Sometimes writers and scholars ask me about grammar and spelling checkers, or tell me about a new one they discovered online. Sometimes they pay for these services, and sometimes not.
My response is always to listen carefully with interest because what they are really telling me is about what they know about writing and writing tools. My first general reply is that I pay attention to spellcheck and grammar check suggestions, but I always evaluate them critically. They are not always correct. However, they can provide some insight into writing if used thoughtfully. My second general reply is that I never pay for these services because there is not an automated spelling and grammar tool for purchase that is any better than free ones like MS Word’s or Google Docs’.
Today, I read a brief but well researched and practical blog entry by Composition scholar/professor Nick Carbone that addresses this topic very well, and I thought it’d be of interest to everyone who writes or teaches writing.