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View Full Version : MS Word's grammer checker failed by Prof.



Swift
2005-Mar-30, 02:57 PM
I'm surprised no one else posted about this.

What's wrong with this sentence?

"Microsoft the company should big improve Word grammar check."

A University of Washington associate professor ran it through the grammar check in Microsoft Word, and the software found it acceptable.

I checked it myself and Word says it's ok.
LINKY (http://www.newsnet5.com/technology/4328423/detail.html) (as yes, I know that LINKY is not a word)

SeanF
2005-Mar-30, 03:00 PM
I'm surprised no one else posted about this.

What's wrong with this sentence?

"Microsoft the company should big improve Word grammar check."

A University of Washington associate professor ran it through the grammar check in Microsoft Word, and the software found it acceptable.

I checked it myself and Word says it's ok.
LINKY (http://www.newsnet5.com/technology/4328423/detail.html) (as yes, I know that LINKY is not a word)
Years ago, when Word first included a grammar checker, I ran the intro narration to Star Trek through it.

It told me that "Where no man has gone before" was "gender exclusive" and suggested "no person" instead, but did not tell me that "to boldly go" was a split infinitive.

Thusly, I gave up on it right away, and have never really used it. :)

Hmm. I wonder if it still does that . . .

[Edit: Just tried it in MS Word 2002. It tells me there's nothing wrong with it at all, now]

Russ
2005-Mar-30, 03:22 PM
The surprise is that people are surprised about this. I figured out a long time ago that Words' grammer checker would have to improve by several orders of magnitude to SUCK.

Sotos
2005-Mar-30, 03:26 PM
Run this through:


Abraham Lincoln was a successful president, for him belief in the American life way.

Mine says it's okely-dokely.

Swift
2005-Mar-30, 04:23 PM
I'm not trying to be politically incorrect, but don't both of those sentences sound like bad-Hollywood-1950s-Indian-trying-to-talk-like-white-man?


Abraham Lincoln was a successful president, for him belief in the American life way.

Microsoft the company should big improve Word grammar check.
IMHO, Microsoft in heep big trouble with grammer check.
:D

mopc
2005-Mar-30, 05:00 PM
Well, first as a student of Linguistics I would never even consider using a computer grammar check, for no grammar has been fully analised, let alone programmed into MS Word. No computer is capable of analysing human language grammar. It's too complex.


[Years ago, when Word first included a grammar checker, I ran the intro narration to Star Trek through it.

It told me that "Where no man has gone before" was "gender exclusive" and suggested "no person" instead, but did not tell me that "to boldly go" was a split infinitive.

Thusly, I gave up on it right away, and have never really used it. :)

Hmm. I wonder if it still does that . . .


Speakers of English are still indoctrinated to believe that "split infinitives" are a mistake? :o I read a lot about those fake rules that teachers invent to justify their own existence, but the "don't split the infinitive" 'rule' rivals with the "don't end a sentence with a preposition" "rule" as the two most absurd and annoying products of prescriptive grammar dementia!!!!

W.F. Tomba
2005-Mar-30, 05:37 PM
Speakers of English are still indoctrinated to believe that "split infinitives" are a mistake? :o I read a lot about those fake rules that teachers invent to justify their own existence, but the "don't split the infinitive" 'rule' rivals with the "don't end a sentence with a preposition" "rule" as the two most absurd and annoying products of prescriptive grammar dementia!!!!
Right on, brother!

AGN Fuel
2005-Mar-30, 11:59 PM
Speakers of English are still indoctrinated to believe that "split infinitives" are a mistake? :o I read a lot about those fake rules that teachers invent to justify their own existence, but the "don't split the infinitive" 'rule' rivals with the "don't end a sentence with a preposition" "rule" as the two most absurd and annoying products of prescriptive grammar dementia!!!!

Split the infinitive by all means as I find this often adds a poetic lilt to a narrative. However, I am not so sure that ending sentences with a preposition does anything other than make the writer sound like the toughest 3 years of their life were those in 5th Grade......

mopc
2005-Mar-31, 12:49 AM
The anti-split infinitive rule, no matter what, is a rule "up with which I cannot put" :P

So AGN you would say/write "this is something about which I can't do anything" instead of "this is something I can't do anything about"????? :o

W.F. Tomba
2005-Mar-31, 01:15 AM
Split the infinitive by all means as I find this often adds a poetic lilt to a narrative. However, I am not so sure that ending sentences with a preposition does anything other than make the writer sound like the toughest 3 years of their life were those in 5th Grade......
That's a pretty tough standard to live by. And after all, what are you afraid of? These picky rules are just not worth worrying about.

Normandy6644
2005-Mar-31, 01:47 AM
Speakers of English are still indoctrinated to believe that "split infinitives" are a mistake? :o I read a lot about those fake rules that teachers invent to justify their own existence, but the "don't split the infinitive" 'rule' rivals with the "don't end a sentence with a preposition" "rule" as the two most absurd and annoying products of prescriptive grammar dementia!!!!

Split the infinitive by all means as I find this often adds a poetic lilt to a narrative. However, I am not so sure that ending sentences with a preposition does anything other than make the writer sound like the toughest 3 years of their life were those in 5th Grade......

I think it depends on the sentence, really. Obviously "where you at?" isn't the best sentence, but for some reason ending sentences with prepositions in English sounds okay a lot of the time. Other languages, not so much.

mopc
2005-Mar-31, 01:47 AM
Split the infinitive by all means as I find this often adds a poetic lilt to a narrative. However, I am not so sure that ending sentences with a preposition does anything other than make the writer sound like the toughest 3 years of their life were those in 5th Grade......
That's a pretty tough standard to live by. And after all, what are you afraid of? These picky rules are just not worth worrying about.


No, no. It's "after all, of what are you afraid" and "about these picky rules are not worth worrying" :o :lol:

W.F. Tomba
2005-Mar-31, 01:55 AM
I think it depends on the sentence, really. Obviously "where you at?" isn't the best sentence, but for some reason ending sentences with prepositions in English sounds okay a lot of the time. Other languages, not so much.
"Where you at?" sounds bad because it's either slang or a "non-standard" dialect. In Standard American English, the "at" in that sentence is superfluous, not just in the wrong place (and of course the verb is missing).

The similar construction "Who are you with?" sounds fine to me. "With whom are you?" sounds ludicrous.

W.F. Tomba
2005-Mar-31, 02:02 AM
Split the infinitive by all means as I find this often adds a poetic lilt to a narrative. However, I am not so sure that ending sentences with a preposition does anything other than make the writer sound like the toughest 3 years of their life were those in 5th Grade......
That's a pretty tough standard to live by. And after all, what are you afraid of? These picky rules are just not worth worrying about.


No, no. It's "after all, of what are you afraid" and "about these picky rules are not worth worrying" :o :lol:
As I said, that's a pretty tough standard by which to live! For what did they make all these rules, anyway? Trying to follow them all is more pain than that to which I want to subject myself! #-o

VTBoy
2005-Mar-31, 03:46 AM
WordPerfect says the sentence is incorrect. I guess they have a better grammar checker.

Evan
2005-Mar-31, 04:18 AM
So tell me, what is the difference between "it seems wrong" and "it needs clean"?

W.F. Tomba
2005-Mar-31, 04:39 AM
So tell me, what is the difference between "it seems wrong" and "it needs clean"?
"Seems" is a linking verb, so it gets followed by a subject complement, in this case an adjective. "Needs" is a transitive action verb, so it must take a direct object, which must be a noun or something that can act as one---not the adjective "clean". "It needs cleaning" is correct because "cleaning" is a gerund and thus functions as a noun.

I am at a loss to explain "It needs cleaned", however, which is perfectly normal usage in some North American dialects.

Evan
2005-Mar-31, 05:44 AM
But, "it seems to be wrong" and "it needs to be clean" are both correct.

Also, both wrong and clean are nouns and verbs. (one sense for clean as a noun)

mopc
2005-Mar-31, 06:04 AM
But, "it seems to be wrong" and "it needs to be clean" are both correct.

Also, both wrong and clean are nouns and verbs. (one sense for clean as a noun)

The verb "seem" can get an adjective (it seems clean) and a "to+verb" complement (it seems to fall).
The verb "need" can get a verb complement (with or negated also without "to" = "he needs to clean" and "he needn't rise") or a noun phrase complement "he needs a clean room".

It's like chemistry - each word in each human language has certain "chemical properties" that enable them to be linked with certain kinds of complements but not others.

W.F. Tomba
2005-Mar-31, 06:14 AM
But, "it seems to be wrong" and "it needs to be clean" are both correct.
In that case you're using an infinitive phrase. Infinitives can act as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. In "It seems to be wrong" the infinitive phrase acts as an adjective, while in "It needs to be clean" it acts as a noun.

Also, both wrong and clean are nouns and verbs. (one sense for clean as a noun)
It's irrelevant that these two words can be verbs, and that wrong can be a noun. In this case it is an adjective. As for clean as a noun, I haven't heard it used that way often, and never without an article. It's actually not quite possible to tell which part of speech it is in "It needs clean", since it does not fit into any normal syntactical structure when used that way.

Facile comparisons won't get you very far in grammar. "I'm going to school" and "I'm going to die" are not analogous constructions.

mopc
2005-Mar-31, 06:30 AM
Facile comparisons won't get you very far in grammar. "I'm going to school" and "I'm going to die" are not analogous constructions.

Yes, and evidence of that is that you can shorten the second one to "I'm gonna die" but you can't say "*I'm gonna school"

AGN Fuel
2005-Mar-31, 06:39 AM
Split the infinitive by all means as I find this often adds a poetic lilt to a narrative. However, I am not so sure that ending sentences with a preposition does anything other than make the writer sound like the toughest 3 years of their life were those in 5th Grade......
That's a pretty tough standard to live by. And after all, what are you afraid of?

Well, the last time I ended a sentence with a proposition, I got my face slapped....
8-[
(In fact, the gentle lady to whom I was speaking indicated that I risked ending my proposition with a sentence......) :wink:

mid
2005-Mar-31, 08:38 AM
No, no. It's "after all, of what are you afraid" and "about these picky rules are not worth worrying" :o :lol:

Begun, the grammer wars have.

mopc
2005-Mar-31, 09:17 AM
No, no. It's "after all, of what are you afraid" and "about these picky rules are not worth worrying" :o :lol:

Begun, the grammer wars have.

OLL (out loud laughing)!

But really how do you remove the preposition from the end of "these rules are not worth worrying about", without adding elements? Because you could do:

-It's not worth it worrying about these rules

But you'd be adding...the same with:

-Worrying about these rules is not worth it.

The only thing I can come up... I mean, with which I can come up... or hmm... 'up with which I can come' (!!! :o )... whatever... is:

....dang I had thought something up but not with the same exact words.... it's impossible. The sentence I wrote above is the only conceivable permutation:

-About these rules are not worth worrying.

Which is radically ungrammatical!!! In Portuguese the thing goes:

"Com essas regras no vale a pena se preocupar"
(about these rules not worth the pain worrying)

But more exactly, with "these rules" as subject:

"Essas regras no valem a pena se preocupar"
(these rules are not worth worrying)

This one is very weird and is colloquial, almost accidental. But we can drop the verbal prepositions in Portuguese, you guys cannot drop them, it's not Germanic. We can also say:

"Essas regras no vale a pena se preocupar com elas"
(these rules are not worth worrying about them)

Because in Portuguese you can never end a sentence with a preposition, ever, and no one has to be taught that, it simply doesnt happen, it's not in the natural language's syntax, no matter how colloquial the sutuation, no matter how illiterate the person.

In german it's:

-Diese Regeln sind die Sorge nicht wert
(these rules are the worry not worth)

Polish:

-O takich regulach nie warto martwic sie
(About such rules not worth to worry)

Oh, Swedihs is a preposition-in-the-end language! Lets see:


-De hr regler lnas inte kymra sig om
(these here rules pay off not to worry about) - Swedes, correct my example if I'm wrong...but Swedish and other Scandinavian languages also have the preposition-in-the-end phenomenon, no doubt there, I know my Swedish well enough to know that.


In Chinese I know verbs never take a preposition along, so you don't worry about a rule, you worry a rule. You can't play with prepositions in Chinese, totally different.

In Arabic you would have to say something like "these rules are not worth worrying about them", like in colloquial Brazilian Portuguese and in Hebrew, for Arabic preposition must be followed by something even if it's a pronoun referencing to an already mentioned noun (rules)....



......yes, begun they have! :wink: .....

Makgraf
2005-Mar-31, 08:05 PM
Well, first as a student of Linguistics I would never even consider using a computer grammar check, for no grammar has been fully analised, let alone programmed into MS Word. No computer is capable of analysing human language grammar. It's too complex.


[Years ago, when Word first included a grammar checker, I ran the intro narration to Star Trek through it.

It told me that "Where no man has gone before" was "gender exclusive" and suggested "no person" instead, but did not tell me that "to boldly go" was a split infinitive.

Thusly, I gave up on it right away, and have never really used it. :)

Hmm. I wonder if it still does that . . .


Speakers of English are still indoctrinated to believe that "split infinitives" are a mistake? :o I read a lot about those fake rules that teachers invent to justify their own existence, but the "don't split the infinitive" 'rule' rivals with the "don't end a sentence with a preposition" "rule" as the two most absurd and annoying products of prescriptive grammar dementia!!!!
Yi yeh!

I've always hated the no split infinitive rule. John McWhorter has a great takedown in his excellent (and entertaining!) book Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of "Pure" Standard English (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0738204463/qid=1112299073/sr=8-4/ref=pd_csp_4/104-8383919-9857562?v=glance&s=books&n=507846). Basically the rule came from a meddling biship named Robert Lowth who thought that English should follow latin rules. In latin you can't split infinitives because they were one word, thus you shouldn't be able to split them in english as well. McWhorter sarcastically observes that because latin had no indefinite articles you shouldn't be able to split normatives in English either and "a good boy" should be said "good a boy".

mopc
2005-Mar-31, 08:31 PM
Well, first as a student of Linguistics I would never even consider using a computer grammar check, for no grammar has been fully analised, let alone programmed into MS Word. No computer is capable of analysing human language grammar. It's too complex.


[Years ago, when Word first included a grammar checker, I ran the intro narration to Star Trek through it.

It told me that "Where no man has gone before" was "gender exclusive" and suggested "no person" instead, but did not tell me that "to boldly go" was a split infinitive.

Thusly, I gave up on it right away, and have never really used it. :)

Hmm. I wonder if it still does that . . .


Speakers of English are still indoctrinated to believe that "split infinitives" are a mistake? :o I read a lot about those fake rules that teachers invent to justify their own existence, but the "don't split the infinitive" 'rule' rivals with the "don't end a sentence with a preposition" "rule" as the two most absurd and annoying products of prescriptive grammar dementia!!!!
Yi yeh!

I've always hated the no split infinitive rule. John McWhorter has a great takedown in his excellent (and entertaining!) book Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of "Pure" Standard English (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0738204463/qid=1112299073/sr=8-4/ref=pd_csp_4/104-8383919-9857562?v=glance&s=books&n=507846). Basically the rule came from a meddling biship named Robert Lowth who thought that English should follow latin rules. In latin you can't split infinitives because they were one word, thus you shouldn't be able to split them in english as well. McWhorter sarcastically observes that because latin had no indefinite articles you shouldn't be able to split normatives in English either and "a good boy" should be said "good a boy".

Perhaps that's the origin of the uniquely English fancy construction "that's very good an argument"...!!!! Thanks for the bibliography, by the way. I heard of this debunking mostly in Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct.

stu
2005-Apr-03, 06:40 PM
The surprise is that people are surprised about this. I figured out a long time ago that Words' grammer checker would have to improve by several orders of magnitude to SUCK.

Yeah, I was so happy when Grammar Check first came out (in the late '90s?) because that meant that my mom wouln't have to proofread all my papers anymore and keep nagging me about mistakes I kept repeating. Of course, I soon realized that it sucked and continues to, so whenever I get onto a new computer, or if I reinstall software, grammar check is one of the first things I go to to turn off.

Kebsis
2005-Apr-03, 07:53 PM
I think it depends on the sentence, really. Obviously "where you at?" isn't the best sentence, but for some reason ending sentences with prepositions in English sounds okay a lot of the time. Other languages, not so much.
"Where you at?" sounds bad because it's either slang or a "non-standard" dialect. In Standard American English, the "at" in that sentence is superfluous, not just in the wrong place (and of course the verb is missing).

The similar construction "Who are you with?" sounds fine to me. "With whom are you?" sounds ludicrous.

'Where you at' doesn't mean 'who are you with'. It means 'where are you'.

Kullat Nunu
2005-Apr-03, 08:35 PM
-De hr regler lnas inte kymra sig om

This is the strangest Swedish I've seen (expect my own). Unfortunately I'm so Swedish challenged that I can't correct even this one. ](*,)


In Chinese I know verbs never take a preposition along, so you don't worry about a rule, you worry a rule. You can't play with prepositions in Chinese, totally different.

In Arabic you would have to say something like "these rules are not worth worrying about them", like in colloquial Brazilian Portuguese and in Hebrew, for Arabic preposition must be followed by something even if it's a pronoun referencing to an already mentioned noun (rules)....

More different languages!

What about this:

Nm snnt eivt ole murehtimisen arvoisia.
These rules (they) not are worrying worthy.

Grammatical checking may be rather complicated with agglutinative languages. :)