I can now report that I’m pleased with my new editing tool – Grammarly. Proofreading is hard to do accurately on your own work, and if you pay for it to be done by somebody else, you will pay dearly. Grammarly I’ve decided is better than a ‘halfway house’.
As my graphic would suggest, it gives you four main areas of back-up; Punctuation, Grammar, Spelling and Synonyms. In the programme synonyms are referred to as ‘enhancements’.
Like all wonder tools, it has it’s drawbacks, but even when taking them into consideration, I would still recommend the tool for the independent publisher. If, like me, you are publishing eBooks on Amazon or another site then you may allow eagerness to take over, just when you should be considering the reader. Yes, remember those nice people that you want to spend money on your hard work – well, they’ll be expecting a well-written, well-presented book. We can’t blame them can we, because it’s what we would want too.
I’ve just spent two weeks with Grammarly and used it on both of my e-published novels. At one end of the scale I was delighted with my spelling, but at the other end, I was dismayed at my grammar. Nothing more to be said there.
Until recently, I didn’t realise how many proofreading programmes were out there. There are those you can use free, and there are those you pay for – and like all things in life; you get what you pay for. I read the profile, pricing, and reviews on three different systems before opting for Grammarly. It’s affordable, easy to download, and easy to use. It does have the need to connect to the Internet – and keeping your browser clear of excess cache files is a good idea, because that will allow the system to run smoothly.
Write the document, open Grammarly and watch those numbers accumulate; Grammar, Spelling, Enhancements. It will tell you when it’s completed the check.
It’s still a good idea to insert the ‘suggested’ amendments manually. There is an option to click and let the system change the punctuation, but occasionally there is a suggestion to drop a comma within a word. On odd occasions, the programme will suggest that there is no punctuation at the end of a sentence. When the system is wrong, you will see clearly that there is punctuation.
Apart from that, it might not recognise a word that you abbreviate within dialogue, like, thinkin’, or nothin’, for example. It will give the option to ‘add to dictionary’. Place names are another favourite for non-recognition, as I found out with both my books. Click to ‘add to dictionary’, and off you go again.
A nice touch, if you’re like me and were last taught grammar and punctuation a long time ago, is an option for a short, or long explanation with the suggested amendments. I’ve found that the short explanation is usually enough for my needs.
Was I satisfied with one session of ‘filtering’ my novels with this proofreading system? No, I wasn’t. I went through both books twice, and the fact that the system brought up the same things (place names, etc.,) as the first time, gave me confidence in the method. My books may still not meet the strict criteria of the purist, but I’m happy that I’ve done all in my power to improve them – except pay out excessive money.
If you’re interested in trying it, there is an optional free trial period. As an example, I used the Grammarly system on this piece of writing and it highlighted the need for inserting a comma on two occasions. The programme also highlighted my examples; ‘thinkin’ and ‘nothin’.