One tool in particular that I've recently employed is called Grammarly. Grammarly is the spelling and grammar check tool whose free version follows you anywhere on the web. Now, spell check is a pretty standard tool these days. It's included with every operating system on the planet and every man, woman, child, and dog are use to seeing a little red line under their misspelled words and most likely utilize it daily. It's normal. So why add to it? Simply put- Grammarly doesn't just correct your spelling, it teaches you how to write. Bold claim? Yes. Maybe too bold. To say that it teaches writing is a bit exaggerated, but it does help you learn proper grammar as you go. Commas are a big deal for me. I've read a lot about where and how to use them. I still get it wrong. It's a curse (for now at least) that I've found Grammarly takes care of for me. But it doesn't leave me not thinking about my commas, quite the opposite. Grammarly tells me what I'm doing wrong. It tells me the why in a very unobtrusive way. Its minimal interface sits even now below this blog post blinking to let me know I've gone and done something ridiculous with my words. And when I hover over the underlined word it doesn't just offer me the corrected version but instead poses a question to me (in a neat little box) that asks me why I did what I did, and then suggests other available options that are grammatically correct. And I learn from this.
The best part is that it not only has its own word processor available on its website, but it follows me around to my online email, my Draft account, and even into Evernote. Correcting me as I go. It's my new little friend via a simple Chrome extension (please build a Safari one!). I've added a couple screenshots below for your viewing pleasure. One of the Grammarly editor with its corrections listed off to the side and one from my Draft account where you can see the little ball indicator at the bottom of the screen. The story is old and riddled with errors. Perfect.
|Grammarly.com editor with corrections.|
|Utilizing Grammarly at Draft.|
It's worth mentioning there is also a paid version of this software- I've only been using and describing the free features in this post- that includes: Style and sentence structure checks, 24/7 email and phone support, support for MS Word, and a plagiarism check. They even tout a money back guarantee which is nice should you sign up and not feel it's really doing what you want.
I should end this post by saying that I'm a firm believer that tools do not make an artist. Should nothing be available to you but a gnawed up pencil and some toilet paper then you can still write. You can still create. But it is really nice to have tools that assist you and not just correct mistakes for you but get you involved in the correction process as well. I'd recommend Grammarly to any who writes and is looking for a bit of enhancement to their writing experience.