Grammarly and Bad Writing

On my last blog, I posted a Grammar Word Test that Amy Knupp had shared from Grammarly’s Facebook page. Since then, I heard from Nick at Grammarly, and he reminded me Grammarly has a free Chrome extension that instantly proofreads everything online and that can be installed here:

I’ve used the grammar check in the past, and I recommend it. But I have to admit that since I’ve had Amy Knupp at Blue Otter Editing as my copy editor, I’ve been letting her find my errors. Judy at Judicious Revisions is my proofreader, and she catches things like using the wrong name and other fun stuff. When I was typing in changes from Amy’s edits on my last book, I realized I’d mentioned a pet cat a half dozen times, and then I’d forgotten about her. I had to go through half the book and add cat mentions.

I caught that myself, but getting any help you can find is just smart. It’s better for an editor to catch a problem than a reader. Or, if you can’t afford a copy editor, use Grammerly’s Grammar Check. And there are writing errors that don’t have anything to do with grammar and spelling. I get irritated if authors use dialogue tags incorrectly. Something on the lines of this example happens often: “You can do it,” he encouraged.

Do you know why that’s wrong? If you didn’t guess why, encouraged describes what the dialogue already told the reader. The best dialogue tags are said or asked. If the speaker feels emotion that he can’t show in dialogue, then don’t use a tag to show it. Show an expression, or the speaker’s voice choking. Or the character could stomp around the room. Anything to show the emotion. Showing is always better than telling.

If I see mistakes of this kind too often in a book, I will stop reading it. Besides not enjoying a book, what will make you stop reading it?

I hope stopping reading a book is all you do. Some people might even go ballistic:

This entry was posted in Edie's Posts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Grammarly and Bad Writing

  1. Mary Hughes says:

    Hi, Edie,

    Great post! If a writer makes enough grammar errors to pull me from the story several times, I’ll stop reading. Or if they’re supposed to be one way, like brave or smart, but behave another way purely for the sake of the plot. I don’t throw books anymore though, lol.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Mary, that’s too funny. And I have to say that acting one way but behaving another is worse than using dialogue tags wrong. If I’m enjoying a book despite dialogue tag problems, I will continue to read it. But if the behavior is irritating, I will stop reading.

  2. Anne Parent says:

    Great blog, Edie. I’m a bit of a grammar nazi, probably due to teaching writing. My pet peeve is the overuse of commas. It says weak writer to me, as does inappropriate dialogue tags. Since I read many books on my Kindle or Nook, I don’t throw them any longer.

  3. I have never thrown a book. It’s not the book’s fault 🙂 It’s the writer’s.

    But I am a stickler for grammar, although to be honest, given that I’m from the British colonies, I have to accept a lot of the spelling and grammar that to me it wrong in the US books I read, and I have to go through my own work carefully and take out the British spelling and grammar that is perfectly right to me, and replace it with US spelling and grammar. Thank goodness for you, Edie!
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Cover Reveal – DARK HORSE

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Michelle, ditto about the books.

      And, Michelle, I’m glad to help! I wish we we used quote marks like the Brits do. Their way makes more sense.

Comments are closed.