I was watching an interview with Sting on YouTube yesterday about his process for writing songs. He said a few things that I thought were important for anyone pursuing the arts to hear. He said that he wasn’t classically trained and that when he writes a song, he lets the work come to him through experimenting and jamming with other artists.
Juxtapose that point with a paid advertisement article that was titled: “Why Grammarly Is Key for Young Professionals.” No need to link it here because it was full of nonsense and popups. And “is” really shouldn’t be capitalized in a title. Not because it is wrong, but because it looks strange.
I get most of my business from Upwork and for a while they had a deal with Grammarly that “checked” every communication I wrote to clients. There would be a big red number in the bottom right corner of every message denoting errors I had made, which would also be underlined. Some things would be autocorrected.
Let me sum up Grammarly in one word: horseshit. (I just think it works better as one word.)
Grammarly improves “writing correctness”
That is a term that was used in another article that Grammarly paid a writer to write. I am not sure what the term means because writing is a form of communication and communication is not done in a vacuum or a bubble. It is constantly changing. Words written yesterday take on a slightly different meaning today.
If you are worried about “writing correctness” then you ain’t writing. Your goal is to convey information in the best way possible (if you are writing a business letter) or in the prettiest way possible (if you are writing a love poem) or in the… this list is infinite. “Writing correctness” disregards my intention and I am the author so what, then, is the point?
9 ways Grammarly will improve clarity and readability
If Grammarly was around with Picasso, then it would have taken out a gun and shot everything he created.
Do you want to improve clarity and readability?
- Read your writing out loud.
- Listen for areas that are clunky or that you stumble over.
- Fix them.
- Oh, you wanted a computer to do that for you. Ok.
Something called “reader engagement”
Grammarly will suggest words and phrases to “liven up” your message. It will also rid your work of weak phrasing.
Ok, let’s see if it can improve Hemmingway.
In The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway writes:
“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”
Grammarly would say there is too many “whats” in the second sentence. It would also say never end a sentence with is. It would not consider context or the author. It would ask Ernest Hemingway to approve some corrections!
Paul cannot read music
Grammarly is fine if you want a spell checker, but your computer already does that for you for free. I don’t think these writers that take money from them to write puff pieces understand that they are helping to kill their own business. Soon AI will be writing for us and everything will be bland and correct and we can keep staring at Tik Tok.
Paul McCartney cannot read or write music. Picasso didn’t paint within the lines. Sting isn’t trained. Stop worrying about writing being right. If it achieves the goal of getting your message across in the style you want, then it is correct.