MS Word grammar check works poorly (or tell me something I didn't know…)

This is the first in a couple of posts I meant to make earlier– I was delayed by work, life, and some sort of weird blogger glitch that I think (I hope) has been solved. Anyway….

See this article Bradley Bleck forwarded to tech-rhet, “A Word to the unwise — program’s grammar check isn’t so smart,” published on March 28, 2005 online and presumably in print by The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The opening paragraphs give an idea about what it’s about:

Microsoft the company should big improve Word grammar check.

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That sentence is a confusing jumble. However, it is perfectly fine in the assessment of Microsoft Word’s built-in grammar checker, which detects no problem with the prose.

Sandeep Krishnamurthy thinks Microsoft can do a lot better.

The University of Washington associate professor has embarked on a one-man mission to persuade the Redmond company to improve the grammar-checking function in its popular word-processing program. Krishnamurthy is also trying to raise public awareness of the issue.

This might be a good article to include the next time I teach “Computers and Writing, Theory and Practice,” though I already assign a couple of good articles about the problems of MS Word as a “writerly tool:” Alex Vernon, “Computerized Grammar Checkers 2000: Capabilities, Limitations, and Pedagogical Possibilities,” and Tim McGee and PatriciaEricsson, “The Politics of the Program: MS Word as the Invisible Grammarian,” both of which were published in Computers and Composition a few years back.

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