Re: Grammar check software - My writing vs sugestions.

#1
Edit: I tried removing the empty space, but it didn't work. When i hit post, every paragraph gets separated from each other and its infuriating.



Edit 4?: I'm making it worse with every edit.

Edit 6: This should work.



I installed a free version of grammarly and run it through prologue of my story. Now I'm not a native English speaker, and was told that I have problems with usage of articles. Which I agree with. So I ran the document and found out it is bigger problem than I anticipated. (If you are curious in around 1000 words it found 43 mistakes, 23 being article usage)



But... in my native language aren't any articles, at least in a way English is using them. So some suggestions, while probably right, feel  wrong.



So I thought I would post few lines of text here and let some people well versed in English hopefully correct it, which would convince me that the program is right. Which I am expecting it to be, but I won't be truly convinced until I get actual option of native.



Partly because I wonder if there are things that are incorrect, but are used in creative writing anyway and I shouldn't bother with correcting them, and partly because I'm worried about the fact I'm using free version.



Here is the text:



Quote:He dreamed of beautiful world. World unblemished by technology. World full of wonders. World filled with humans, elves, dwarfs, and beast-kin. World full of magical creatures. Word full of magic.



Fell free to judge writing in general, but grammar would be most helpful. (If you can from text so short.) Also if you know of known cases where I should be careful about trusting the grammarly or if you thing I should abide by its advice religiously, please say so.



How many mistakes should you find?



Spoiler :
8 total, 5 are found at first, after recommended corrections 3 more appear.


Corrected text:

Spoiler :
He dreamed of a beautiful world. World unblemished by technology. A world full of wonders. A world filled with humans, elves, dwarfs, and beast-kin. A world full of magical creatures. A word full of magic.




Now here we still have 3 mistakes. We lack verb 3 times - world full of - doesn't have verb.




If I went with suggestion it would be: A world was full of wonders - Which sounds wrong to me, but should be right. If there needs to be "was", I would do it like this: A world that was full of wonders.




Re: Grammar check software - My writing vs sugestions.

#2
You are aiming for an effect, correct? If your example was written as part of a story description, you might have it this way:

He dreamed of a beautiful world. A world unblemished by technology. A world full of wonders. A world filled with humans, elves, dwarfs, and beast-kin. A world full of magical creatures. A word full of magic.

But if it was an actual paragraph in your story, you'd have to make full sentences. (This one is just a suggestion.)

He dreamed of a beautiful world. It was a world unblemished by technology, a world full of wonders; a world filled with humans, elves, dwarfs, and beast-kin. It was a world full of magical creatures and magic.

The grammar checker works best with proper sentences. It won't be able to do an accurate job with a text that's full of incomplete sentences. The corrections the program offers might not be the best solutions, and sometimes are even wrong, so can't always be counted on.

I use google search to find information on sentence structure, article and verb usage, etc., when I'm stuck, rather than rely on a checker.

Re: Grammar check software - My writing vs sugestions.

#3
I picked up 6 or 7 (depending if one was intentional) without use of any tool. So, yes. The sentence as it was, was bad English. I do want to point out that Grammarly and most such tools are geared towards business/school products. Fiction follows slightly different rules. The tricky part is learning when and where to follow all the rules and when and where they are more flexible.

"A world was full of wonders" may be grammatically better, but doesn't fit with the scene you're creating

Re: Grammar check software - My writing vs sugestions.

#4

cmr Wrote: You are aiming for an effect, correct? If your example was written as part of a story description, you might have it this way:

Yes, I'm aiming for certain effect. Originally it was part of story description that got expanded to prologue, which is not normal chapter, but more aimed at selling the story. It has bits of character background but mostly focuses on the idea the story is build on, which I tried to write in enticing way. It has no dialogue whatsoever, and most of it is written with certain effect in mind. Rest of the story is written in more usual way.



cmr Wrote: He dreamed of a beautiful world. A world unblemished by technology. A world full of wonders. A world filled with humans, elves, dwarfs, and beast-kin. A world full of magical creatures. A word full of magic.

This I plan on using. It is what grammary did with sentence after first check, before complaining about verbs.



cmr Wrote: I use google search to find articles on sentence structure, article and verb usage, etc., when I'm stuck, rather than rely on a checker.

I google and read about how to write quite a bit, ever since I started writing, but sometimes it seems like certain rules are ignored every once in a while - with positive effect at me as a reader, at least from what I have seen on this site.


This is from "normal" chapter:

Quote:He already felt the beginnings of the madness that would undoubtedly come, if he was left here alone. Scratch that. He will just probably die of thirst. No dramatic descend to madness.


" No dramatic descend to madness. " Is considered wrong, but to me it has value as is is for a bit of comedic effect

Re: Grammar check software - My writing vs sugestions.

#5

Oskatat Wrote: The tricky part is learning when and where to follow all the rules and when and where they are more flexible.

This is what am I struggling with. When to go for more correct approach and when ignore certain rules for the sake of creativity. And since sometimes I struggle with rules because in my language it would be correct adds to my confusion.

Re: Grammar check software - My writing vs sugestions.

#7

Quote:He dreamed of beautiful world. World unblemished by technology. World full of wonders. World filled with humans, elves, dwarfs, and beast-kin. World full of magical creatures. Word full of magic.

Even if you want to achieve a certain effect, this example, to the eyes of an ordinary English reader, feels off. Before it could achieve any sort of effect, the faults in it detract from the reading experience...


"A world was full of wonders" certainly doesn't sound good. Even if it's an incomplete sentence, "A world full of wonders" is a better alternative and in this case, you don't need to follow Grammarly's suggestions to a T. Though if you want a complete sentence, you can just add a comma in between...

As for what rules to follow and what not to, you kinda have to figure that out yourself, I think. I just do it as I like and it turns out fine. And as Oskatat said, reading books is always a good way to develop that sense...

As for the above sentence, I'd probably write it somewhat like this...


Quote:He dreamt of a beautiful world. One unblemished by technology and full of wonders! Where humans, elves, dwarfs, and beast-kin live and fight together. Where magical creatures roam the lands. A world Of magic!


Re: Grammar check software - My writing vs sugestions.

#8
Unfortunately a grammar tool won't teach you how to write a novel better. At best, they'll be okay for catching spelling errors and maybe the occasional grammar flub. But most of those tools are, like someone else said, geared towards academic settings, which follows "grammar and sentence structure" more rigidly. Fiction gets a slight pass because it's more about style than hard and fast rules.

But you need to know the rules in order to know what's your style vs. making a grammar mistake.

The real way to improve your writing is not with a bot or any other checker. It's by reading works by English-speaking authors. Pick up some fantasy novels (reddit.com/r/freeebooks is a great resource for free ebooks). Read those books to learn. Then, to turn what you've learned into practical knowledge, start critiquing other novice writers' works. You don't have to share these critiques with them, but generally novice writers make the same mistakes and when you see it enough and actually think about how you would fix them based on other published books you've read, you'll be able to apply that to your own knowledge.

That's how I self-taught myself to write to the standard that I do. I made use of reddit.com/r/freeebooks, some books that I like (The Expanse by James SA Corey, Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke are some of my favorites), and reddit.com/r/fantasywriters

TL;DR: Don't just ask people to critique your own writing (or use a program to do it), critique other's writings as that's how you'll actually improve. And it'll help with your editing, which means you can use an editor to catch big picture issues instead of having them get bogged down on grammar and spelling, which are things an author should have tidied up before having their manuscript go to another set of eyes.

Re: Grammar check software - My writing vs sugestions.

#10

B.A. Wrote: The real way to improve your writing is not with a bot or any other checker. It's by reading works by English-speaking authors.

I have been reading English works almost exclusively for the past 3 years or so. And I read a lot. A bit too much I would say. Problem might be that I don't read non-fiction as much as fiction, and 99 percent of fiction that I read was just published online, by hobbyists which isn't always written correctly. I wasn't focused on finding mistakes I just wanted to enjoy the story. So it might have changed my perception a bit for what is good writing, because honestly some of the things I've seen were really bad.


Before I started writing myself, I spend some time reading new stories here on royal road and tried my best to find mistakes and see what other people found. I hoped that it would improve start of my story at least a little bit. But I felt I can only learn so much when I did that.

Because of that I made decision to just write the story, with hope that a bit of software help would give a bit of boost to learning curve, and that I will improve by writing more than I would by looking for mistakes. I guess it will just take time and there isn't easy way.

Thanks for the all the advice, not just you but all that replied, since I haven't said thanks before. I did give everyone my measly 1 rep point. DrakanPotato

Edit: PS. Does anyone have idea what I did that caused that every time I try to edit 1 post in this thread it doubles the space between paragraphs?

Re: Grammar check software - My writing vs sugestions.

#11
Artim Wrote: Yes, I'm aiming for certain effect.

One of the things you will get good at as you become a better writer is that 'going for effect' and 'good grammar' often are at odds with one another. As I've pointed out on other threads, good grammar does not translate automatically into good writing. In fact, at times good grammar makes things a bit worse.

However!

You need to know the rules of grammar before you can break them in order to be a better writer.  Plus, when you do choose to break certain rules of grammar, you must be consistent in doing so throughout your story, or your readers will just think you're making mistakes. Furthermore, if you are unsure of your voice as a writer, stick to not breaking the rules of grammar.

You can never go wrong with good grammar! Okay! That said, let's take a look at your passage: 
Artim Wrote: He dreamed of beautiful world. World unblemished by technology. World full of wonders. World filled with humans, elves, dwarfs, and beast-kin. World full of magical creatures. Word full of magic.

First and foremost, as you said, you must indeed add the article A several times in this passage. That is a rule of grammar you can rarely, if ever, break. Articles are important in English! A WORLD implies that there is one particular world he is dreaming of, perhaps in a way that is perfect or ideal or unobtainable. 

THE WORLD implies that there are many worlds already in existence for him to choose from, and he is dreaming of the one world that he likes the best. So you see, saying A WORLD or THE WORLD makes a big difference, and when you leave out the article, your readers won't know which effect you are going for. That is why leaving out the article in a sentence is almost always a bad idea. 

Okay! Now on to the use of sentence fragments! Using sentence fragments is often a good grammar rule to break. It avoids redundacy while allowing you to describe certain things in great detail—which is what we are doing in this passage. We are describing a dream world a character is imagining, and if a person has a big imagination, he will dream up all sorts of wonderful things quickly and constantly, his brain overflowing with ideas, coming to him so fast that he barely has time to construct a complete, cogent thought.

So we use sentence fragments to convey this onslaught of images. As the author, we need to get so much information out so fast about what is happening inside our character's head that there isn't time for us to worry about every WAS and THAT and IS we ought to be writing down. 

Get those images out now! Hurry up! Keep moving! 

To do this we use sentence fragments. Sometimes. A good author doesn't go overobard when breaking the rules of grammar, lest he come across to his readers as a fool. 

But!

If you do indeed want to correct this passage so that it obeys the rules of grammar perfectly, you don't necessarily have to add a bunch of redundant and annoying passive words—you can use punctuation. It's one of the great things about the English language, along with prepositional phrases (we can talk about those later if you like.) 

So let's fix your passage using punctuation.

He dreamed of a beautiful world, unblemished by technology. It was a world of wonders; filled with humans, elves, dwarfs, and beast-kin—creatures in a world full of magic.

If you like that passage, well then, there you go. The grammar in it has been fixed using punctuation. I got rid of a bunch of redundancy, which it also was riddled with, but again—we can talk about that later if you like. However, odd-ball punctuation like semi-colons and m-dashes can annoy certain readers, and oftentimes authors don't use odd-ball punctuation correctly, which is another one of those grammar rules a person ought not break.

Use punctuation correctly!

So let's make your passage better by focusing on the redundancy, and not so much on the use of sentence fragments. We are talking about a person's imagination, after all, and rarely do thoughts form in our brain as perfect correct English sentences.

He dreamed of a beautiful world, unblemished by technology. A world full of wonders, with humans and elves, dwarfs and beast-kin. A magical world filled with creatures.

😸

Re: Grammar check software - My writing vs sugestions.

#13


ArDeeBurger Wrote: First and foremost, as you said, you must indeed add the article A several times in this passage. That is a rule of grammar you can rarely, if ever, break. Articles are important in English! A WORLD implies that there is one particular world he is dreaming of, perhaps in a way that is perfect or ideal or unobtainable. 

THE WORLD implies that there are many worlds already in existence for him to choose from, and he is dreaming of the one world that he likes the best. So you see, saying A WORLD or THE WORLD makes a big difference, and when you leave out the article, your readers won't know which effect you are going for. That is why leaving out the article in a sentence is almost always a bad idea.




Hi! First of all, I agree with all your suggestions regarding the topic. I just want to mention that the choice of definite or indefinite articles has no bearing on the number of objects.
 
For example:
I have a car.
I have the car.
 
Neither of these sentences addresses the total number of cars. It is just that in the second case, the speaker is talking about a specific type of car.
 
However, if I were the reader, it would be more likely for me to assume there are many worlds and the narrator is talking about one of those worlds if it said, "He dreamed of a world". By contrast, "He dreamed of the world" gives no inkling of multiple worlds.

Let's replace world with Earth.

"He dreamed of an earth." This kind of implies the existence of a Multiverse with parallel earths. 

"He dreamed of the Earth." Here, it is pretty clear that there is only one Earth.

That is kind of how I feel. Thanks!