today in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/217802_grammar28.asp about how Word's grammar checker is certainly below acceptable. I rarely use it, and when I do it's just for a rough first pass (I actually prefer dumping text into WordPerfect because its thesaurus is always running in a toolbar).

All of us who write for all or part of our living have had adventures in all types of grammar checking software. I was a user way back when RightWriter and Grammatik were available only in DOS, and I have the scars to prove it.

Inspired by the article, I tested this sentence, with some interesting results: The quick brownly fox jumpeded over the lazie back dog's.
Lotus Word Pro: no grammar problems detected.
WordPerfect: The quick brown ly fox jumped over the laze back dog's.
StarOffice/OpenOffice: no grammar checker.
MS Word XP: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy back dogs. (not so bad, considering, and the MS folks can say that their delivered superior performance compared to their weak and substandard competitors)

The article did remind me of a newspaper headline from the TV show Police Squad with Leslie Nielsen: "Dyslexia Found Cure". I think it would pass through every checker without detection.

One day, grammar checking software will be nearly flawless. By then, my voice wreck ignition software will work real good, too.

Another entertaining article about grammar hit the Associated Press yesterday: http://www.billingsgazette.com/index.php?id=1&display=rednews/2005/03/28/build/state/65-apostrophe-society.inc

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