We all rely on grammar and style checkers to help us find the small errors in our writing. Anyone who has had autocorrect go wrong, however, knows that grammar and spell checkers are not necessarily accurate. Sometimes (as in the case of the unicorn-riding police officer) these tools can change our messages to say things we never intended.
In the same way that you must double-check the changes that autocorrect suggests, you have to pay attention to the grammar and style tools that are available in your word processors. Read the Slate.com article Microsoft Word’s Grammar and Style Tools Will Make Your Writing Worse for lots of examples of how Word can suggest changes that will confuse your readers.
Finally, as long as you are still at Virginia Tech, remember that you have free access to the Lynda.com course Grammar Foundations (below). You can look up any grammar questions you have there.
Note: This video has closed captioning, so it does not need a transcript. The screenshot of autocorrect DOES need a text-based transcript however. See the Optional Accessibility Transcript Activity for more details.
I think it is even more important for international students. I had a lot of instances in the past where Microsoft Word would suggest a grammar change and I cannot tell if it the suggested phrase is what I am trying to say or not since I do not know many aspects of the language. Checkers are just tools, you just need to use it the right way (it helped a lot since my spelling is not that great)
I agree with the previous post. I’ve heard many people who speak English as a second language say that learning the words is not the hard part, but understanding English grammar and order can be difficult. My mom is Filipino and her language’s grammar and sentence order is noticeably different from English; for example, he and she are the same, and she will often say a verb before a noun. Microsoft’s checkers are not the best tools because they sometimes force corrections that do not relate to what the author is saying, creating more confusion.
I have heard that Grammarly is a great tool for pointing out grammar mistakes and I think that I will try using it in the future.