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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
ClaireBear Tech: Grammarly. Anyone use it? (32) RE: Tech: Grammarly. Anyone use it? 15 Jan 16

One of the things I do professionally is to edit marketing materials for high-tech companies. I often find myself reminding our tech writers to "practice noun string obfuscation avoidance." (They even gifted me with a T-shirt emblazoned with that slogan.) In plain English, that means to refrain from using a phrase all (or even most) of whose words can be read as nouns, because the challenge of differentiating its parts of speech requires the phrase to be reread, sometimes several times, before the meaning can be discerned.

"Context-optimized synonym suggestions" may not be a perfect example of this phenomenon, but it is nonetheless an example. It is what happens when all the "connective tissue" (articles, conjunctions, prepositions, etc.) is stripped from language, leaving only its bones to grate together painfully—which, in my view, is exactly the problem with this phrase.

Moreover, seen through Leeneia's "rhythm and melody" lens, the phrase is a frenetic patter song at best and a lurching, tangle-foot tango at worst. Leeneia, I have never consciously thought about language in those terms, but I will from now on. Thank you for that gift!


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