Google Wants to Help You Catch Your Grammar Mistakes

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 1, 2019 | Go to article overview

Google Wants to Help You Catch Your Grammar Mistakes


Byline: Marie C. Baca The Washington Post

There, their, they're.

If you stumble over your grammar, take comfort in this: tech companies are supercharging their digital grammar editors with artificial intelligence and machine learning in an attempt to make clear, persuasive writing easier than ever.

Google became the latest to enter the game last week, when the tech giant announced it is adding an artificial intelligence-powered tool that offers automatic detection of grammar mistakes while composing messages in Gmail, as well as auto-correction of some common spelling mistakes. The company introduced a similar AI-driven function to documents in G Suite earlier this year.

While some education experts applaud the advancement of high-tech grammar tools as a way to help people more clearly express their thoughts, others aren't so sure. Artificial intelligence, according to the contrarians, is only as smart as the humans who program it, and often just as biased.

"Language is part of your heritage and identity, and if you're using a tool that is constantly telling you, You're wrong,' that is not a good thing," said Paulo Blikstein, associate professor of communications, media and learning technology design at Columbia University Teachers College. "There is not one mythical, monolithical (English) ... And every time we have tried to curtail the evolution of a language, it has never gone well."

Tech giants have long touted the significance of artificial intelligence, promising a sci-fi like future where everything is controlled by all-knowing machines. Google, Apple and Amazon all have their own AI-assistants, which can answer questions, tell jokes, set timers and help with the shopping. Tesla's electric vehicles can run on "Autopilot," which can guide cars on highways. Doctors are using AI to help make diagnoses.

But the technology is also trickling down to more mundane tasks, often nearly invisible: That customer service agent you're chatting with might be a bot, and your search results were likely influenced by what the tech giants know about you.

The increasing use of AI comes with some inherent risks, say the people who study it. Sometimes it's not able to understand or gets requests wrong.

That was clear in a test by The Washington Post and researchers, which tested tens of thousands of voice commands given to Amazon Echo and Google Home devices and found notable disparities in how people from different parts of the U.S. are understood. (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Post.)

When it comes to AI-corrected grammar, Google's Gmail update underlines incorrect grammar with a blue squiggly line while the user composes an email. Clicking on the word in question reveals Google's grammar suggestions. Microsoft introduced a machine learning-based editor pane to Office 365 users two years ago, while online tool Grammarly is a decade old, has over 20 million active users and recently rolled out a slew of new functions including grammar suggestions tailored to the tone of the piece the user is writing, according to the company.

Grammar editing tools aren't new just ask Microsoft's much-maligned digital assistant Clippy but the technology behind them is growing increasingly complex.

Grammarly said it uses a hybrid approach to build its algorithms, one that combines a variety of natural language processing methods, including machine learning, deep learning, and custom-made rules, among others. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Google Wants to Help You Catch Your Grammar Mistakes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.