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Project Report: "Strong Writer"

Eric Johnson
Computers and the Humanities
Vol. 24, No. 4 (Aug., 1990), pp. 289-294
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30204147
Page Count: 6
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Project Report: "Strong Writer"
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Abstract

StrongWriter is a grammar and style checker created by the writer to point out basic blunders in student writing and to make suggestions for improvements. The output from the program comes from the persona of Dr. Strong, a gentle, but sometimes whimsical, schoolmaster. Information is given about the number of words and sentences in the paper analyzed, and the readability level. Words and phrases that should be avoided (or reconsidered) are listed. The program makes suggestions for revision about forms of TO BE, nouns ending in -tion, and participles and gerunds. The central program makes use of the powerful pattern matching functions of the SPITBOL programming language. Grammar and style checkers are helpful to college writers because they turn students' attention back to their writing for additional editing and revision, and because they identify basic blunders - thus allowing teachers to spend more time teaching higher matters, such as effective rhetoric. Checkers can be useful at several points in the writing and revision process, though they of course cannot emulate the subtleties of human intervention.

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