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Old 04-24-2017, 12:20 AM   #1
gentle504
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To pay or Not to pay for an editing app

So I've been using grammacy to catch minor things for a story. I'm now considering paying for the updated version that catches EVERYTHING. I was wondering if any other author used and paid for it and if it would be to just get a VE?
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:23 AM   #2
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Editing of fiction can't satisfactorily be handled by computer program. Too many variables.
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Old 04-24-2017, 01:12 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Editing of fiction can't satisfactorily be handled by computer program. Too many variables.
Agree. If you rely on a chunk of software and you don't know the basic rules of grammar yourself, you're not going to learn where you're going wrong.

MS Word nearly always gets "its" and "it's" wrong, for example, and that's basic stuff.
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Old 04-24-2017, 01:54 AM   #4
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In spite of what your last teacher told you, grammar is a personal thing. There are conventions; but there are no rules. The so-called 'rules' are just someone else's conventions. Unless you can program the software to handle your grammar, you're going nowhere. Better to spend your time reading good writers and thinking about why they wrote the way that they did.

Good luck.
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Old 04-24-2017, 03:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Editing of fiction can't satisfactorily be handled by computer program. Too many variables.
Agree totally. Even the free version – handling only the basics – is pretty useless. It does help to catch a few of my stupidities such as odd missing commas (which is fine as long as you don't get lazy and start to rely on it) but half of its suggestions are no help at all, such as the one that insists that because I'm British I should say 'leant' rather than 'leaned' and that 'round' should always be 'around'.
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Old 04-24-2017, 05:01 AM   #6
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...the one that insists that because I'm British I should say 'leant' rather than 'leaned' and that 'round' should always be 'around'.
Bloody hell, any program that started to suggest other words would drive me absolutely nuts. I keep basic spell check running to pick up stupid typos, but any of the grammar checks I turn off completely.

I don't think I've even seen "leant" in that context - maybe one of those words where Australia has drifted away from "Brit" usage.
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Old 04-24-2017, 05:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by electricblue66 View Post
Agree. If you rely on a chunk of software and you don't know the basic rules of grammar yourself, you're not going to learn where you're going wrong.

MS Word nearly always gets "its" and "it's" wrong, for example, and that's basic stuff.
'your' and 'you're' all too often escape, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by electricblue66 View Post
Bloody hell, any program that started to suggest other words would drive me absolutely nuts. I keep basic spell check running to pick up stupid typos, but any of the grammar checks I turn off completely.

I don't think I've even seen "leant" in that context - maybe one of those words where Australia has drifted away from "Brit" usage.
Agreed.
My copy of Word 2003 didn't understand "Waitress" and suggested "server".
I understand 'server' to be something on a computer, not presenting me with food.
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Old 04-24-2017, 05:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Handley_Page View Post
'your' and 'you're' all too often escape, too.



Agreed.
My copy of Word 2003 didn't understand "Waitress" and suggested "server".
I understand 'server' to be something on a computer, not presenting me with food.
Bloody Daft!
Server is the American Politically Correct way of saying Waitress or Waiter.
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Old 04-24-2017, 06:09 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by gentle504 View Post
So I've been using grammacy to catch minor things for a story. I'm now considering paying for the updated version that catches EVERYTHING. I was wondering if any other author used and paid for it and if it would be to just get a VE?
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Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Editing of fiction can't satisfactorily be handled by computer program. Too many variables.
Quote:
Originally Posted by electricblue66 View Post
Agree. If you rely on a chunk of software and you don't know the basic rules of grammar yourself, you're not going to learn where you're going wrong.

MS Word nearly always gets "its" and "it's" wrong, for example, and that's basic stuff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Green_Knight View Post
Agree totally. Even the free version – handling only the basics – is pretty useless. It does help to catch a few of my stupidities such as odd missing commas (which is fine as long as you don't get lazy and start to rely on it) but half of its suggestions are no help at all, such as the one that insists that because I'm British I should say 'leant' rather than 'leaned' and that 'round' should always be 'around'.
Computer programs cannot replace human editing, but I do use the free version of Grammarly (not always – rarely when I’m ‘quickly writing', like for threads like this…) And I do find it very useful. I’ll use every help I can get, and it does pick quite a few issues in my writing - more than Word does.

However, I’m also hesitant to pay; I don’t really like the idea to pay $140,- a year if it doesn’t really, really, really help me. And in addition, I’m writing for free now, and it seems weird to me if I would have to pay for my own stories…
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Old 04-24-2017, 07:21 AM   #10
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I do what works and aim to keep things simple.
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Old 04-24-2017, 09:17 AM   #11
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In spite of what your last teacher told you, grammar is a personal thing. There are conventions; but there are no rules.
Yeah, crap. Grammar has rules; good writers can defy them and get away with it at times, but like anything else, you have to thoroughly understand a system to know when the system can be misused to advantage.

Not all readers will notice if your grammar is crap, but some will and you'll pay for it in ratings. For very good reason: crap grammar, like crap spelling, throws the reader out of gear and can sometimes completely disrupt the meaning. Laurel will also reject some stories on these grounds, so even if you don't believe grammar has rules, you'll have to accept that Laurel does.

English grammar is a bit quirky, but children manage to learn it so I don't see why an adult can't. A quick search turned up this: https://www.englishgrammar.org. It doesn't seem to be too bad. There are definitely stories here that could have taken some of the advice in the creative writing section.
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Old 04-24-2017, 09:37 AM   #12
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I second Grammarly, though the free version only, which picks up basic typos. Its more "advanced" features are mostly suggestions on how to re-word your sentences and make your vocabulary more pretentious (i.e. an auto-thesaurus, basically). Since vocabulary and sentence structure are personal choices unique to your style of writing, using any grammar-checking program that's more "advanced" than a simple spell check is probably a bad idea. If you want good editing--particularly developmental editing for fiction--you're better off getting a volunteer in the Editor's Forum or, if you plan on self-publishing at any point, maybe even pay a professional. Either way, if you want to get serious about editing your work, you're gonna need a pair of human eyes.
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Old 04-25-2017, 03:41 PM   #13
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I second Grammarly, though the free version only, which picks up basic typos. Its more "advanced" features are mostly suggestions on how to re-word your sentences and make your vocabulary more pretentious (i.e. an auto-thesaurus, basically). Since vocabulary and sentence structure are personal choices unique to your style of writing, using any grammar-checking program that's more "advanced" than a simple spell check is probably a bad idea. If you want good editing--particularly developmental editing for fiction--you're better off getting a volunteer in the Editor's Forum or, if you plan on self-publishing at any point, maybe even pay a professional. Either way, if you want to get serious about editing your work, you're gonna need a pair of human eyes.
I don't think it's worth paying for it.

I write in a text editor and use its spell checker—very carefully and with the assistance of a couple of dictionaries.

I have an old copy of M$ Word that I installed on my computer under a license from work (and so didn't have to pay for it), and I do usually run its grammar checker on my stuff before I submit. I don't trust it very much, because it makes some pretty stupid suggestions. But it's a decent tool for spotting occasional lapses on my part.

The basic principle is this: The author can't shirk responsibility for grammar.
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Old 04-25-2017, 04:10 PM   #14
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Yeah, crap. Grammar has rules ...
I think that we shall have to disagree.
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Old 04-25-2017, 04:22 PM   #15
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I use Grammarly professionally for technical writing and find it's a fairly efficient tool that prevents obvious mistakes.

If you are writing professionally it's worth the price, but if you're writing as an amateur, I'd spend the money elsewhere. It does a fairly good job at catching the more egregious mistakes efficiently and will add a level of polish to your writing.

Here at work the process is this - consultant writes document, document is run through spell-check and Grammarly, then handed off to the proof-reader/editor for final polish.

I think these types of programs fall into the general writing tools category. They're a good tool to have and to use regularly, but the quality of writing is going to always depend on the writer. In fact, if you're a bad writer, they can actually make it worse by breaking the narrative flow of your own writing style.

Our main proofreader/editor once sent a general nasty-gram to the consultants telling them "if you don't know what the suggested word/phrase means DON'T PICK IT". Just like a thesaurus it won't make you a better writer. It will just make you a bad writer with a thesaurus. Best luck!
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Old 04-25-2017, 06:20 PM   #16
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Hmmm...no rules?

Quote:
11 Rules of Grammar

You can reach more bravely into the scary world of sentence construction and accurate communication if you are armed with grammar guidelines. These 11 rules of grammar will help you become a champ at selecting words and punctuation.

Key Rules

1. Use Active Voice

Every human language starts an active sentence with the subject, or the "doer." In English, the verb (what's being done) follows the subject. If there is an object (the receiver of the action), it comes after the verb. The formula looks like this:

S+V+O. This rule is the foundation of the English language.

Here are some examples:

Mary walked the dog.
The dog liked Mary.
I did not like the dog.

2. Link Ideas with a Conjunction

Sometimes you want to link two ideas with a second S+V+O combination. When you do, you need a coordinating conjunction. The new formula looks like this:

S+V+O, COORDINATING CONJUNCTION+S+V+O

Coordinating conjunctions are easy to remember with an acronymic mnemonic device:

FANBOYS

For
And
Nor
But
Or
Yet
So

3. Use a Comma to Connect Two Ideas As One

FANBOYS are used when connecting two ideas as one in a single sentence, but don't forget the comma.

For example:

I do not walk Mary's dog, nor do I wash him.
Mary fed her dog, and I drank tea.
Mary feeds and walks her dog every day, but the dog is still hyperactive.

4. Use a Serial Comma in a List

The serial, or Oxford, comma is a controversial rule of grammar. Some want to eliminate it altogether while others just don't know how to use it. The serial comma is the last comma in a list, usually appearing before "and." The serial comma comes after "dog" in this sentence:

Pets R Us has lizards, dogs, and birds.

Commas separate units in a list. In the above case, each unit only has one part, so it's easy. Where people get confused is when the units are bigger, but the rule still applies:

Pets R Us has lizards and frogs, dogs and cats, and parakeets and macaws.

Notice that the serial comma comes before "and" but not the last "and" in the sentence. The "and" that follows the comma is only there because it sounds better. Grammatically, "and" is irrelevant. Only units matter.

5. Use the Semicolon to Join Two Ideas

A list of grammar rules has to include the scariest of punctuation marks. It might look funny, but don't be afraid of the semicolon; it's the easiest thing in the world to use! Say you want to join two ideas but can't figure out or can't be bothered to use a coordinating conjunction. The two ideas can be separate sentences, but you think that they are so closely connected; they really should be one. Use a semicolon.

Mary's dog is hyperactive; it won't stop barking or sit still.
My heart is like a cup of Lapsang Souchong tea; it's bitter and smoky.
Mary has to walk her dog every day; it is the most hyperactive dog anyone has ever seen.

6. Use the Simple Present Tense for Habitual Actions

The simple present is the tense you use for any habitual action. The things you always do or do every Tuesday are described with the simple present, which just means you pick the first form of any verb.

Mary likes dogs.
I don't walk Mary's dog.
Mary and I drink tea every Tuesday together.

7. Use the Present Progressive Tense for Current Action

The present progressive tense is for anything that is happening right now. All of the progressive tenses are easy to spot because their verbs always end with "-ing" and get a helping verb. A helping verb is just so we know who and when we're talking about. In the present progressive, the helping verbs are the present tense conjugations of "to be."

I am drinking Lapsang Souchong tea.
The barking dogs outside are driving me crazy.
Mary is playing with her hyperactive dog.

8. Add "ed" to verbs for the Past Tense

When we talk about the past, we have to add an "-ed" to regular verbs to make the second form. Irregular verbs are tricky and have their own sets of rules. Drink, for example, turns to "drank." Most of the time, though, "-ed" will do.

I drank a lot of Lapsang Souchong tea yesterday, but Mary didn't.
The dogs stopped barking two seconds ago, and I am feeling better.
Mary played fetch with her hyperactive dog.

9-11. Use Perfect Tenses

Practice makes perfect with the perfect tenses. Here are three rules to finish the 11 rules of grammar. If you remember these, you'll be well on your way to perfection.

9. Use Present Perfect for the Unfinished Past

The present perfect can be confusing for some, but it is one of the most important rules of grammar. When people talk about things that have already happened but consider the time in which they occurred to be unfinished, they use the third form of the verb with a helping verb. The helping verb for the present perfect is the present tense conjugation of "to have."

I have drunk three cups of Lapsang Souchong tea today.
Mary's hyperactive cur dog has bitten me three times so far.
Mary has walked her hyperactive poodle 100 times this week.

Unfortunately, the only way to know the third forms of verbs is to remember them.

10. Use Present Perfect Progressive for Unfinished Action and Past

When the action as well as the time is considered unfinished, the verb loads up on third form helping verbs ("to be" and "to have") and changes to the progressive form.

Western countries have been waging wars in the Middle East for thousands of years.
I have been drinking tea all day.
Mary's dog has been barking like crazy since it was born.

11. Use Past Perfect for the First of Two Past Actions

When two things happen in the past, we have to mark which one happened first. The one that happened first changes to third form and gets the helping verb, "had."

By the time I drank one cup of Lapsang Souchong, Mary's dog had barked a million times.
I had not yet eaten breakfast when Mary walked her dog.
He could not pay for lunch because he had lost his wallet.

Understanding and consistently following the basic English grammar rules will help you speak and write English correctly and with minimal hesitation.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:58 AM   #17
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I use Grammerly, the free version, though it doesn't work when I'm using Google Docs, my primary writing platform. Two thoughts jump to mind:

1) They sure are good about badgering you to buy their overpriced software by regularly offering 50% off and teasing you with mysterious better features.

2) If it was truly worth the money, I think we would expect to see this thread filling up with devout users. I haven't seen the first one. I think that's a sign of its value.
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Old 04-26-2017, 06:51 PM   #18
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I use Grammerly, the free version, though it doesn't work when I'm using Google Docs, my primary writing platform. Two thoughts jump to mind:

1) They sure are good about badgering you to buy their overpriced software by regularly offering 50% off and teasing you with mysterious better features.

2) If it was truly worth the money, I think we would expect to see this thread filling up with devout users. I haven't seen the first one. I think that's a sign of its value.
Paul Chance said the company he works for uses the pro version.
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Old 04-26-2017, 07:09 PM   #19
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I downloaded the free grammarly and used it but it got annoying wanting to edit everywhere I would type like message boards and even facebook, so for now I have it disabled.

I usually start a story in google docs and it's pretty good for spelling issues except sometimes it's wrong. Once it kept wanting me to change a lot to alot, that's not a word!
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:40 PM   #20
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have you ever read a technical manual translated from Chinese by one of those programs?
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:10 PM   #21
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Paul Chance said the company he works for uses the pro version.
You're right. He did say he used the pro version at work, right before recommending against its use by amateur authors. Tough for me to count him as a fan of the program when it's usage is required by the company and he advises against purchasing the full version by many. Otherwise, I stand corrected.
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:17 PM   #22
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have you ever read a technical manual translated from Chinese by one of those programs?
Probably no worse than some Korean manuals translated by real humans---who either don't know much Korean, or don't know much English. (Or don't know much of either.)

If you want a real laugh along the lines of strange translations, google "Backstroke of the West Highlights".
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:39 PM   #23
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Okay, I don't think I really need this. I use the on-board spell-checker on mac and it seems adequate. I have the auto-correct disabled because it makes errors. However, I did review the Grammerly web page but couldn't find any explanation of how it actually functions. For example, they seem to offer a free version in both a Firefox download and a Mac download.

My Questions

1. Does one copy/paste selected text into another screen where Grammerly does it's thing, or does it function the same as any other spell-checker and work as you type regardless of the format or program?

2. What's the difference between a free Firefox download and say a free Mac or Windows download?

Any input is appreciated.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:41 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by yukonnights View Post
Okay, I don't think I really need this. I use the on-board spell-checker on mac and it seems adequate. I have the auto-correct disabled because it makes errors. However, I did review the Grammerly web page but couldn't find any explanation of how it actually functions. For example, they seem to offer a free version in both a Firefox download and a Mac download.

My Questions

1. Does one copy/paste selected text into another screen where Grammerly does it's thing, or does it function the same as any other spell-checker and work as you type regardless of the format or program?

2. What's the difference between a free Firefox download and say a free Mac or Windows download?

Any input is appreciated.
When I tried a sample grammerly I dropped text into a box and it did its stuff. Of no use to me, though. Maybe good for business writing, but not fiction (certainly not the way I bend words to meet my needs.)
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Old 01-25-2018, 02:36 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yukonnights View Post
Okay, I don't think I really need this. I use the on-board spell-checker on mac and it seems adequate. I have the auto-correct disabled because it makes errors. However, I did review the Grammerly web page but couldn't find any explanation of how it actually functions. For example, they seem to offer a free version in both a Firefox download and a Mac download.

My Questions

1. Does one copy/paste selected text into another screen where Grammerly does it's thing, or does it function the same as any other spell-checker and work as you type regardless of the format or program?

2. What's the difference between a free Firefox download and say a free Mac or Windows download?

Any input is appreciated.
Grammarly has somehow embedded itself in my Word program; perhaps even in all Office programs. It has its own button to turn it on and off, so it doesn't have to interfere with your writing.

It is more than just a spell-checker; it certainly picks up more errors than Word's spell checker. Also (obviously) grammar things.

What I normally do is, I write my story, and then, once finished, I turn Grammarly on, and go through all its suggestions.

I don't know if there are differences between the downloads.
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