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I've been using this software for quite some time now. Not once until yesterday did I question the authenticity of its 'Grammar Check' reports.

Yesterday, I tried to test Grammarly with a piece of writing by Bertrand Russell from a Routledge compilation of his called 'Why Men Fight'. I've been a loving reader of Russell since childhood.

Grammarly reported 26 writing issues in the following text. The following piece was awarded a little over 50 points out of 100. I don't have anything else to say. Do you think that software like Grammarly can ever be precise?

Lay on, Macduff, And damned be him that first cries, Hold, enough!

But such strength and recklessness of impulse is rare. Most men, when their impulse is strong, succeed in persuading themselves, usually by a subconscious selectiveness of attention, that agreeable consequences will follow from the indulgence of their impulse. Whole philosophies, whole systems of ethical valuation, spring up in this way; they are the embodiment of a kind of thought which is subservient to impulse, which aims at providing a quasi-rational ground for the indulgence of impulse. The intellectual impulse of curiosity, leading to the desire to know and understand. But most of what passes for thought is inspired by some non-intellectual impulse, and is merely a means of persuading ourselves that we shall not be disappointed or do harm if we indulge this impulse.

When an impulse is restrained, we feel discomfort or even violent pain. We may indulge in impulse in order to escape from this pain, and our action is then one which has a purpose. But the pain only exists because of the impulse, and the impulse itself is directed to an act, not escaping from the pain of restraining the impulse. The impulse itself remains without a purpose, and the purpose of escaping from pain only arises when the impulse has been momentarily restrained.

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closed as off topic by Will Hunting, waiwai933 Aug 27 '12 at 7:35

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Precise? Yes. 100% right? No. –  Jim Aug 27 '12 at 5:55
    
@Jim - Pardon me for using 'precise'. It has got to be precise. Grammarly, essentially, is lines of code; and lines of code don't go wrong. I'm still a fan of Grammarly. How do you explain a 50 something score of Bertrand Russell. I'll try putting Salman Rushdie, Milan Kundera in there and who knows, the next thing I get is a 20 something score. –  MontyPython Aug 27 '12 at 6:01
    
I have no idea what the intended function of this program is, but there's nothing wrong with Russell's prose. It reads smoothly. I would give it 100 points. –  Cerberus Aug 27 '12 at 6:10
    
@Cerberus - That's exactly what I have been saying! I wouldn't even give it points, it's perfect. :) –  MontyPython Aug 27 '12 at 6:13
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The question is more about writing than English language as such. Suggested migration to writersSE. –  Kris Aug 27 '12 at 7:52

1 Answer 1

You can find a practical test of Grammarly, by Grammarist, here. Their conclusion? "Grammarly doesn’t work. As the above results show, Grammarly did not catch several of our intentional grammar and spelling errors, it had nothing to say about any of our intentionally misused words, and it makes recommendations based on 19th-century grammar superstitions."

Another practical test can be found at The Economist, which also concludes that "Grammarly has utterly flailed in the tests here."

I did find the suggestion of 'Stygian South Africans' quite delightful though: "...none of "Stygian", "unhealthy", "despairing" and "terrible" are particularly good synonyms for "black" when you are talking about black South Africans."

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-1 This may not be the right place to critique a certain utility. Or even to debate its merits. –  Kris Aug 27 '12 at 7:55
    
You down-vote me simply for the act of answering a question? The politics in here is getting tiresome... –  Roaring Fish Aug 27 '12 at 7:59
    
I down voted for carrying further an off-topic issue, not for merely answering a question. And, there's NO politics in that, I assure you. –  Kris Aug 27 '12 at 8:01
    
Guys, this was an honest attempt to inquire whether or not Grammarly is good or not. It is a major tool and it used by hundreds of thousands of people. It has an impact. That's why I asked the question. No politics here, man. And you keep down-voting me too. Not fair. –  MontyPython Aug 27 '12 at 8:06
    
@Kris ~ Down voting because in your opinion it is off-topic is politics - it has nothing to do with the substance of the answer, but merely for the existence of the answer. The question was open, and had attracted several comments, so I answered it. If you really must down vote, do it because an answer contains errors or doesn't address the question etc, not because you just don't like the fact that I bothered to answer. There is way too much of this kind of political down voting in SE, and it spoils what should be a good site. –  Roaring Fish Aug 27 '12 at 8:11

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