I was stupid enough to click through to Huffington Post's colossally stupid and fundamentally mistaken Worst Grammar Mistakes Ever post (I refuse to link to it). Of course, the 11 items had virtually nothing to do with grammar (the vast majority were punctuation and spelling errors). I must agree with Zwicky's pessimism regarding National Grammar Day: "It seems to me that the day is especially unlikely to provide a receptive audience for what linguists have to say."
But what prompted this post was the ad at the bottom for Grammarly, a free online "proofreader and grammar coach" which promised to Correct All Grammar Errors And Plagiarism.
A bold claim, indeed. I doubt a team of ten trained linguists could could felicitously make this claim. But the boldness does not stop there (it never does on the innerwebz). Click through to the online tool and wow, the bold claims just start stacking up like flap jacks at a Sunday fundraiser.
Just paste in your test and bam! you get
150+ Grammar Checks
Get detailed error explanations.
Find unoriginal text.
Use better words.
Contextual Spell Check
Spot misused words.
Dang! Them fancy computers, they sure is smart. Just for funnin, I pasted the text of Zwicky's NGD again post into the window and ran the check. Here's his report:
Not bad for a professor at one of the lesser linguistics departments.
(pssst, btw, did ya spot that odd little grey balloon at the top of the second screen shot? Yeah, me too. It says "click allow if presented with a browser security message." Suspect, no doubt. Nonetheless, I trusted Chrome to protect me and plowed ahead).