I dread typos, misspellings, and bad writing.
Today I installed Grammarly, a chrome extension that checks spelling and grammar while writing. This story started as a test to see if I want to use Grammarly on blog posts.
It turned into something so much more. Grammarly acts like a person and I am not sure I like her. Call me sexist, but in my mind, she is a she. Perhaps in this day of non-binary gender, Grammarly prefers different pronouns. (I really can’t keep up with the pronoun thing.)
Grammarly is a comma nut. She insists there is a comma before “and” in a series. I remember learning at some point that this was a style choice. It resembles choices like the length of a hemline or hair color after the age of 40. There is no correct answer.
According to a 3,000-word essay on Wikipedia, serial commas really are a matter of choice, but there are folks out there who take this comma debate very seriously.
My choice, because I’m from New York City is no serial comma.
According to Wikipedia, The New York Times Stylebook demands no serial comma. I’ve been reading the NY Times since I was 10-years-old (OK, I only read Arts and Leisure but that counts.} My complaint about Grammarly is that for as long as I’m blogging, it will nag me and insist I use the serial comma. Knowing me, I will cave. It’s easier to go along, but I’m sure I’ll be grumbling all the way.
Team Serial Comma points out that in cases of ambiguity the serial comma is necessary. In Maine, for example, there was a lawsuit that literally hung on the confusing interpretation of whether “canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution” of certain goods were activities exempted from the general requirement of overtime pay. (Source: Wikipedia) The serial comma was an unfortunate omission. But it’s rarely needed; in my mind it’s extraneous.
Grammarly is a saleswoman. She tells me she has 14 advanced grammar suggestions for this article. But it will cost $9 a month to find out what the “advanced suggestions” are, she says, That’s a lot of advanced suggestions and I remain ignorant of them because I am cheap.
Grammarly is also judgemental (like a 10th-grade English teacher). She rates this article as “Optimistic, admiring and formal” She also suggests that I make it more “confident”.
What does that mean? I guess I will only know if I cough up the $9 month.
Have you used Grammarly? Did it positively affect your writing? If the app were a person what would she/he look like? Do you have any thoughts on how to make this post “more confident”.