The following two phrases MS Word marks as wrong, whereas I think they are correct; but I would like feedback to be sure.

Microsoft and Cisco are both designing ...

MS Word suggests changing the are to is.

What additional hardware and software will the business be required to obtain?

MS Word suggests changing the be to are.

In both cases I think MS Word's suggestion is wrong, but I would like to have this confirmed.

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    My instincts agree with yours, but I'll leave an answer to someone else that can REALLY explain the grammar. Commented May 27, 2011 at 1:20
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    If MS could reliably decide what constitutes valid English, that would be a lot more than just a tool for their word processor - they'd be most of the way to fully-functional AI. Sometimes (mostly simple but common mistakes) MS Word will 'suggest' a useful correction, but mostly it's just for calling your attention to something that's worth you double-checking. Commented May 27, 2011 at 1:31
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    True. But having said that its incredible how often it does get it right. More times than not certainly so if it does suggest something differently I do stop and wonder am I right or is it? Problem is that squiggly line just screams 'wrong' not 'maybe double-check'. Perhaps they should keep the squiggly line for spelling and use something else for grammar where their software is more likely to be wrong. Maybe a squiggly line with a question mark at the end of it.
    – benkluge
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 1:40
  • @benkluge: I guess it depends what kind of mistakes you tend to make. I will admit that when it comes to spelling, there are an increasing number of words where I simply don't make any effort, secure in the knowledge that Word will change every cieling to a ceiling without me having to stop and think "i after e,..." Commented May 27, 2011 at 2:19
  • ...but I do get fed up with Word constantly telling me my sentences are too long and complex. For a dumb program, maybe. Or for snappy advertising copy. Commented May 27, 2011 at 2:20

1 Answer 1


You are definitely right and the MS Word is wrong.

The MS Word language checker is obviously parsing the sentences improperly and instead of understanding "Microsoft and Cisco are", it probably understands "Microsoft", then "and" for a new sentence and "Cisco", so it wants to have "Cisco is" at that place.

Similar problem with the latter phrase. Just ignore it and use your common sense, as it seems to be working properly :)

  • Thanks heaps:) In the past would have just gone by common sense but the grammar checker made me paranoid that I might be wrong.
    – benkluge
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 1:24

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