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>P.S. - No personal flames intended here; I simply have a high regard for the
> integrity of language and look on mechanical means of improving one's writing
> with a great deal of suspicion. What can these "grammar checkers" provide that
> a competent writer/editor cannot?
Not intending to flame *you*, Stephen, but they provide a check where
another set of eyes (competent or not) are not available. Where I work, we
do not have an editor, so the writers have to check each others' work.
Time/deadline-wise, the luxury of having your document checked by someone
else before being sent out may not always be possible. (Some techwriters are
independent, freelance, or departments of one).
True, a grammar checker is not a *human* "competent writer/editor" and often
flags perfectly correct usage (I once had "Dear Mr." flagged as an
incomplete sentence). But they *will* usually flag problems I may not
realize I have (such as repeating the same word 3-4 times in the same
sentence). Grammar checkers certainly won't replace proof-readers and
editors. But if you don't have a real, live proof-reader or editor in the
first place, why scorn something that might be of help?
BTW - In terms of inappropriate flagging, I find that the grammar checker
that comes with Word is not too good. Grammatik is only marginally better.
RightWriter isn't *too* bad. I have no experience with others.