In an earlier post, we gave details on some of the problems associated with the Google Translate tool. Well, there’s another type of automated tool that often makes intelligent writers look foolish, and that is the automatic grammar checker. Grammar is crucial to every kind of writing, but relying on an automatic grammar checker to fix your mistakes is a recipe for disaster.

Here are a few reasons why:

The Rules are Limited

English grammar laws are pretty complex, and the rules for most grammar-checking software is limited, so the results are often incorrect. Automatic grammar checkers have problems with context, which is why they might let sentences that are nothing more than a mess of jumbled words go through, and flag sentences that make perfect sense in the context of the piece.

As an example…you are preparing a memo or review about giving an employee a promotion and you write, “We do not want to see Sally succeed and move into a management position.” A grammar checker won’t remove the word “not” even though it completely alters the meaning of the sentence, and poor Sally is sent home in tears.  Say what you mean and mean what you say doesn’t always work out when a grammar checker is in charge of your sentences.

It Makes You Lazy

Many people don’t see a problem with allowing an automated tool to correct all of their grammar mistakes, but even when a grammar checker is working properly, it inspires laziness. When you depend on the tool to find and correct your grammar issues, you aren’t motivated to learn what those issues look like or how to correct them yourself when you aren’t at the computer.

This over-reliance and subsequent laziness leaves you dazed and confused if you have to write anything away from your trusty software. It may also lead to some serious embarrassment if you just assume it’s going to work and don’t bother to follow up with editing.

Potential Professional Embarrassment

Many grammar checkers (even the popular ones) won’t pick up sentences that are complete nonsense, or will suggest corrections that will turn it into nonsense. That includes professional reports and documents that will make you look horribly unprofessional if you send them along without checking them first.

It is important to have a decent grasp of the English language, so you can tell when the context or tense is all messed up. It is doubly important to go over the automated corrections before you print that report or hand in the document. Just because the checker lets it through doesn’t mean it is right.

If you use a professional editing service, remember to ask if they use an automated tool for checking grammar or have real humans going over every sentence!