writing and editing

Is it better to work with an online grammar checker or an editor?


Writers will sometimes contact me about helping them with their manuscripts and quickly tell me that they’ve already used an online grammar checker. They’re proud of themselves for doing this and think that because they’ve used a grammar checker, they only need a proofread of their manuscripts. They balk at my suggestion that they also need copyediting.

They’re convinced that the online grammar checker will solve all the problems in their manuscripts and fix all the mistakes. This isn’t true. An online grammar checker may be a tool that writers may add to their writing arsenals, but it can’t do what an editor can.

Online grammar checkers are:

  • Quick;
  • Sometimes free;
  • Some will check for tone;
  • Improving;
  • Getting better at finding things.

But they:

  • Aren’t perfect;
  • Miss things;
  • Provide bad advice;
  • Sometimes insert errors;
  • Can’t find simple factual errors, such as: Columbus had three ships—the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Barbara.

Professional editors don’t just fix things, they also improve your writing. They:

  • Edit according to your style;
  • Will mention your tone and explain why it is or isn’t appropriate;
  • Watch for errors you make and correct them;
  • Explain why a change is needed;
  • Make suggestion as far as word choice;
  • Edit for consistency;
  • Some editors will do a free sample edit for 1000 to 2000 words and provide suggestions for your next steps (I do this).

Editors aren’t as quick as online grammar checkers.

  • Depending on the project, an edit may take a few days or up to three weeks or longer.
  • Each editor charges for the editing and their fees may differ. Their explanation of the editing needed may also differ.

One size doesn’t fit all. My fees are based on the suggested Editorial Freelancers Association rates. You can find those rates at Editorial Rates –(the-efa.org). I also base my fees on the individual project.

A book manuscript is a serious investment of your time. You may have been working months or even years on your manuscript. An editor will correct errors in mechanics, grammar, typos, consistency problems, word choice problems, and even errors that you’ve asked them to watch for and correct. They will also rewrite sentences to help improve your meaning and presentation. Online grammar checkers won’t and can’t do that.

I can’t tell you who you should work with. Online grammar checkers may fit your needs and time frame for one project, but editors may be a better decision for another project.

If you’d like to continue this conversation, or if you have questions that I didn’t address, please complete the Contact Us form on my website and let’s talk.










Back to list

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *