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Old 12-11-2012, 03:31 AM   #1
jhempel24
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Trusting Words grammar check?

I'm trying to figure out why it's saying that this is a sentence fragment. I know my grammar isn't the best, but I don't know why this is considered a fragment:

Quote:
When things get messed up, like they have with you, bad things happen to people.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:52 AM   #2
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Word's grammar checker is a waste of space. Ignore it. (But not the spell checker!)
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:05 AM   #3
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Thanks Harry, I had figured as much, but thought I'd ask people that know more.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:27 AM   #4
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I'd trust Harry's word more than mine (I'm Australian after all, grammar is not one of our specialties ), but I agree with him. And not just Word's. The best you can really hope for from a grammar checker is to achieve someone's idea of what is formally correct. Fiction is generally much looser. And anyway, writers gradually develop their own style - it's part of the art form - so the only grammar checker that a writer would ever find all that useful would be one written for themselves.

One thing that I have found useful is to keep a document that lists errors (or questionable usage) that I commonly make, along with the relevant search string that helps to find them (OpenOffice supports regex searches which can be useful, I suppose Word does too). I try to remember to keep this up to date as I discover things I do regularly. Some errors I've slowly grown out of ("it's" vs "its" was a real bug-bear with me, I know the correct usage but my fingers would constantly get it wrong, but I'm getting better). Other things that have showed in my list have been an over use of "seemed" and "looking", and repeating "the" - I'm sure we all have our own built-in glitches. When I'm starting a technical review I use this list of errors to check for things that I know I'm guilty of, checking each instance to make sure it's valid and appropriate. That still leaves all the one-off errors, but that's why we still need external editors.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:22 AM   #5
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I'm sooo guilty of the past/present tense thing right now. I don't even notice it until it's pointed out. Although going back and reading it, it's starting to pop out at me.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Word's grammar checker is a waste of space. Ignore it. (But not the spell checker!)
I would not go to that extreme... but you cannot really trust it. It will catch some things fairly well, others it will miss completely and some it will just plain misreport. If you have a decent grasp of grammar you can find it useful... but it can not even come close to replacing a 1/2 decent proof reader or copy-editor.

In short, hire an editor when your done before you publish regardless of what word says.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Word's grammar checker is a waste of space. Ignore it. (But not the spell checker!)




You should see what it tries to do to poetry.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhempel24 View Post
I'm sooo guilty of the past/present tense thing right now. I don't even notice it until it's pointed out. Although going back and reading it, it's starting to pop out at me.
I think two of the things beginning writers need to continually focus on are Tense and Point of View.

JMHO
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
I think two of the things beginning writers need to continually focus on are Tense and Point of View.

JMHO
I agree....I think I'm having POV problems too...I dunno...will go back later and check and fix. I just want to get the thing written and then re-write/edit, whatever. Still a long long way to go, but I'm hoping to spend a couple hours a day writing, be it 2,000 or 10,000 words.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:55 AM   #10
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There's a plugin you can get for Word called Stylewriter. It's no substitute for a real person, but it's better than the one built in.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:32 PM   #11
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does it happen to work with Apache Open Office?
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:44 PM   #12
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Looks like there is a stand-alone version: http://www.stylewriter-usa.com/
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:18 PM   #13
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I once saw a paragraph that I could barely read that would go through Word's grammar checker without showing an error. I have used the one with Word for a number of years and have learned a lot from it. The last English I had was a bonehead course as a freshman in college, the last before that was 9th grade so I have some serious deficiency.

I see Libre Office (which is free) now has a grammar checker though I have not tried it as yet.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhempel24 View Post
I'm trying to figure out why it's saying that this is a sentence fragment. I know my grammar isn't the best, but I don't know why this is considered a fragment:
It said that because it is correct. That is a poorly constructed sentence.

If you take the commas out and use en or em dashes it will accept it because the construction - although still clumsy - is now valid.

When things get messed up - like they have with you - bad things happen to people.

Word's grammar checker, although not brilliant, is NOT a waste of space for those who lack grammatical skills. It will show areas of grammatical contention even if it does not always provide an ideal correction. Remember also that it can be fine tuned in options. It offers a lot that is useful for novice writers in its style options.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:59 AM   #15
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so what is the difference between the comma and the dashes, don't the both do the same thing?
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