Tuesday, April 12, 2005

On Microsoft's grammar checker

From "Microsoft Word Grammar Checker Are No Good, Scholar Conclude," in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

If you've ever used Microsoft Word, chances are you've seen that jagged green line appear beneath something you've written--scolding you for drafting a fragmented sentence, maybe, or for slipping into the passive voice. That's Microsoft's grammar-checking technology at work.

But how much good does the grammar checker actually do? Precious little, according to Sandeep Krishnamurthy, an associate professor of marketing and e-commerce at the University of Washington. After experimenting with the tool, Mr. Krishnamurthy concluded that it cannot identify many basic grammatical faux pas--like errors in capitalization, punctuation, and verb tense.

Now he has dedicated himself to chronicling the grammar checker's blind spots, and to persuading Microsoft to improve the tool.

On his Web site (http://faculty.washington.edu/sandeep/check), Mr. Krishnamurthy has posted evidence that he considers damning: a series of examples of poor grammar the software considers passable. One reads: "Marketing are bad for brand big and small. You Know What I am Saying? It is no wondering that advertisings are bad for company in America, Chicago and Germany."

Microsoft officials did not respond to calls for comment. . . .

Editor's note: The headline on this article cleared Microsoft's grammar checker.
You can read the entire article by clicking here. (Via Arts & Letters Daily.)

By the way, you can easily be rid of jagged red and green lines: go to Tools, Options, and Spelling & Grammar to turn off the automatic (and annoying) spelling and grammar checkers. Then just hit F7 when you want to check spelling.

comments: 0