Writers… before you begin you worry about many things, mostly about one thing! Grammar!
You wonder if you know the fundamentals of English grammar? Are you confident what you’re writing is error-free and easy to read?
Let us be honest, as writers, we want to give the publisher or our readers a book with high-quality writing.
So, I asked, would you like a tool or grammar checker to help you proof-read your work?
Of course, the answer is, Yes!
Writers jobs are hard and challenging, we not only have to come up with great plots and awesome characters, but all of our work depends heavily on grammar!
It would be a boon to us, especially if English is not our first language, to have a tool that can help us write our books flawlessly. We would all love that.
No software is perfect, right? I agree, but then I decided to test two of them… and pick the best one! I should be honest, despite their shortcomings, this software did improve my writing and gave flare to my novel.
Let’s talk about white smoke first.
Whitesmoke has been around for some time now. You can download it on your desktop, use it on your phone or do your correction online.
The good thing is that it identified issues in your sentences and makes suggestions rather than just saying that there is an issue. It also has a good number of synonyms for you to use. Also, there are some suggestions which you can use to update your sentences. Its desktop app is quiet stable. It does not crash or nor does it hang, but grammar check depends on the internet.
Issues. No free trial. There is no free version. So you cannot test. You have renew your membership like a gym membership. Honestly, I prefer to pay for a software which is help me write better. Another drawback is that it does not integrate with Microsoft Word. So you have to copy paste your material in the software, check it and then copy it back into your word document. Imagine doing that for your 300-page novel!. The process becomes more annoying because you have a limited number of words you can copy paste into the software. If you were able to put in a chapter, things would have been better. But they are not. There is one more thing. It does not check for all errors. Let’s be honest. No software is going to correct everything, but white smoke was missing most of them, and if you miss correcting a word, auto-correct will set in and choose the word itself and mostly its the word that you do not want!
I have not used it online or on my phone, but I do not think it was any better.
The most annoying thing was the copy paste, I reached a point and I did not renew my monthly membership.
Perhaps it better for small documents, blogging but not for big documents. Definitely not for novels.
So now we will go to Grammarly.
There is a free version, and it’s quiet helpful I should say. It integrates not only with Word but also with your Outlook. It picks out all the commas, semicolons, etc. a bit better than Word processors grammar check. It picks up the small stuff. But until you do not buy the subscription you do not see the difference in your writing. Again it’s not perfect. But I tested it by finishing one of my chapters and then printed it out and read it. After Grammarly, my writing sounded better. It analyses your mistakes and gives you a report. It has brought to my attention some silly mistakes I was doing. There is online English training if you like. It checks for errors in vocabulary, writing style plagiarism, etc.
Of course, there are some issues. Again, I wish this was software which was more stable. If you document big, the word version will hang your word document. This is the most annoying thing that happens when you turn on Grammarly in your word. (Yes there is an on-off option). It’s slow. It doesn’t work quick enough to finish checking the entire document. You have to keep scrolling and wait for it to finish the grammar check. Its ability to detect plagiarism is limited. It does not give many synonyms, and it will not spell out how to change active voice into passive voice. Nope. You have to do that. It doesn’t understand that ‘center’ is spelled differently in different countries and it will show it as a mistake. You cannot choose Australian English or American English. It is set for American English. Although, if you are in the US, this should not be an issue.
Lastly, it has a memory problem. For instance. If you tell it, you want to keep a sentence as a ‘passive voice.’ Ignore the suggestion. Save the document and close it. When you reopen it once more shows the same mistakes, including all the ones you choose to ignore. This can be irritating.
Grammarly Word version may be not so perfect, but the Grammarly online is much faster and more accurate (in my opinion). Ahh.. and there is no grammarly for phone or ipad as yet!
So, I have switched from Whitesmoke to Grammarly. I tolerate the latter (for now) because I have seen the difference in my writing. Not to say, for now its the best thing I have got.
Hope this blog has been helpful. And I suggest go with the free trial and see what you think. I use to think, I did not need this kind of software, but I was wrong…it reduced my stress and helped me improve my writing!
Good day blogging!