What is the best grammar-checking software to check the grammar errors in novels and screenplays?

I heard about Grammarly and Whitesmoke but I'm not sure which is good.

  • 3
    Read it out loud. It's the most efficient way to proof anything, and it's essential for dialogue. If it doesn't come easily off the tongue, something's wrong. May 17, 2013 at 21:53
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a request for a software recommendation, and not a question about learning English. The Resources for learning English might be helpful.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 15, 2017 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


Grammar checkers are usually pointless for EFL students because they don't understand what you want to say in context. All they do is check for standard grammatical errors, what the programmers of the software believe are awkward sentences, and usages that are frequently disputed, e.g., using the passive voice instead of the active voice (there are good and bad reasons for using the passive voice, but MS Word's grammar checker, for example, always (or never) flags the passive, so you already have to know why you used it and whether it's necessary in context: MS Word won't tell you).

I use MS Word's grammar checker because sometimes I miss things that it picks up, e.g., subject-verb concord problems. Sometimes, however, that alert by MS Word's grammar checker is an incorrect reading of the sentence. Still, it is helpful for me because I'm an editor and sometimes I make corrections in my head but not on the page.

I looked at White Smoke and found it no more helpful than MS Word's grammar checker. Don't waste your money. Read good English writing and learn how to use the language by example. If you have questions about grammar, ask someone who knows English grammar and knows how to write well. Then you can get an explanation of why one way of saying something is better than another in context.

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    The real value of grammar checkers, like spell checkers, is that they're stupid. My wife and I can proof one of her papers twice each and miss something because we know what's supposed to be there; the checker just chugs along, dumb as a rock, and reports 24 non-errors and 1 real one. May 15, 2013 at 2:03
  • I understand most spellchecker are not great and they don't detect all the issues but my question is which one is comparatively better?
    – T2E
    May 15, 2013 at 19:22
  • @user43286: After looking at White Smoke & one or two other examples of grammar checkers, I'm perfectly happy with MS Word's grammar checker. They're all different in many ways, but they're the same in one important way: as clever as their programmers are, the programs are still "stupid" because they can't comprehend what they read; therefore, they don't really check your grammar. All they do is tell you whether your text meets the criteria of the "What's good, bad, and ugly about these strings?" algorithm it uses. If you already use one, don't waste your money on another. It won't help.
    – user264
    May 16, 2013 at 0:38
  • I'm French and in our language we do have a really good and powerful tool named Antidote, not free but much better than Word. I'm looking at something similar in English but it looks like this language doesn't have anything close to Antidote, a shame since English should be much easier to check than French... antidote.info Jun 19, 2014 at 19:35
  • I just saw on the Antidote website that they're working on an English version but no release date announced yet. Malheureusement, non. Nous recevons beaucoup de demandes pour des versions d’Antidote pour d’autres langues, et en particulier pour l’anglais. Druide travaille à la conception d’un Antidote pour l’anglais. La complexité du projet fait qu’il n’est pas possible, pour le moment, d’annoncer la date d’achèvement. antidote.info/contact Jun 19, 2014 at 19:41

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