The biggest complaints I’ve gotten from readers of my ebooks over the last few years was that my grammar sucks. That always confused me since I wasn’t sure how to fix it. The grammar checker in Microsoft Word flags any issues that I need to fix. With a few exceptions between fiction and non-fiction, my manuscripts were clean as a whistle when it came to grammar. If I had a problem with grammar, I wasn’t seeing it.
Six months ago I updated my writing blog with the WordPress Jetpack plugin to replicates the functionality that most users get from hosting their blogs at the WordPress website and replaces a half-dozen or more plugins that do the same thing. One neat feature updated the Proofread Writing button with a passive voice checker from After The Deadline. I’m revising my blog postings to use the active voice and learning the differences to avoid writing in the passive voice.
I didn’t make the connection to use Word with Jetpack until I started putting together my blog postings into ebooks. With the older blog posts requiring more revision, I was going back and forth between Word and Jetpack. Both have their own set of idiosyncrasies when it comes to checking grammar. If the two were in a conflict, I always lean towards Word. If I know Word is being idiotic (i.e., flagging both the error and the correction), I go with my judgment on what is correct.
The complaints from my readers weren’t about grammar but usage. When I started copying and pasting the texts from my oldest ebooks into a blog post to check against Jetpack, passive voice and awkward construction was the rule and not the exception. Recent ebooks have fewer issues. I’m in the process of cross-editing my older ebooks and everything else I write with both Word and Jetpack.