Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grammarly says... "you're too wordy!"

Someone from Grammarly contacted me about a book review I had written and asked if I would be willing to consider reviewing the grammar program. Last year, Carrie reviewed Grammarly and I was curious to find out how it would rate my writing. I was advised to try out the program with a post that had not yet been proofread. When I wrote the Next Door Savior review, I submitted my rough draft to Grammarly to see what it thought of my grammar.

Grammarly gave me a score of 84 out of 100. Four issues were found.

1 – Use of articles. It didn’t like that I said “that book would make me cry.”
2 – Pronoun agreement. “I can rest assured that none of my feelings are foreign to Him.”
3 – Comparing two or more things. “Why is this so encouraging?” Grammarly said that my comparison is incomplete because of the word “so.”
4 – Subject and verb agreement.
The subject of your sentence, “none of my feelings”, is a singular or uncountable noun, and does not agree with the present tense verb in your sentence, “are”. Consider changing your subject to a plural noun, or writing your verb in third person singular (he/she/it).

Apparently just one of my sentences contained half of the errors found in the entire book review!

I corrected two of the errors. First, I replaced “that book” with “the book.” Then, I took the word “so” out of the comparison sentence.

When I rechecked my work, Grammarly gave me a score of 91 out of 100. It again pointed out the two errors that I didn’t correct. However, I’m not sure that the errors are actually errors.

My original sentence – “I can rest assured that none of my feelings are foreign to Him.”
My pronouns are correct and the subject and verb agree. It is proper to say both “none are…” and “feelings are…”. So I’m not sure why Grammarly was unhappy with my subject / verb agreement.

As an experiment, I replaced “Him” with “Jesus” and tried it again. Grammarly says… “0 issues found. Score: 100 of 100."

Overall, I think Grammarly is a fun resource. I agreed with two of the issues it found in my writing, as I do tend to be rather verbose. I actually blame my middle school teachers for this. “Cassandra, you need to write a 500 word paper! Your word count matters!” I thought it was ridiculous that word count was more important than content and learned to pad my writing. My favorite professor in college was the one who told us, “content is more important than the length of your paper. If you can accurately address your topic in one page, write a one page paper. If you need four pages, write a four page paper. Just don’t make me read 20 page papers.”

If you struggle with grammar, it would be beneficial to utilize Grammarly's user-friendly program. If you're like me, someone who enjoys learning and writing, you might only need the program for a short period of time. Grammarly provided me with a quick refresher on basic grammar. If you don't enjoy grammar and rely on writing as part of your career, I can see how an ongoing subscription would be a lifesaver.

Many thanks to Grammarly for letting me try their program in exchange for an Amazon gift card. The opinions are entirely my own!


Kath said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Cassandra. Blessings :-)

Julie Fukuda said...

I have the feeling Mr. Grammarly would have a field day with me. There is a difference between pointing out obvious mistakes and splitting hairs.

Kath said...

Happy Sabbath, Cassandra :-)
Blessings :-)

make.share.give said...

I need to check out Grammarly. My high school teachers can be blamed for several of my writing blunders over the years. "Alot" apparently is not a real word though my English teacher said it is- later marked wrong in college. Content is way more important than length in my opinion. Happy weekend!

LaVonne Long said...

I keep hearing about this site online. I am going to have to check it out. Thanks for sharing about your experience!