Grammar checkers are notorious for their inability to grasp the contextual meaning of the language that they analyze. We checked how competent the MSGC was at identifying misspelt or contextually wrong words on signs. This MS Word document contains some randomly chosen samples from the wealth of examples that can be found on the Internet.
First, the things that the MSGC rightly recognized as mistakes and accurately corrected included:
a confused pronoun (Your → You’re)
confused words (pubic/Pubic → public/Public; Bored Room → Board Room)
misspelt words (Bonerless → Boneless; anthchrist → antichrist; dognuts → doughnuts, or donuts in US spelling)
sentence fragments, where a punctuation mark was used at the end of the signage
a contracted phrase (Let’s → Let us), which it considers a mistake, and
three misspelt/confused words in context of one sentence (shit → shut; till → until; do → due)
Second, the many things it missed or could not contextually understand included:
an informal word that is part of a brand name (guys → people)
other informal shorthand words, such as “u” in “Thank u”
a misspelt word that the MSGC could not recognize (should be “bed” instead of “ded”)
instances where a comma is unnecessary, and
pretty much all the remaining instances in which a misspelt or confused word has changed the text’s meaning, turning it into a funny and occasionally obscene joke (i.e. the majority of the examples!).
Text used in the experiment: samples from “149 of the Worst Spelling Mistakes” and other internet sources. Click here to download the sample sentences in .docx format.