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I make use of Grammarly, often to aid with writing what I suppose, with the suggestions provided, to be correct English. With regularity, Grammarly makes suggestions that I feel compelled to ignore, such as;

These are from SE answers recently,

  • Change ...value for the site user to pay you to value for the site used to pay you - perhaps 'site user' could be hyphenated?
  • Change generally paid per-click to generally paid-per-click
  • Change Or, a donation banner drive with email-out. to Or, a donation banner drives with email-out.
  • And, several more.

Does Grammarly predominantly give the correct use of English?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Roaring Fish, David, FumbleFingers, Edwin Ashworth, Shoe Jan 29 '18 at 11:50

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Actually... the recommendations made by Grammarly in sentences 2 and 3 are valid, paid-per-click looks better than pay per-click to my eyes. – Mari-Lou A Jan 28 '18 at 11:33
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    @Mari-LouA For #2 it depends on the context. If paid is the main verb in the phrase, it should not be made part of the compound adjective. Only established compound adjectives take a hyphen when used after the head noun (with a copula) anyway, and while per-click can be an established compound adjective, I doubt paid per click would be regarded as such. As for #3, I don't see how changing the noun "drive" (head of the compound donation banner drive) to a verb could possibly not ruin the sentence. – oerkelens Jan 28 '18 at 12:18
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    @oerkelens No. 3 I misread, although I don't understand what donation banner drive with email-out means anyway. – Mari-Lou A Jan 28 '18 at 12:22
  • My guess is that it is marketing lingo for a campaign of internet advertisements asking people to donate money, combined with a mass-email asking for the same to any and all potential donors we happen to have the e-mail address of. – oerkelens Jan 28 '18 at 12:44
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    In your third example, Grammarly seems to have been confused by the fact that you've not written a full sentence and it presumably thought "drive" was the word that was most likely to be a verb. – David Richerby Jan 28 '18 at 15:03
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You may get someone who uses Grammarly answering your question here. But you could also do a Google search which should pull up user experiences. One grammar expert who has nothing good to say about computerized writing checkers is Professor Pullum, co-author of A Cambridge Guide to English Grammar and contributor to Language Log.

Here is an extract from his post A virus that fixes your grammar:

Free-standing tools like Grammarly are similarly hopeless (i.e. similar to Microsoft Word). They merely read and note possible "errors", leaving you to make corrections. They couldn't possibly be modified into programs that would proactively correct your prose.

As a second example, here's an extract from the Arrant Pedantry blog by linguist Jonathan Owen (Fifty Shades of Bad Grammar Advice). In it he analyses the corrections to mistakes that Grammarly claims to have found in Fifty Shades of Grey:

So, just to recap, that’s nine supposed grammatical errors that Grammarly says will ruin your prose, most of which are not errors and have nothing to do with grammar. Their suggested fixes, on the other hand, sometimes introduce grammatical errors and always worsen the writing. The takeaway from all of this is not, as Grammarly says, that loves conquers all, but rather that Grammarly doesn’t know the first thing about grammar, let alone good writing.

Of course, the fact that Grammarly clearly sometimes gives wrong advice, does not necessarily mean that it does not "predominantly give the correct use of English". Perhaps some users of Grammarly can confirm whether, in their experience, it does or not. And even if it doesn't, some might find it useful to be alerted to a potential error even if it is not an actually error or the suggested correction is erroneous.

  • I certainly appreciate it when Grammarly notifies me that I am writing with passive tense and, helpfully suggests a semicolon where I have placed a comma. I also note that it regularly overlooks small errors such as leaving the 's' from the previous word errors. Proof-reading is certainly still necessary. – Willtech Jan 28 '18 at 11:33
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    @Willtech. I think that Grammarly, Word etc. are useful tools for people who are already confident enough about their grammar to know when to ignore the advice. I always have the Word grammar check turned on when I write extended texts, and from time to time I have made corrections or improvements based on the green-squiggly highlightings that alert me to possible problems. – Shoe Jan 28 '18 at 11:42
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    @Willtech There is nothing wrong with writing in the passive voice (not a tense, incidentally—arguably not a voice either, but that’s what it’s traditionally called). Use whatever construction reads most naturally. Most people (and automated grammar checkers) don’t know what the passive is, anyway, and can’t recognise it for the life of them (see this exhaustive list for more). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 28 '18 at 12:44
  • Ah, double negative... – Peter Mortensen Jan 28 '18 at 22:43
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    While this is valuable and accurate, critiquing works rather than usages is obviously off-topic on ELU. The correct action is to try to have this transferred to Meta. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 29 '18 at 0:21
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I use Grammarly's online text checker. It is checking this answer as I type and flags many, but not all, obvious typos and grammatical mismatches, etc.

It's good for that, but I still reject many of those suggestions.

My experience as a native speaker with other, but similar, grammar checkers is they are a serious waste of time and energy. They flag far too many "errors" that are correct - often a style choice or idiomatic use I specifically wanted.

Note that most of Grammarly's paying customers are businesses. It is designed to suit their needs, not the needs of ordinary folk wanting to improve their communications skills. It is a useful tool for businesses wanting to check their technical documents. I wish more IT businesses would use it to check their so-called User Manuals.

The point I would make for someone learning English is any benefits of using their detailed reports will fade over time - if you are using it wisely.

You should never just accept its suggestions. Instead, look into the reasons behind them. That should help you identify some of the finer points of grammar you should be trying to learn.

Most of all, do not apply its suggestions unless you understand why they were made and you agree they are appropriate in this instance. Hopefully, after not very long, the free online checker will then be you all you really need.

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