5 Mistakes a Grammar Checker Can Catch

You’ve just finished writing what you think is the perfect paper, or at least one within the required word count. A proofread is SO needed, but you’re totally brain dead after working on it for hours. At times like these, a grammar check could be a BIG help.

A grammar checker, like the one offered with EasyBib Plus, will scan your paper and automatically provide suggestions to improve your writing. Though not all encompassing, below are 5 general areas a checker can help you with.

Subject-Verb Agreement

Everyday, we do this naturally without thinking: matching singular or plural subjects with the proper verb forms. But subject-verb agreement can get complicated when we write longer sentences (is “boy or girl” singular or plural?), or when collective nouns appear (e.g., congress, parliament, police, etc.). A quick grammar check could help correct sentences like the following:

  • Incorrect: She wants to buys a car.
  • Correct: She wants to buy a car.

Spelling & Capitalization

Bet this is the first thing you thought of! It only takes one, annoying, mis-typed letter to mess up spelling—and it’s so easy to do. Sometimes, a word’s whole meaning changes (“I love coats” vs “I love oats”). Other times, we just look unprofessional or careless (no one wants to receive the message “How yuu doinG?”). Luckily, grammar checkers can easily see if a word is misspelled.

Bonus: They can also identify a proper noun that should be capitalized (e.g., Asia, Zeus, London, etc.).

One word of caution: A checker will sometimes miss words that are spelled correctly, but misused (e.g., I am the third sun in my family), so it’s still worth going over your paper yourself a few times.

Punctuation & Spacing

Depending on the checker, you can also catch common punctuation and spacing issues. These are mistakes we already know not to make but do  in a rush to finish a paper. Here are a few examples:

Missing commas after a dependent clause:

  • Incorrect: If I drink coffee now I’ll never sleep.
  • Correct: If I drink coffee now, I’ll never sleep.

Parentheses and quotation marks that aren’t in a pair:

  • Incorrect: Ask me that one more time.
  • Correct: Ask me that one more time.

An extra space between a period and the end of a sentence:

  • Incorrect: Nothing is better than a pet greeting you at the door  .
  • Correct: Nothing is better than a pet greeting you at the door.

Tense Agreement

Tense is a tricky thing. There are three main verb tenses (past, present, future), and we often go back and forth between them when we speak and write. However, when it breaks consistency, switching tenses messes up whole sentences. For example:

  • The family will lived in a house in New York.
  • I love singing and danced at music camp.

A grammar checker could help you catch some of these mistakes.

Word Choice

Ok, choosing “weak” words isn’t exactly a mistake, but it’s still something we shouldn’t do. There are around 170,000 words in English, but not all of them are destined for use in academic writing. Prime example: the adverb really. It’s a great word to use in conversation but often superfluous in papers. Take these sentences:

  • The argument starts off really solid but needs a few more points to make it convincing.
  • Test A results were really different from Test B results.
  • I really feel that Taylor Swift is an excellent songwriter.  

Now read them again without the word really or with a stronger word:

  • The argument starts off solid but needs a few more points to make it convincing.
  • Test A results were unexpectedly different from Test B results.
  • I feel that Taylor Swift is an excellent songwriter.  

Did we “really” need that word there? The meaning of the sentences remained the same but were communicated in a more efficient way. A grammar checker can call attention to certain “weak” words so you can create better sentences.

Even before your paper sees a grammar checker, you should have a completed bibliography (like an MLA format works cited). Haven’t crafted one yet? Try Citation Machine! We offer free citation creation services for MLA, APA citations, Chicago Manual of Style, and more!