ProWritingAid proofreads faulty sentences
The sentences used for this experiment contain common grammatical mistakes, such as run-on or fused sentences, sentence fragments and comma splices, which students are asked to identify and correct. You can download the exercise in a MS Word format here.
This time we used ProWritingAid’s Desktop app version (which unfortunately removed all formatting, including sentence numbers). We set the language as English AU and the writing style as “Academic.”
We wanted to see how many grammar and punctuation mistakes the tool would pick up. Here is the result:
ProWritingAid found no grammatical issues with any of the sentences!
It only identified two instances where there is a problem with style (in both instances, the passive voice was used).
In the first case, it offered a puzzling range of suggestions for how to rewrite the sentence in the active voice. The tool could not identify “the city” as the agent doing the “passing” of the bill. The closest it was able to get to putting this in the active voice was to use the obscure “they” (“they should pass the proposed amendments”):
In the second case, it was able to identify and briefly explain what it sees as a stylistic issue (i.e., the use of the passive voice), but could not offer specific suggestions for rewrites:
We leave it up to you to decide how much or how little ProWritingAid could help your students improve their grammar skills.
Text used in the experiment: sentences devised by the convenor of an undergraduate Workplace Communications course in Auckland, to remind students about basic syntax and punctuation rules in formal and academic writing. To see how you could use these sentences in a classroom activity, visit Exercises. To download the sentences in a .docx format, click here.