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Grammar checkers cannot analyze the context of your writing—the audience, purpose, and subject you are discussing. All they can do is recommend alternatives for specific words and phrases often found in common errors of grammar and style, such as subject/verb disagreement and wordiness. But the words and phrases the grammar checkers identify might not be errors in the context of your writing, and the recommended alternatives might be inappropriate. For this assignment, perform the following tasks:
1. Select a passage of about 500 words from a document you have written recently, either in a course or on the job.
2. Run the grammar checker on this passage and, on a sheet of paper, note each suggestion that the grammar checker makes.
3. Using your textbook (or a grammar handbook), look up the topic identified in each suggestion and determine whether the suggestion is valid.
4. Make a list of useful and less-than-useful suggestions. Is there a pattern? In other words, is the grammar checker good at superficial issues such as subject/verb disagreement but not so good at issues of word choice, such as vagueness?
Write a 500-word memo to your instructor reporting your findings.
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- The New York Times
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