A Writing Tutor's Thoughts On Grammarly
Start writing a post
Student Life

A Writing Tutor's Thoughts On Grammarly

Is it any better than Spell Check? And if it was, why would I tell you that?

121
A Writing Tutor's Thoughts On Grammarly
Cal U Writing Center

Students at my university have an invaluable resource at their disposal. It's not some campus secret; it's 12 talented tutors in a magical place we call the Writing Center.

Writing Centers are among the most underrated academic help services offered on any campus anywhere. There's a whole arena of writing center research, where tutors and directors meet at big conferences to present posters and speak at panels about their job. Yet you wouldn't assume that by walking into your local WC. At first glance, it's a study room with a few tables and chairs, a couple of public computers, and a big front desk with a friendly face behind it, asking if you've made an appointment. We take walk-ins, but we do suggest you schedule with us ahead of time. We're here to help undergrads and grad students at every step of the writing process. Brainstorming, outlining, drafting, doing research, using MLA and APA style guides, and revision.

I love my job at the Writing Center. We tutors come from all walks of life – majors in English, Psychology, Anthropology, Communication Disorders, Computer Science – but we all share one common trait: we are all skilled and conscious writers. We share a mastery of grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and rhetoric. Our skills let us read deeper into our clients' papers than Spell Check ever could. I was proud to know that my esoteric talent for correct grammar could be put to use.

Then along came Grammarly. I hadn't heard of it before I got my job at the Writing Center, but when I first listened to a Grammarly advertisement between songs on Spotify, I thought, "Hm. That sounds an awful lot like what I do!" I was intrigued and somewhat worried. Was a computer about to take my job? Surely it couldn't compare to a human pair of eyes on a document, knowing all the rules well enough to bend them when necessary and avoid false-positives.

On the other hand, I was excited by the possibility of being able to delegate all grammatical and mechanical revision to an algorithm, thus freeing up time for the humans to focus on higher-order concerns like style, organization, and thesis. It reminded me of something my old pre-calculus teacher in high school used to say. Roughly, "you should be able to do factoring and limits and derivatives in your head; arithmetic is for calculators." It made sense. The technology is there, and it will work so much faster and more accurately in complex operations than a human. Why waste the time multiplying multi-digit numbers by hand, or whatever the case may be? The same might be said for Grammarly.

I've started using the software, and I must admit, it catches some of the things we spend time in our appointments addressing. If it sees widespread adoption, I think it can only be good for both students and us writing tutors. If the faculty culture allowed for it, we might see relaxed grading focus on grammar and punctuation, thanks to the general increase in mechanical accuracy. And we tutors would be able to devote more time in our limited 50-minute sessions to those higher order concerns. I admit, reviewing students' papers for grammar is easy and fun. There's a pattern to it -- an easy-to-follow kind of routine -- that feels gratifying, like solving a puzzle. But the real value in writing is not so much in how correct it is, but in what it says, and how well it says it. Organization takes a big-picture approach, and an understanding of how every idea in the work relates to every other idea. Style takes attention to figurative language, voice, structure, and cultural references that can be easy to recognize but hard to quantify. Good rhetoric demands the writer consider the purpose of every word and how it will impact the audience, how it represents their ideas, and how it represents themselves. I don't think computers are even close to being able to process that kind of stuff. But if we hand over the parts of our writing they can help us with, and leave the rest to the tutors, I think the world will be all the richer in knowledge and the exchange of ideas as a result.

Stop by the Writing Center some time, or check us out on the web.

Noss Hall, Room 110
calu.mywconline.com
writingctr@calu.edu
facebook.com/CalUWritingCtr





Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Panic! At The Disco Announces Breakup After 19 Years

Band Makes Breakup Announcement Official: 'Will Be No More'

2736
panic at the disco

It's the end of an era. Originally formed in 2004 by friends in Las Vegas, Panic! At The Disco is no more.

Brendon Urie announced on Instagram that the band will be coming to an end after the upcoming Europe tour. He said that he and his wife are expecting a baby, and the life change weighed heavily in his mind to come to this decision. "Sometimes a journey must end for a new one to begin," he said.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Odyssey's response writer community is growing- read what our new writers have to say!

6531
https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-writing-on-white-book-1043514/
https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-typing-on-type...

Each week, more response writers are joining the Odyssey community. We're excited to spotlight their voices on as they engage in constructive dialogue with our community. Here are the top three response articles of last week:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

To Mom

There are days when you just need your mom

18230
To Mom

There really is no way to prepare yourself for the loss of someone. Imagine that someone being the one who carried you for 9th months in their belly, taught you how to walk, fought with you about little things that only a mother and daughter relationship could understand. You can have a countless number of father figures in your life, but really as my mom always said, " you only get one mom."

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date

I need someone to show that they want me for me, not that they're using me to chase the idea of being in a relationship.

20431
The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date
rawpixel

You hear your phone go off. He's asking you to hang out. Then, of course, you get the advice of your friends to decipher this text. Is it just hanging out or is it more than hanging out? You've probably done this at least once in your life or at least seen a tweet where someone posted their screenshots with a potential love interest.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

Winter Break As Told By 'Friends'

Is a month at home too much to handle?

13003

If you're anything like me, winter break is a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel after a long, stressful semester. Working hard for 15 weeks can really take a toll on a person mentally, physically AND emotionally. It's a nice change of pace to be back at home with your family and friends, but after a couple weeks, it can get, well... boring.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments