Re: Recommendations for Apps to improve Grammar?

#1
So like to many people in modern times, I have extremely poor grammar. In fact, it seems to be the most reoccurring issue and criticism of my novel so far. I've been using the free version of Grammarly but it's more like a Spellcheck+ to me. I was wondering what programs are recommended by the community that helps improve things such as punctuation, remembering to capitalize, maintaining tense, and preventing redundancy.

Any other programs that aid in improving writing in any other aspects are also appreciated, such as ones that help practice using more synonyms, or just generally expand vocabulary.

Re: Recommendations for Apps to improve Grammar?

#2
I would suggest a good, easy to read guide instead. Look up questionable items in it. There are several on line. Lynch makes an excellent one. Grammar checkers are only so good, and are mostly focused on business communications. Electronic aids are okay, but should never be your only resource. Apps like Hemingway are fun to use too. Several purchasable writers processors are available with extensive help and stat sections built in, and are not to expensive.

Most word processors have a built in thesaurus, I would start with that. 

There are several helpful beginning writers sites online you can google for. Worth the time to do.

Re: Recommendations for Apps to improve Grammar?

#3
Outside of Grammarly I don't use anything else and be aware that no grammar program currently in existence can replace actually knowing grammatical rules yourself. Grammarly still makes a lot of mistakes and ruins sentences if you go with its recommended edits, so it is very much just a program that says: "Hey, take an extra look at this."

As for expanding vocabulary... I just google synonyms for words I want synonyms for.

Re: Recommendations for Apps to improve Grammar?

#4
I personally like Grammarly a lot. But if you want extended statistics that can help you gain some knowledge about the structure of your sentences, paragraphs, and vocabulary, try this: https://www.slickwrite.com/#!home. It is helpful to track the flow of your text and shows you your language level, suggest synonyms and probably has way more other functions than what I have discovered.

Re: Recommendations for Apps to improve Grammar?

#6
If you are going for something extensive like what you want. ProWritingAid is my only suggestion as well as learning some enough of the basics of grammar to help.

However, keep in mind that grammar checkers aren't perfect. I make errors that will fall into their blind spots. Not only that, agreeing with all their suggestions will end up making your writing far more worse. So learn grammar as well.


Another thing you can use is text-to-speech. Hearing your word read to helps with a lot. Certainly you can read it yourself, but if you are like me, shudders when they read,  a tts program helps.

Sadly, I don't know any actual programs out there that'll help you learn grammar.

Re: Recommendations for Apps to improve Grammar?

#8
I also use the free versions of both Grammarly and ProWritingAid, though as others have said, it's better to use them alongside your own editing skills rather than blindly trusting every suggestion they put forth - heck, I've even had the two sources disagree on whether or not to put a comma in places. I do find that they can also be useful for noticing where certain weak spots might be if they keep pointing out the same issues repeatedly. For example, I have a tendency to instinctively use passive voice a bit excessively and didn't even fully understand it until ProWritingAid kept pointing it out and I decided to read up on it more.

Re: Recommendations for Apps to improve Grammar?

#9
Hemingway Editor will highlight sentences that are hard to read (yellow) and very hard to read (red) but it won't explain how to make them easy to read, nor will it check your spelling, grammar, or punctuation. However, I like it because it puts the onus of learning how to correct your mistakes on you, helping to prevent you from making them in the future.

Mai Wrote: I've even had the two sources disagree on whether or not to put a comma in places


I primarily use ProWritingAid, but yeah, it's overzealous in its comma and semi-colon suggestions. Grammarly's comma suggests are more correct than ProWritingAid's, so I default to the Gram for punctuation. Even so, it's always worth having a grammar and punctuation guide on hand so the rules start sticking in your head.

Re: Recommendations for Apps to improve Grammar?

#10
I'm gonna second  FAHyatt on this one, there's a lot of great English grammar lesson books/guides out there (especially because English is one of/the most popular second languages out there). The importance of knowing the basic structures and terms can't be overstated. If you don't know how to identify or describe where you went wrong you can't look up how to fix it. (Also it's fun to mess with people, did you know "no one" is a pronoun?)

If you would prefer an app (not sure what os you use) you can always just go to your app store and look up "English grammar" and maybe specify beginner/intermediate/master. There are a bunch of different types, some focusing on tests, others with flash cards, some with cute cartoon characters etc. It might take a while to find a good fit (I imagine a lot of them suffer from intrusive adds) but there are enough I'm sure you'll find a good pick.

And also youtube, there are a bunch of great video lessons on specific topics and it pairs really well with the apps, so if you take a grammar test and it says you could work on X, you can then look up a video on X specifically to see what's what.

Programs like grammarly and google docs spell check can, with mediocre accuracy, tell you if something is wrong and give a recommended fix, but it won't teach you how to avoid that mistake in the future, they aren't learning tools.

Sorry for not being more specific, I actually despise grammar and am not a writer lol

Re: Recommendations for Apps to improve Grammar?

#11
Pro Writing Aid all day long. It's a fantastic tool and can be as in depth as you need it to be. I have about five or six standard checks I run on my work, but even then I don't take every suggestion it makes. But it really does help with things like repeated words and common typos.

They often do deals on lifetime access and I would 100% recommend it.

I've never used another tool so I can't compare it with anything (except Word, but Word is to writing what custard is to mortar).

Edit: Forgot to add another bonus is that it can be a one-time purchase. I don't like most subscription services.

Re: Recommendations for Apps to improve Grammar?

#13

meteoraguy Wrote: Grammarly is okay, but some suggested edits are wrong.

Grammarly screwed over an entire chapter of mine…

It sent me behind an entire day. My schedule is very precise, and losing a day was a heavy hit. Needless to say, after that incident. I worked incredibly hard on improving my own ability in spotting out errors. While there are some I miss, I have measures in place to dramatically lower mistakes made. Nonetheless though, I would appreciate a proper tool that won’t give me a heart attack like Grammarly did. 😐

Re: Recommendations for Apps to improve Grammar?

#15

Zelda_Anne_Link Wrote: So like to many people in modern times, I have extremely poor grammar. In fact, it seems to be the most reoccurring issue and criticism of my novel so far. I've been using the free version of Grammarly but it's more like a Spellcheck+ to me. I was wondering what programs are recommended by the community that helps improve things such as punctuation, remembering to capitalize, maintaining tense, and preventing redundancy.

Any other programs that aid in improving writing in any other aspects are also appreciated, such as ones that help practice using more synonyms, or just generally expand vocabulary.



Hey, I actually don't recommend using an app for this. I'm a teacher in my real life, and specifically a reading teacher at the intermediate level. One thing that I have observed in my practice is that overreliance on software for writing (which my students do a lot of) doesn't expand vocabulary or writing facility. Instead, taking the time to learn the fundamentals of grammar is a huge lever towards improving one's faculty with language.

This seems like an arduous task because grammarians have given us this unwieldy, ugly polysyllabic vocabulary for describing grammatical traits and characteristics--but the ideas behind them are actually fairly simple and, thankfully, fairly routine in English (to speak nothing of the spelling).

The best resource I've ever found for this is the book "Strunk and White's Elements of Style," which is an 80 page little book that is a compendium of sorts of when to do this or when do to that. You can find an Amazon link here: https://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-William-Strunk-Jr/dp/194564401X. The benefit of this book is that you can just look things up quickly when you need them--I keep a copy in my desk at home, and a few copies at the school for the kidlets. Strunk and White explain why to do things, so you don't just get the automatic revision or suggestion, but a short one or two sentence lesson in why and how to do things. This builds your independence and confidence!

My captive audience remedial middle school students are able to use this thing successfully, so a developing author  with a vested interest improving should have no issues.

As for vocabulary, the best thing you can do is read more. We learn language through context and repeated exposure. To develop a robust vocabulary and rich lexicon, seek out more challenging reads so that you can get exposure to new and more challenging words as they're used naturally in context.