Tag Archives: Grammarly

#MondayBlogs 6 Tools to Improve Your Grammar

23 Nov

Intro:

Every writer needs an editor, but before that, every writer needs to edit for themselves. It’s always best to make your manuscript the best manuscript you can before you hire someone else to help on top of that. Because of this need, I am excited to share today’s article with you. Sarah Whitson is here to help you help yourself with six tools for your grammar.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

6 Tools to Improve Your Grammar by Sarah Whitson

Whether you’re a writer, a novelist, or simply a student who would like to revisit English language skills once in a while, your top concern will always be how well you’re doing when it comes to grammar. Grammar is undoubtedly the trickiest part of learning a language because there aren’t always concrete rules to determine why something is said the way it is said.

Excessive use of slang, colloquial language, idiomatic expressions, and verbally spoken incorrect grammar also distort grammar rules, making it even more difficult for linguists and writers to get the hang of the latest grammar rules and making sense of it all. A recent article published on the Business Insider reveals how a Harvard linguist debunked many grand grammar myths, transforming the way we think about words such as “like“ and “as”, along with many other terms and usages.

So, what should keep you up-to-date with grammar rules and areas where you may need improvement? Here are X tools that might help.

  • Grammarly: If you often use word processors to type up your writings, here is a tool that will help spot your grammar mistakes– andwork ten times better than the typical default grammar checker, of course. Grammarly can spot and fix 250+ mistakes that MS Words can’t find. You can also add Grammarly to your browser and double check mistakes even when you’re using Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, or using other websites where you may have to write.
  • New York Times-Grammar and Usage Section: The infamous NYT dedicates an entire section to “grammar and usage” that includes commentary on grammar and archival texts published related to the topic.Find out what professional linguists have to say about grammar rules in the latest articles.

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  • Writing Forward: Writing Forward is a creative blog founded by Melissa Donovan, a creative writer qualified with a BA in English from Sonoma State University. Donovan aims to provide writers with tips and ideas along with posts about grammar, good writing habits and practices, and tons of exercises to keep your language in shape.
  • Grammar Blog: If bad grammar gives you the pet peeves (whether it’s someone else’s or your own) join the Grammar blog! This blogattempts to “mock poor grammar” (and they mean that literally). Grammar blog will (jokingly) point out places where people went against the sacredrules of grammar and point out how they could have been used properly. You can also directly ask the blog’s team anything you like related to grammar with a quick email.
  • White Smoke Anywhere: This tool is an all-in-one English correction tool. The complete and comprehensive software aims to perfect your English with advanced techniques. The tools will check your spelling, grammar, as well as sentence structures. This is a great tool to use while writing a dissertation papers through Dissertation mall. You can install the software on your desktop computer, smart phone, tablet, browser or anywhere where you write digitally! Translation capability enables text translation for over 45 different languages. Oh, and if that wasn’t already enough, there is also a plagiarism checker.
  • Paper Rater: Paper rater is a free online tool that will proofread your text and point out spelling and grammar mistakes. Unlike other software, you won’t have to signup, download, and install this tool for it to work. Apart from grammar checking, Paper Rater also double-checks plagiarism from over 10 billion documents. Paper rater also offers writing suggestions that will help improve your writing style. Simply hit the “Use Now For Free” button, copy paste the text, and get a report. A paid version will enable faster processing, file upload capability, and an enhanced plagiarism checker.

About Author: Sarah Whitson is a creative writer, mostly helping those students who lack English language skills.

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in December, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

You’re Spell Check is All Ways Write

16 Jul

You’re Spell Check is All Ways Write

If you’re a writer or a reader, you probably just had a panic attack due to my horribly written title. Fortunately, you don’t have to correct me. I know it’s wrong. It’s terribly wrong. But here’s the funny part: my spellchecker didn’t even underline that sentence. In fact, according to a few technology programs, the title isn’t wrong at all, and that is why I love editors so much. Real editors. Human editors. Don’t get me wrong. I love programs that aid us just as much as the next writer. In fact, I have some of my favorite ones linked to below, but we can’t rely only on them, and that is what I’m talking about today. I have FINALLY uploaded Episode 3 to my YouTube channel – Coffee & Cats – and I hope you enjoy it! If you aren’t into watching videos, don’t worry. Skip below.

Basically, in this video, I pick up Seconds Before Sunrise – a professionally edited novel – and text a small excerpt to myself. Granted, I know texting is not an editing tool, but I think this autocorrect experiment, especially since it is already professionally edited, shows a valid point about how writers should still hire an editor after using technology. For comparison reasons (and great laughter) here were the two excerpts: (On a side note, this particular excerpt on page 155 is told from Jessica’s perspective when she is drunk, so even the real excerpt might seem a little strange because of that. In the texting version, I italicized everything my autocorrect changed.)

Real excerpt:

I didn’t answer because I didn’t know. My head was spinning too fast to collect my thoughts, let alone my feelings, so I buried myself with silence. My body tingled, and the feeling, somehow, seemed familiar in the darkness. The overwhelming vision of flying flowed through my veins, and I shifted from side to side as if I would take off at any moment.

It was beautiful. The sky, I mean. It was clearer than anything else around me, and the midnight color mixed with the stormy clouds like an obscure painting. I wanted to paint right now – right now, like how Robb and Linda weren’t together right now.

Robb grabbed my arm. “Are you even listening to me?” His face swayed from side to side, and I could smell the bar on him.

Texting version: 

I didn’t as cms answer because I didn’t know. My head was singing too fast to collect my thoughts, let alone my feelings, sui I buried myself with silence. My body tingle and the feeling, somehow, seemed family in the darkness.,the overwhelming vision of flying flowed though my veins, and I shifted from side to side as if I would take I d at Abu moment.

It was beautiful, the sky,I mean. It was clever than anything else around me, and the midnight color mixed with the story clouds like an obscure painting. I wanted to paint right New..right new right now, like how rib and Linda weren’t further away right new.

Rib grabbed my arm. “Are you listening ruby?His face swatted from dude to suffer, and I could Angel the car on him.

Pretty bad, right? I just wanted to take this last section to clarify that I still encourage technology use. In fact, I love my Dragon Dictate, the Hemingway App, and my Grammarly account. I often use these throughout my writing process. If you know of a great app, be sure to share it below! Or tell us who your favorite editor is. I cannot thank my beta readers or my editors enough, but here’s a shout out to my amazing team: Tyler, Raul, Kyle, Atheil, Cassie, Kirsten, Alex, Elizabeth, Greg, and AEC Stellar’s Heather, Ky, and Ray!

~SAT

 

Gifts for Readers and Writers

7 Dec

Today, I did an interview with Rusty’s Reading. One question was what my top three bucket list things are. I said, “Visit Japan, write a memoir, and…” You can read it here.

Minutes Before Sunset is also being featured on YA Book Deals. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free ebook! 

I’m glad everyone enjoyed the interview I did with Andrew Vogel, an actor on Under the Dome on CBS. I really enjoyed his take on creativity and living your passion to follow your dreams. But, today, I am talking about something seasonal. Since the holidays are near, I thought it’d be fun to share gift ideas for writers and readers for everyone who has one (or multiple of them) in their life. We all know about the common e-reader, but I thought I’d add a few more:

1. Gifts for writing, of course: I think most writers love office supplies: notebooks, notepads, pens, etc.

Join me on FB!

Join me on FB!

Anything to do with the office will probably be appreciated. Only be weary of that some writers are very specific on what they use. For instance, I only use G2 pens. So if you’re weary about office supplies, you can consider library fun for the office: bookshelves, bookends, desk lamps, etc. I promise you, libraries are getting really creative today. Just check out all the kinds of bookends and articles like 10 Crazy Cool Bookshelves. If you’re good with tools, a lot of these ideas can be built by yourself.

2. Editing software: Editors are expensive every time you use one. If you have software, you only pay once. (This doesn’t mean I am advising people not to use editors. In fact, I think everyone should. But having additional software before you send it off to the editor is great!) Software is also something I’ve also enjoyed using and testing out for companies. I’ve actually done a review of both Dragon Dictate and Grammarly on this website. And, yes, I own both now, and I use them on a regular basis.

3. It doesn’t have to always be for writing: thanks to those personalized gifts websites, anyone can write anything on mugs, calendars, t-shirts, pens, coffee mugs (yum!) and more. How great would it be to get one of your favorite quotes or books (or even your own novel) on a coffee mug? That’d be an encouraging way to start off the morning.

When "November Snow" was published, my father surprised me with this gift: the printed cover inside a silver frame.

When “November Snow” was published, my father surprised me with this gift: the printed cover inside a silver frame.

4. Vintage: Readers and writers alike might enjoy vintage things about their favorite novels or even their favorite writing tools. Think of old quills, typewriters, first editions, roll-top desks, reading lights, etc.

5. Gifts don’t always have to cost money. If you have a writer in the family, read their latest work. In a card, tell them you read it and what you thought about it. This will be greatly appreciated from many writers, especially if you haven’t been able to read anything of theirs before. If you have a reader in the family, this concept works again. Read their favorite book or promise to read so many novels a year with them. Look at it as a book club. It’ll help connect you and who knows? Maybe you’ll discover more things about writing and reading than you thought.

Related Websites:

CafePress: Unique Writers Gift Ideas

25 Gifts That Writers Will Actually Use

12 Affordable Gifts for Readers

GoneReading: Gifts for Readers

Have fun shopping! But, more importantly, enjoy the holidays! 

~SAT

Editing Tips: Grammarly

2 Aug
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Bogart and his KU spirit.

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because Bogart would rather I spend time feeding him than editing. ;]

No. Really. This sentence defines what my first post in August will be about: editing. Here’s to August–another month of writing, reading, and dreaming is ahead of us, and I wanted to begin with a very helpful website you can consider using for editing purposes.

Grammarly is an online editor, but it is beyond spellchecker. As described on their website, Grammarly “corrects contextual spelling mistakes, checks for more than 250 common grammar errors, enhances vocabulary usage, and provides citation suggestions. More than 3 million registered users worldwide trust Grammarly’s products.”

On top of that, it has numerous settings, including General, Business, Academic, Technical, Creative, and Casual. (I used the casual setting for this post.) There’s also a support page where you can communicate with other writers.

Other things to know I found out while testing this product:

  • This program should be used as a “second set” of eyes for your writing–meaning it enhances the editing process, not controls it. But the enhancement is in-depth and clearly labeled. When it highlights your grammar mistakes, it has an option of “short or long descriptions.” These buttons explain what particular rule you might be breaking. That way, you might not make those mistakes in the future, or you will learn what you most commonly forget.
  • Grammarly for Desktop includes MS Office integration and other features, but the desktop version is not available for Mac yet. This means you can use it online but not install it on your computer. It’s still great though, because I use a Mac, so this is exactly what I was doing.
  • Although the free sample allows you to upload text, it will only give you a list of how many mistakes it found–not the specific mistakes. However, you can sign up (with a credit card) and try a free 7-day trial which allows you to try the complete version for free by allowing you to remove your credit card before the trial has expired.
  • If you decide to stay with Grammarly, the prices range by how often you wish to pay (annually, quarterly, or monthly.) The cheapest is annually, but you’ll pay $139.95 once for the entire year. If calculated, that’s about 11.66 a month.
  • The grammar check is beyond basic spellchecker, but it is like any other kind of technology. You need to check it yourself. Don’t simply “accept all” or “ignore all.” But most of the suggestions are really great. I was impressed by how many “commonly confused words” it caught and/or other grammatical aspects spellchecker doesn’t always catch.

Basically: 

I think Grammarly is a remarkable tool for all kinds of writers, especially self-publishing authors who may not be able to afford numerous (or one) editor. I WISH I had this product during my past four years at college, but at least I’ll be able to use it during my last semester. It’s worth a try. I have to admit that I’m generally skeptical, but this website is definitely bookmarked to be returned to often.

Have you used Grammarly? What do you think?

~SAT

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