Frustrating Grammar Error

I hope this is the correct place to post this topic.

There is a repeated grammar error which frustrates me. I have thoroughly researched the subject of dialogue, and I know the following sentence is correct grammar:

“Why do you need this length?” the man asked.

However, the grammar checker automatically detects this as an error. When I hover over the error, the green underlined period, it tells me:

If this is a question, consider replacing the period with a ’ ? ’ or adding a question mark if the sentence ends with an abbreviation.

I discovered the only way to appease the “grammar giant” is to capitalize the ‘t’ in ‘the’ which is incorrect grammar.

Another option is to ignore the grammar error until someone updates Scrivener. :wink:

You mean ignore the grammar checker until Apple updates it! To my mind, grammar checkers are the bane of any educated person’s life!

The only person I’ve met who found a good use of the grammar checker — some 15 or so years ago — was a lecturer in Australia teaching writing to non-native-English-speaking foreign students. He had spent years customising the grammar checker in Word to eliminate all nonsenses like that one, but to pick up all the hundreds of standard mistakes they made. He gave the students the relevant grammar checker file to put on their PCs. If any of those grammar mistakes showed up on assignments they sent him, he sent the assignment straight back, telling them to correct their writing before he would grade it. He said they learnt much more that way than if he told them what was wrong, as they had to work out for themselves what they had to do to remove the underlines in each case.



The grammar-checker is part of OS X, not part of Scrivener - I would never have built a grammar checker into Scrivener at all had it not come “for free” as part of the OS X text system (I hate the things for exactly this sort of reason, and always turn them off). So I’m afraid the error is Apple’s, not mine - you’ll find the same thing in all other OS X programs that use Apple’s standard grammar checker (as opposed to a custom one - Word’s is no doubt better having been around for longer). I doubt computer grammar checkers are ever going to be perfect, anyway, as there are just too many exceptions to all the rules* - human proof-readers with a good grasp of the language are always going to be better.

All the best,

  • Talking of which, I’m reading a superb little book on how our spelling ended up so all over the place at the moment, Spell It Out, by David Crystal.

To turn off the grammar checking for the project in Scrivener, deselect Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Check Grammar with Spelling. You’ll also want to go to Scrivener > Preferences and deselect “Check grammar with spelling in new projects” so you don’t have to do this every time you start a new project.