I have encountered a too good to be true software called 'WhiteSmoke' and it's very tempting to make a purchase. I haven't used any automated software as I think that it can ruin the very tone of your writing. I read a lot of good reviews though and yet, I'm still undecided. Any advice?
Like they say in the classics, if it's too good to be true, it probably is!
We all want to improve our writing and grammar skills, but the one thing I've always firmly believed in, is that no machine will ever be able to match the human brain, ever.
A bold statement perhaps, but here's a perfect, although somewhat deliberately determined, example:
I inserted this sentence into WhiteSmoke's free online grammar checker: "Now once upon a thyme, when the monkeys drink whine and the birds sat together on a telephone lime, I find myself dreaming of a frying elephant!"
Three deliberate spelling mistakes should not confuse the grammar, and yet it only detected two grammar mistakes; the 'drink whine' (two 'verbs' next to each other); and a comma between I and lime. Huh?
And that's enough reason for me not to spend any money on these types of products. Advanced algiorhythms, raving reviews or whatever. Use the free versions to guide you, but nothing will ever come close to the solid English rules we are taught. Simple.
Maybe not as simple for second language English speakers, because English is a very complicated language to learn and master. Many first language English speakers are terrible at it. And that's why these products target this huge demand. But they'll never crack it 100%.
There are too many rules, exceptions, varieties of 'acceptable' writing styles (apart from modernized English, the differences between US and UK .. and other "Englishes" [is THAT gramatically correct?] "poetic licence" and slang) and many other factors that make creating the 'perfect' grammar checker about as impossible .. no, let me rephrase .. improbable, as a brain transplant.
So as for buying these types of products .. well only if you're really rich and have nothing better to spend your money on. Personally, I'd use all the free versions and guides and pay for real English lessons.
And that comes from an old-school guy who is absolutely passionate about English, and almost as opposed to machines taking over, so maybe I'm biased :)
And if you REALLY want to get me started, ask a question about (article) spinning software! LOL
@Glen Maree: It's good I have asked... Whoever is designing WhiteSmoke's marketing campaign is uber effective, no doubt. The example you made here is so funny and I'd say OMG to whoever is using it right now.. I guess, you're right about a lot of things and the best way to polish your writing is through: Practice. It's more tough for those who are using English as their second language, where they think in their local language - transcribing it to written English form.
All these software trying to automate everything just drives me nuts, really... and no, I won't ask about article spinning software haha. With Google Panda on the watch, we can see the death of these tools used for SEO's sake. I just really fancy having my own personal editor before I click on the 'Publish' button.
I'd take your word for it so thanks for the advice here!
answered May 17 '11 at 05:23