Do you need a copy editor?

Enter to win a free one-year premium Grammarly account when you leave a comment on this blog post.

Enter to win a free one-year premium Grammarly account when you leave a comment on this blog post.

Reading through the copy edits of Day by Day was one of the most humbling experiences. I didn’t realize how much I needed a personal copy editor until the copy-edited manuscript arrived on my doorstep. Reading through the copy editor’s notes and corrections, I learned several things about myself:

  • I had a bad habit of using the word that when it wasn’t necessary.
  • I started many sentences with the word additionally instead of writing in addition.
  • I often write in the passive voice.

I’ve long been one of those people who can spot other people’s mistakes, but don’t always find my own.  In January, I tried out Grammarly, which is a proofreading web application that finds and explains in-depth grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes online. I  downloaded the plugin for my Chrome browser so I could proofread everything from blog posts to tweets. In addition, I downloaded the Grammarly add-in to Microsoft Office so I could use it while writing on Craft Moves.  Over the course of the past four weeks, Grammarly picked up LOTS of my errors and as taught me a few more things about myself as a writer.

  • I split infinitives.
  • I start some sentences with the word this, which is an unclear antecedent.
  • I write wordy sentences.
  • I still write in the passive voice way too often.

I’ve LOVED having a virtual copy editor.  I don’t always agree with the corrections Grammarly wants to make.  However, it picks up way more errors than it introduces, so I greatly appreciate having it as a tool.

GRAMMARLY IN THE CLASSROOM:

I contacted the folks at Grammarly, and Michael Mager, who is an Online Marketing Analyst at Grammarly, got back to me. I wanted to know how to use Grammarly in the classroom. Here’s what he said:

Middle school is a critical time for students to learn and develop their writing skills, and Grammarly complements these efforts. Grammarly provides students with specific and actionable feedback on their spelling and grammar mistakes — helping to break bad writing habits. Our Grammarly Chrome browser extension, launched in January, highlights writing mistakes in students’ emails, Facebook messages, and in other places they are writing online.

We all know spell check isn’t enough, which is why I believe Grammarly can be helpful for middle and high school students.  Just like spell check, though, one cannot trust Grammarly to make everything right. One has to proofread their work to ensure the changes Grammarly suggests makes sense.
BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE FOR THE UPCOMING SOLSC:
I know some people are hesitant to commit to writing publicly, as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge since they think their writing has to be perfect. First, your writing doesn’t need to be perfect.  It can’t be if you’re teaching all day, getting a good amount of sleep, taking care of your personal/family obligations, and commenting on at least three other Slicers’ writing daily.  As Betsy recently said, “This is about writing every day, not perfection. For one, I find that often when people just write from their heart or about a piece of their day in a real and honest way, I connect to it more than a polished piece.” (NOTE: I’ve never read a comment where someone corrects another Slicer’s grammar in all of the years I’ve participated in the Challenge.  That’s not the kind of community this is. No one will judge you for a squinting modifier or writing in the passive voice. We’re here to build each other up as teachers and writers!)
However, if you want to make sure you’re putting something out feels, well, copy edited, then try out Grammarly.  Using it will boost your confidence as a writer.  Grammarly will save you time when you’re reading through your writing.  It will find the errors for you, teach you about them, and then give you the chance to ignore the errors or make the suggested change.
PEEK INSIDE:
The screen shots below were provided by Grammarly.
Grammarly Dashboard

Grammarly Dashboard

Choose Document Type

Choose Document Type

Error Alert

Error Alert

Types of Error Alerts

Types of Error Alerts

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:
  • Grammarly is donating a free, one-year premium account to their site for one person who leaves a comment on this post.
  • For a chance to win the premium Grammarly account, please leave a comment about this post by Wednesday, March 4th at 11:59 p.m. EDT. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners, whose names I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Friday, March 6th.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contact at Grammarly will set up the account for you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
  • If you are the winner of this giveaway, I will e-mail you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – GRAMMARLY. Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

Comments are now closed. Thanks to everyone who left a comment.

I used a random number generator and jbmiller73’s commenter number came up. She said:

I have been thinking of trying this site out. I am glad to get your two thumbs up! I see a subscription to Grammarly in my very near future!