Krissie is the last stages of copy editing her book and wanted to know if I knew of a way to get a word frequency list in Word. (I don’t.) One of the things I tried was this new app called Grammarly which is being advertised all over the place. Essentially, you download it into your computer, and it lurks in the background, leaping out at you with red lines whenever you type something wrong anywhere. I tried it on a Word doc, thought “Hell, Word does all of this already” and deleted the app. Except it didn’t delete.
I’m sure if I went back in, I could figure out how to get it out of my laptop, but I’m starting to rely on it because it’s not just for Word. Turns out, it also checks the posts I write in WordPress and, even more helpful, any comment I write in any comment box anywhere. Given how remarkably easy it is to screw up a comment, that’s a real plus. Plus the fixes for a mistake are easy and elegant.
For example, if I make a mistake, Grammarly underlines it in red; when I click on the red, a box opens up and gives me three choices: click on the spelling Grammarly likes, add my spelling to the dictionary, and a third choice that offers a more detailed explanation of why it redlined your word. So I can fix a word I’ve misspelled with one click, or I can enter my version into the dictionary with a different click (which I just did for “Jeo” which Grammarly really wants to change to “Joe.” I’m not completely sure that part’s working, but then I did delete the app).
As I said, I really like this. But there’s something about having this program lurking underneath everything I do that’s a little unnerving. Plus it really, really wants me to upgrade to its paid version (the basic app is free), and I’m just not that interested right now..
Anybody else here using this app? What do you think?
I just got an e-mail from Grammarly (evidently I’ve been using it for a week). They give you weekly reports which I find hysterically funny. Here’s mine:
- “You were more productive than 98% of Grammarly users (30, 196 words checked).” Well, yeah, I write for a living.
- Accuracy: “You were more accurate than 51% of Grammarly users (431 alerts shown).” It’s not clear if there were more because I had more words; I’m assuming that’s a percentage. Some of those were dozens of alerts that “Jeo” should be “Joe,” which is why I’m not using Grammarly for my fiction anymore.
- Vocabulary: “You used more unique words than 51% of Grammarly users (4366 unique words used).” I think that means the number of times uncommon words were used, not the number of actual weird words. Let us remember, I’m writing a book about demons.
- “Grammarly Premium found 565 additional mistakes.” And all I have to do is pony up some cash and Grammarly will show me where I went wrong. Nope.
A couple of other interesting things here:
See that screen capture above with “example” deliberately spelled wrong? Grammarly caught that even though it’s in an image. I’m impressed by that.
I’m really getting hooked on the fix-it-with-a-click part. No retyping anything, you just get a box with fixes; you can click on the fix you want or dismiss the box. Speeds things up considerably. And I really like it that I can add the word I want to the dictionary.
Will not use on fiction.
Will use on comments, e-mails, and blog posts.