1. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    Online Text Correction

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by cazann34, Dec 28, 2012.

    I've just discovered an online text correction site which helps with grammar and spelling. Are these sites worth using or are they likely to confuse rather than help?

    Whats your thoughts?
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    There's a free one that I tried which will check off where you went wrong but
    not pinpoint the mistakes. I think you have to pay for that feature.
    I use it occasionally with caution because without a written example, things
    like checking off Writing Style - is no help.

    But I usually use it for small paragraphs or just a sentence, especially if I
    think something might be wrong with them.
    The good thing about trying it out with sentences is - you can rewrite them till
    it sounds right and gets a 100% correct. And if you keep your efforts
    in a folder you can see where you went wrong.
    The bad thing - don't allow it to bully the style right out of you by making Dick
    and Jane sentences.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Such programs will make mistakes, especially for complex sentence structures. You are much better off learning grammar and spelling and editing without the help of such programs.
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agree with thirdwind - no program will do the job as well as the person who understands proper grammar, and most will miss or mis-correct the obvious (their, there, they're).
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Natural languages, especially English, are too complex for any computing automation, unless it could understand the actual meaning of the writing (context-sensitive grammars). This is way beyond today's computer science. And that's for parsing correctly constructed sentences.

    Even with the errors removed, fiction invariably includes sentence fragments and other "loose" grammar, deliberately. It is fine for human readers, and if well chosen, enhance the writing, nbut it will confuse the hell out of a correction program.

    Are spelling/grammar checkers then useless? No. They are a tool, and can help you find some errors quicker than a full proofread, as long as you don't believe everything they tell you. But don't rely on them to do the work for you. There is no substitute for a full, focused proofreading by a human who understands spelling, punctuation, and grammar (a writer).
     
  6. johann77
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    johann77 Member

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    There are online software programs that will correct your writings, but without you knowing it, they will also make a copy of what you write and then they will take it , create a website and then put it on the internet. I forget the deatails of it because it's been a while since I read that. But if you don't mind them making copies of what you write, put it on a website and put it out on the internet then go ahead. You should only use software on your own computer.
     
  7. Nighthunter
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    Nighthunter Member

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    I tend to sometimes use these, but in the end its better to try and become confident in your own writing and perhaps only use it to double check.
     
  8. johann77
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    johann77 Member

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    I'm not saying the programs are bad, I'm saying that you don't want to put copywrighted material on there and you especially don't want to put personal stuff on there, which is what they warn you about. I have put some stuff on those sites, their pretty good. If your going to put writings on there that are just for practice and you don't care about them, fine. Personally I'll use software on my computer.
     
  9. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'd just second what Johann said. Don't put your work online. At the point you do you've fairly much lost control of it. Download whatever software you want to use, and use it on your own machine, off the net.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There's a difference between prudence and paranoia. Yes, by all means, keep your personal information private. But if your writing contains that kind of personal information, what are you thinking?

    Know your rights under copyright law. Yes, someone might get an advance peek at your writing, but they dare not redistribute it. You have all your original notes and drafts (don't throw them away!), and that is your primary proof of copyright.

    Trust me, no one is that interested in wading through thousands of horrible samples of writing to try to steal the occasional gem. The cost of getting caught is too high and the effort required would be Herculean. Yeah, there are idiots who copy posted writing from the Internet and try to pass it off as their own. They are generally caught before they do any real harm, and most of them can tell craft from crap anyway. If they did, they'd be writing their own material. Mostly they do it for some attention.

    I agree it's a good idea to know who you are dealing with on the Internet. If your correction site is part of a known university (often the case), you're pretty safe. If it's some random site with poor spelling in the content, and flashing ads plastered all over it, then look elsewhere. If they ask for a lot of personal information, walk away.

    And that goes double for the software you install on your computer.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no to the first half of the question and yes to the second... the best grammar/spelling checker is the writer's brain... if you really need such a program, i would say you really need to work on your basic writing skills, instead...
     

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