Looking for a good grammar checker

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  • #1
topsquark
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I'm doing some more writing and it looks like I've bitten off a bigger project than I had originally thought. But that's okay, I'm up for it.

The work is a graduate level presentation, an introductory look at how to formulate and use QED (strictly in the Standard Model) with the target audience being maybe second year graduate student level, ie. before they would get to an actual QFT class. Sort of a primer. Now, I'm writing this primarily for my own edification, but if I'm going to spend the next 9 or 10 (or more) months doing this then I might think of looking to publish. Not terribly likely, but I'm leaving the question open for now. (There might be a niche for it. I would have to check with a publisher.)

The Insights article I wrote was something of a lark and I wasn't too concerned about how stylistically proper I was presenting the material, so long as it was readable. I want to make sure this one is up to Journal standards. It's been a long time since I wrote anything "official" so I'm looking for an AIP-ish style grammar checker. I am using the LyX word processor and I can get a grammar check for it, but I'm looking to see what else might be out there. I've sent a note to the Grammarly people but, frankly, if I'm going to have to spend money on this I'd prefer to buy it outright rather than pay a monthly fee.

I've done a Google search but I'm not really finding anything that looks like it's beyond High School student work. Grammarly looks like a decent one, but I'd like to have options to consider. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks!
-Dan
 

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  • #2
phinds
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Have you tried Microsoft Word?
 
  • #3
topsquark
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Have you tried Microsoft Word?
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll take another look at it. I basically gave up on Word a long time ago for any professional level writing. I wrote my MS in 1997 on it and it was a miserable experience. The equation editor didn't work right and I had to search out and turn off practically all of the autocorrects because it didn't understand what I was trying to do. But it's been two decades. They may have straightened some things out.

-Dan
 
  • #4
phinds
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But it's been two decades. They may have straightened some things out.
Yes, it has definitely improved considerably in 20+years. I still get annoyed at some of the grammar suggestions (boy howdy does it ever love commas), but generally it's quite good.
 
  • #5
berkeman
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Would a grammar checker for a scientific article or textbook have somewhat different settings/suggestions compared to other published works? It seems like it might, but I'm not able to think of any examples offhand...
 
  • #6
topsquark
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Would a grammar checker for a scientific article or textbook have somewhat different settings/suggestions compared to other published works? It seems like it might, but I'm not able to think of any examples offhand...
I'm probably overstating the case about the AIP level, but back in 1997 Word had a selection of grammar types it would check with.

I've got Word on my computer. I'll see what it can do.

-Dan
 
  • #7
Jarvis323
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I don’t have anything to compare with but I’ve been using grammarly with the pro subscription. It works pretty well.

It allows to choose the type of document and audience. E.g., academic+report+knowledgeable.

It will do grammar, but also make recommendations pertaining to style and readability, like removing redundant sentences, unnecessary words, etc. It also points out difficult to read or overly complex sentences, and sometimes suggests changing the order of sentences. If you spend the time and solve all of the issues your text will be simpler and easier to read, generally.

However, it is annoying the way it frequently recommends synonyms that don’t make sense in the context.

You basically have to attend to each suggestion to make sure it gets it right. The free version isn’t as good as the paid version.
 
  • #8
topsquark
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I don’t have anything to compare with but I’ve been using grammarly with the pro subscription. It works pretty well.

It allows to choose the type of document and audience. E.g., academic+report+knowledgeable.

It will do grammar, but also make recommendations pertaining to style and readability, like removing redundant sentences, unnecessary words, etc. It also points out difficult to read or overly complex sentences, and sometimes suggests changing the order of sentences. If you spend the time and solve all of the issues your text will be simpler and easier to read, generally.

However, it is annoying the way it frequently recommends synonyms that don’t make sense in the context.

You basically have to attend to each suggestion to make sure it gets it right. The free version isn’t as good as the paid version.
I haven't heard back from them yet. Is it possible to buy a full subscription, rather than pay a monthly fee?

-Dan
 
  • #9
Jarvis323
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I haven't heard back from them yet. Is it possible to buy a full subscription, rather than pay a monthly fee?

-Dan
Not sure, I’m on the monthly subscription.
 
  • #10
Tom.G
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Watch out for MS Word if you include any graphics, all graphics are downgraded to low resolution, .JPG if I recall correctly. (keeps file size small, you see)

This was discovered when I was proofing a 100pg. computer tutorial for adult beginners. Most pages had multiple screen shots that came out unreadable.

The author couldn't understand what I was complaining about. It turned out she was using a laptop and I was proofing on 23 inch display at 100 pixels per inch. She got a large display, told me "Now I see what you are seeing", and moved the project to a different editing program. (Don't recall which editor, but can ask the author if anyone is interested.)

Cheers,
Tom
 
  • #11
Borek
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quillbot perhaps?
 
  • #12
topsquark
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Watch out for MS Word if you include any graphics, all graphics are downgraded to low resolution, .JPG if I recall correctly. (keeps file size small, you see)

This was discovered when I was proofing a 100pg. computer tutorial for adult beginners. Most pages had multiple screen shots that came out unreadable.

The author couldn't understand what I was complaining about. It turned out she was using a laptop and I was proofing on 23 inch display at 100 pixels per inch. She got a large display, told me "Now I see what you are seeing", and moved the project to a different editing program. (Don't recall which editor, but can ask the author if anyone is interested.)

Cheers,
Tom
Yes, I copied a section over to Word yesterday. I was reasonably happy with the grammar check but it seriously messed up the LaTeX formatting. It's been suggested elsewhere that I can fix that by converting my document to XHTML (or some such) and then putting it into Word but I haven't tried anything like that yet.

-Dan
 
  • #13
DrGreg
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Watch out for MS Word if you include any graphics, all graphics are downgraded to low resolution, .JPG if I recall correctly. (keeps file size small, you see)
For what it's worth, Word does has options to control image quality.

I'm not sure whether the settings shown below are the defaults. I believe you'll get the original resolution if you select "Do not compress..." and "High fidelity". But you must remember to set this up after you have created your document but before you import any images.

This applies to Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016; I've no idea if it applies to other versions.
1670415843951.png
 
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  • #14
topsquark
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quillbot perhaps?
I just tried out a section on the trial version. Admittedly it was not in the "formal" mode but, despite coming up with a few useful suggestions, it made the text sound like a High School paper. That may or may not be bad as a writing style, but as my target audience would be at the graduate level I would prefer a more formal style and that was completely lost.

The price, at least, was better and the suggestion that I can pause the subscription is attractive because I won't necessarily need to be constantly checking the grammar. I'll probably contact them and see what I can find out.

-Dan
 
  • #15
Borek
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it made the text sound like a High School paper

Unfortunately that's more or less level of all GPT-3 based AI bots :wink:
 
  • #16
Vanadium 50
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I think "good" covers a multitude of sins.

Finding actual mistakes is fair straightforward. Finding more stylistic problems is hard, and the target is unclear. If it thought one should write like Faulkner and one fed in Hemmingway - or vice versa - it would likely complain.

What can we expect it to make of the Oxford Comma, when even people don't agree?
"I'd like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God."
 
  • #17
Wrichik Basu
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I have a subscription of LanguageTool. Maybe not as good as Grammarly, but the price was lower. It seamlessly integrates with any text box on any website once you have the plugin installed. And with the subscription, it gives grammar suggestions too.

And here's how it may be helpful to you: It integrates with Overleaf. It can distinguish between LaTeX commands and actual text, which is a great help. If you are writing a book, then it may b necessary to have history control with git, in which case you can basically look into buying an Overleaf subscription and thereafter sync your project with GitHub.
 

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