We used the opening sentences from Stephen Turner’s peer-reviewed article, “Being Colonial/Colonial Being,
” on New Zealand’s postcolonial identity because it has features of a non-standard academic text. It deliberately opens with a personal narrative written in a typical NZ vernacular. This section in particular makes many grammar checkers gag.
Ginger found the following errors (highlighted in blue below):
1. sedter → Ginger identified the misspelling but offered no suggestion for correction. This spelling mistake is a formatting glitch that happened as we were copy-pasting the passage from a .pdf file into Ginger. The correction should be “settler.”
2. colonial → there is no mistake; Ginger identifies a false negative. Furthermore, its suggestion completely changes the meaning of the sentence by turning the colonizers into the colonized:
3. on → again, no mistake; neither grammatical, nor stylistic. “The white” and “the brown” metaphorically refer to the skin colour of the European settlers and the indigenous Māori people. The pronoun “it” refers to the “story” mentioned in the previous sentence.
4. colonial → no mistake; no article is needed since the word “colonial” functions as an adjective here. For stylistic purposes, it could be changed into a noun (a colonial) to make the sentence more balanced, matching “a New Zealander.”
5. Actually → no mistake. The adverb “actually” is used here for emphatic purposes. Ginger’s suggested correction here makes no sense.
Text used in the experiment: Turner, Stephen. (2002). “Being Colonial/Colonial Being.” Journal of New Zealand Literature: JNZL 20 (Settlement Studies: Special Issue), pp.39-66.