CURMUDGUCATION: Breaking News: Software Still Can’t Write

Chances are you’ve seen the ads for Grammarly, a service that, at least in the ads, seems to offer the same mediocre writing advice that you can get from the red and green squiggly lines in Word. Can we expect to see Clippy offering to run your HR department soon?
In one ad, it helps a student spot passive voice and a comma splice and a plagiarized section, and so she gets an A+ and the professor writes “wonderful use of words.” It’s true– my favorite student papers are the ones that use words! And that damned thing has been viewed almost seven million times. In another, Grammarly helps a man write a come-on text, saving him from using the wrong “its” and the wrong “write.” And the one I often get, for the guy who wants to write a message to his new work team, spelling mistakes and thesaurus and all. All in all, it looks like the program could be as useful as hiring a smart seventh grader to look over your stuff.

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