Fun_People Archive
19 Oct
Grammar checkers - yesterday's ideas tomorrow

Date: Tue, 19 Oct 93 01:12:47 PDT
To: Fun_People
Subject: Grammar checkers - yesterday's ideas tomorrow

[I'm reminded of Writer's Work Bench "WWB" from Lorinda Cherry and others at
Bell Labs Murray Hill.  WWB was close to twenty years ago, and even though it
did try to nail me wrongfully for a lot of "which"s that really were correct as
"which"s rather than the "that"s that it wanted me to substitute for them, (Do
you notice how careful I am with "which"?  Thanks Lorinda.) it still would not
have made the delightful mistake described here... -psl]

 From: <>
 From: Davis Oldham  <>

I just finished typing in the first 13 pages of my novel.
After spell-checking it I decided, on a whim, to see what
MS Word's Grammar Checker would make of my somewhat verbose
and complex style. I didn't keep track of the number of errors,
but you will be happy to know that, with the exception
of passive verb constructions and some sentence fragments, every
single "error" noted by the software was its own. There were
a lot; they ranged from inability to recognize sentences
that begin with prepositions as complete sentences, to
(my personal favorite) treating the name "Emily" as an

I don't mean to belittle the difficulty of producing a program
that can accurately analyze natural language syntax. But
the nerve of these people, actually to market their fumbling
attempts as successful and useful tools! Honestly. I suppose
they do it to fulfill the Microsoft dictum, "Waste as much
space as possible!"

[=] © 1993 Peter Langston []