As a writer, I've a personal arsenal of writing tools, which I like to tinker with from time to time. Most of these are now available as web-apps/extensions, and one of them is LanguageTool.
It is a browser add-on, a web service, and also optionally available for Windows as a desktop app. The tool supports several languages including English (American, British, Canadian, etc), French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and several other.
Let's focus on the add-ons here. LanguageTool is a fantastic alternative to the more popular tool, Grammarly, and is also quite privacy-friendly in comparison. Martin reviewed Grammarly Pro a while ago and ran into some issues using the service.
The browser add-ons (and the website) send your text to LanguageTool.org, using an encrypted connection. It clearly mentions that your data is not stored on the servers.
Tip: Want to use the add-on without installing the add-on? Head to the official website and paste the text you want the tool to analyze, and click the "Check Text" button. It should give you an idea of what to expect from the service.
You don't have to do anything special. Simply type the text that you want in a text field on any web page. The tool detects any spelling or grammar errors that a text field might contain, and underlines the errors. Clicking on such an underlined text, brings a small pop-up toast with a suggested replacement. Click on the suggestion to instantly replace the erroneously spelled word.
A document spell check works similarly, with an icon that is displayed in the bottom right corner of the page. Clicking this icon brings a list of potential errors, and suggestions.
Tip: The browser add-on doesn't work in some websites like Office Online but add-ons for Google Docs, Microsoft Word and Office Online, and LibreOffice are provided as well. As a workaround, you can open a supported e-mail service like Gmail or Outlook and hit Compose. Paste the text that you need the tool to check in the composer and it should check the content for errors.
Here's the best part, you don't need a LanguageTool account for checking the grammar in your text. You can personalize your settings for each website, from the extension's button. This includes a toggle for disabling the add-on on the site, and another for checking for upper and lower case text.
There are a few reasons why you should consider tweaking it from the add-on's settings page, to add custom words to your Personal dictionary. You can also optionally set some special rules like smart quotes, hyphenation, to be ignored by the spell checker.
Tip: Hit the save button to store your settings.
LanguageTool is free and open-source for basic use, and follows the open-core business model (optional premium plans) for more options. The free version should be enough for most users, unless you're writing a book.
There is an offline only desktop version of LanguageTool available. But, it requires Java 8 or above to run. Hilariously, when I typed a rival service's name, the tool said "Possible spelling mistake found", and suggested "LanguageTool" as the replacement for it.
Now you: Which grammar checker do you use?Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.