On Grammarly

Playing with Grammarly's AI

On Grammarly
Photo by Ivan Aleksic / Unsplash

I've recently loaded Grammarly back onto all my devices. I have not, historically, thought much of the service, but now I'm writing a little more prose, I figured it might be worth taking it for a spin to see how it has improved.

Grammarly is much better than it used to be; it is more adaptive, and a little less like a strict Edwardian school teacher. Even so, I still dismiss a lot of its suggestions. But this morning, writing a chapter of my novel, I thought I'd ask Grammarly's AI for tips on how to improve it. Here's what I got back:

  1. Clarify the purpose of the protagonist's visit to Linus's shed earlier in the text to make it clearer why he is showing her pictures of secret agents. This will help the reader understand the context of the conversation better and make the dialogue flow more smoothly.
  2. Develop the protagonist's character further, giving her more depth and personality traits to make her more relatable to the reader. This will help the reader become more invested in the story and care more about what happens to her.
  3. Provide more background information about Flint Insurance and The Centre, such as how they are related and what their overall goals are. This will help the reader understand the stakes of the protagonist's situation and make the story more engaging.

Now, I disagree with all these suggestions, but mainly because Grammarly is looking at a chapter in isolation and doesn't have the context for the whole novel. The suggestions also have the "feel" of having been generated by something that doesn't organically understand what it's reading. But, as food for thought, as writing prompts, this is not entirely redundant.

I'm slowly coming around to the idea that tools like this, while not a replacement for any kind of creative work, might be on the way to becoming useful assistants.

Maggie Appleton has written an interesting piece about this recently: Language Model Sketchbook, or Why I Hate Chatbots

Have a good one.