Writing, especially revision can be tricky. Maybe we’re pressed for time, or we’ve looked at a document so much our brain sees what we want to write instead of what we’ve written. Maybe we’re not sure where a comma or a semicolon should go, or we are learning how to write. Regardless, grammar and mechanics matter if we want our ideas taken seriously. They matter, but learning and applying the rules of a language are not always straightforward, and even the most basic rules get overlooked when we are learning or when we rush. All writers need tools. Tools to slow down, fill in the gaps, and help communicate a message. As someone who has struggled with spelling and grammar her entire life and who has new writers at home, I can’t tell you how thankful I am there are tools to help us all.
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Not every editing tool is created equal though. If you’re a teacher, you’ve probably told your students not to rely on spelling or grammar check. I know I repeated, Word isn’t always right a lot when I was teaching. A simple word processing check can lead a writer astray. The basic spell checker also doesn’t explain why there is an error, which means the mistake will probably continue to be repeated. If a writer wants to avoid the error in the future, it’s important they know why the mistake was a mistake in the first place.
There are many ways to teach grammar and the mechanics of writing, but like most things, the best way to learn something is through an authentic experience. We learn to write well by writing.
And writing we are! Many of us are writing daily. Emails, texts, social media, work, and school, despite handwritten letters and handwriting becoming a thing of the past (I know handwriting lovers, it’s hard), people are writing, a lot.
As educators and parents, we, therefore, need to encourage our children to use editing tools in the places they are writing. Those are the authentic writing experiences. Those are the places they are practicing, making mistakes, and have opportunities to learn. But how does a writer catch a mistake they don’t see or understand unless someone or something tells them? Most of us don’t have English teachers editing every email, online comment, or tweet, nor would we want to.
If writers need an authentic experience and they need editing tools no matter where they are writing, they need Grammarly.
Grammarly finds errors and explains why. No matter what a writer is writing: email, YouTube comments, an academic article, or blog post, Grammarly’s web editor, Grammarly for Microsoft Office, and Grammarly for Mac offer tools to help improve writing.
Our family uses Grammarly daily. Grammarly helps my husband prepare lectures and articles, catches my trying to do too many things at once errors, and helps my son proofread the emails and movie scripts he loves to write. Grammarly corrects over 250 grammatical mistakes, is a contextual spell checker, suggests synonyms, explains passive voice, and it lets a writer know when they are overusing a word. It works almost everywhere on the web, can be downloaded onto both Macs and PCs, and best of all, a free version is available.