As well as checking your spelling, Word can check your grammar. This is an automated option, so it’s not for everyone, and can be a bit of a blunt instrument, but if you know you have a weakness in a particular area, it can be really helpful.
Why does Word check grammar?
One of the options Word offers is to check your spelling for you, and lots of people are familiar with that option. However, you can also ask Word to check your grammar. Here’s how.
How do I tell Word what grammar options to check?
We can set up different options for the Grammar checker to check in the Options menu:
Once you are in the Options menus, choose Proofing:
The Proofing menu is quite long, so look half-way down to the section When correcting spelling and grammar in Word and then, to get the options, click the Settings button:
What grammar and style issues can Word check for me?
And now you can see the whole range of options that Word can check for you:
At the top of the list, you can ask Word to make sure that you include or don’t allow Oxford Commas, put the punctuation inside or outside quotations (American or British style, vaguely) or make sure there are one (now preferred) or two (now not preferred) spaces after a full stop:
Each of those don’t check dropdowns offers the relevant options, for example, for the punctuation one:
Moving down the list, we then have the Grammar options that you can ask Word to check. Do remember that this is a program and thus it will highlight every instance, even if you know the rules and you’re trying to be creative, but it can be useful for catching things:
If you have Grammar only clicked, these will all automatically be ticked, and you can untick individual ones if you want to (note that it won’t check anything until you ask it to – see the next section).
Word will also check style issues; you can ask it to check everything in your Grammar & Style automatically by changing the top box to using the drop-down arrow to the right, or you can leave it on Grammar Only and tick just the areas you want Word to check:
In terms of style, here are the options Word can look out for and alert you to (again, remembering that this is only what it’s been told are clichés, etc.):
Once you’ve decided what you want Word to check in your grammar and style, press the OK button.
How do I ask Word to check my grammar (and style)?
In order for Word to check which areas you have asked it to check, make sure that Check grammar with spelling is ticked:
Back in your Word document, Word will highlight in GREEN (as opposed to the red that it uses for spelling issues) any grammar mistakes it thinks you’ve made. Here’s an example where it has checked for gender-related language:
This article has described how to ask Word 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016 to check the grammar and style in your documents.
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