Ian's Rant 08 – Microsoft Grammar

there, they're, their

Ian does a bit of "Microsoft Bashing" using there (sic) own grammar checker.

Microsoft Software Errors

I've been using Microsoft's software since the real early days when MS-DOS came on a couple of floppy disks. As their software has evolved, the underlying problems in their software have continued. We're all far too familiar with the sorts of errors that make computers vulnerable and cause them to crash unexpectedly.

MS Word 97 error

Forgetting about those sorts of programming errors, here's a cute example of an error in the grammar checker in MS Word 97. Enter the following sentence:

Do Microsoft Word's grammar tools do their checking correctly?

If you haven't already got Grammar Checking switched on, press F7 to do a manual check. On my system, it suggests that I change the word: "their" to: "there".

Ian's reaction

No doubt "theirs" some technical explanation for this based on how "there" grammar checker handles the peculiar structure of this sentence, but I wonder how often "they're" grammar checker makes such obvious mistakes, and how many people out "their" simply accept "there" incorrect suggestions?

– Ian Fieggen, Aug-2003

Microsoft Grammar Feedback

On a different topic, I grammar-checked the sentence "Do Microsoft Word's grammar tools do their checking correctly?" in my copy of Word 2000. There was no complaint, so I concluded that MS must've fixed it since you tried it with Word 97.

But when I also tried:
  "Do Microsoft Word's grammar tools do there checking correctly?"
  "Do Microsoft Word's grammar tools do they're checking correctly?"
both of them passed as well! In typical Microsoft fashion they've fixed one error and introduced two more. :-)

– Doug M, 17-Nov-2004

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