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Q167655: WD97: Frequently Asked Questions About the Grammar Checker

Article: Q167655
Product(s): Word 97 for Windows
Version(s): WINDOWS:97
Operating System(s): 
Keyword(s): kbdta kbproof word97kbfaq
Last Modified: 11-JUN-2002

The information in this article applies to:

- Microsoft Word 97 for Windows 

IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

  Q256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry


This article answers the most frequently asked questions about the grammar
checker that is included with Word 97.


1. Q. What does it mean that Word 97 has a "natural language" grammar checker?

  A. The grammar checker in Word 97 can do a more comprehensive and accurate
  analysis (also known as "parsing") of the submitted text, instead of simply
  using a series of heuristics (or pattern matching) to flag errors. The Word
  97 grammar checker does text analysis at a syntactical level and at a deeper,
  logical, level to understand the relationship between the actions and the
  people, or things, doing those actions. For example, the Word grammar checker
  analyzes the following complex sentence

  The legend says that that Kingdom was created by three ancient magicians,
  whose magical powers governed the world and made them immortal and

  and rewrites it from the passive to the active voice for clarity, while
  setting off the relative clause between commas:

  The legend says that three ancient magicians, whose magical powers governed
  the world and made them immortal and all-powerful, created that Kingdom.

2. Q. Who developed the Word 97 grammar checker?

  A. The grammar checker is fully developed and owned by Microsoft.

3. Q. What are the key differences between Word 97 grammar checker and other
  grammar checkers?

  A. One of the cornerstone differences between the grammar checker in Word 97
  and other grammar checkers stems from the fact that the grammar checker in
  Word 97 uses advanced parsing techniques to understand the sentence structure
  while the other grammar checkers rely mainly on "pattern matching." By
  pattern matching, we mean that the program uses a technique that matches the
  checked text against patterns of text stored in an internal database.
  Following are some sentences that highlight the superiority of the natural
  language grammar checker in Word:

   - He never learned to swim, or did he want to.

     The Word grammar checker corrects "or" with the appropriate conjunction

   - She encourages Stephen more than Elisabeth.

     The Word grammar checker corrects the sentences by proposing two possible
     new sentences to make the original meaning less ambiguous.

   - They wanted for us to move to Alaska.

     Word grammar checker corrects the sentence by removing the preposition

4. Q. What are the file names of the grammar checker files and where are they

  A. Word (or Office) Setup installs the grammar checker by default. The English
  grammar checker is comprised of two files

  Msgren32.dll, and Msgr_en.lex,

  both of which are installed in the "\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft
  Shared\Proof" folder.

5. Q. How much memory do I need to have on my computer in order to run the
  grammar checker automatically?

  A. Word will enable the grammar checker automatically if your computer has
  sufficient available memory. The method of grammar checking that is enabled
  when you set up and first start Word depends on the amount of available
  memory on your computer.

  Manually Check Grammar (8 MB or More):

  To run the grammar checker when you click Spelling And Grammar on the Tools
  menu, your computer must have more than 8 megabytes (MB) physical RAM. If you
  have less than 8 MB, the grammar checker is turned off by default when you
  first start Word.

  Automatically Check Grammar (12 MB or More):

  To run the grammar checker constantly (to display grammatical errors with wavy
  underlines), your computer must have at least 12 MB of physical RAM. If your
  computer has less than 12 MB of RAM, the Hide Grammatical Errors check box is
  selected when you first start Word. To turn on the automatic grammar
  checking, click this check box to clear it (on the Tools menu, click Spelling
  and Grammar, and click the Options button).

  Note also that for all Western languages other than English, the automatic
  grammar checker is turned off by default. (The English grammar checker is
  shipped with all versions of Word.)

6. Q. What are the registry entries for the grammar checker?

  WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious
  problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft
  cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry
  Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.


  For Windows 95

  Grammar User Settings Per User:

         HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Proofing

  Below this key, the grammar checker registers the grammar checker version
  number (1.0 in the case of English), the language IDs, the key Writing style
  (0 through 4) with the setting being the writing style names for the name,
  and binary data for each rule/writing style for the data.

  Grammar Machine Settings:

         HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Proofing

  Below this key are the language IDs (1033, 2057, 3081), the Normal style
  attributes, and the values Dictionary and Engine which contain respectively
  the fully qualified paths to the .lex and .dll files.

  Just as with the other proofing tools, if the grammar checker files are
  manually copied to their default locations, or to the Word folder, Word
  auto-registers the grammar checker the first time it is used.

7. Q. Why does the grammar checker flag words that shouldn't be flagged, and why
  does it provide suggestions that are incorrect?

  A. In general, the grammar checker will incorrectly mark words or propose
  incorrect suggestions, when the parser (that is, the grammar checker
  component that analyzes the linguistic structure of a sentence) cannot
  determine the correct structure of the analyzed sentence.

  Although state-of-the-art in its category, the grammar checker (just like any
  other commercially-available grammar checker program) is not perfect.
  Therefore, when you use the grammar checker, you can expect some amount of
  "false" or "suspect" flagging and subsequent wrong suggestions.

8. Q. Why can't the grammar checker spot mistakes in the phrase "We went two too
  stores, to . . ."?

  A. The grammar checker is designed to catch the kinds of errors that ordinary
  users make every day. You will always be able to make up sentences that will
  confuse the grammar checker.

9. Q. When the grammar checker is running in the background (wavy underlines),
  why does it flag errors in a different order than when I click Spelling And
  Grammar on the Tools menu (run the grammar checker in the foreground)?

  A. With the background grammar checker, trying to achieve a logical
  left-to-right flow is not as critical as it is for the grammar checker that
  you run manually (click Spelling And Grammar on the Tools menu). Therefore,
  for the background grammar checker, the error marked first is always the one
  that returns a suggestion, regardless of its position in the sentence.

10. Q. Why is Ignore All not working as expected? For example, if I click Ignore
  All for this sentence labeled as fragment

  After serving lunch.

  in the same grammar checker session, the grammar checker stops on other
  sentences that are labeled as fragments, for example:

  Over my dead body.

  The grammar checker categorizes (internally) these two sentences as different
  types of fragments, and in the above examples, grammar checker is ignoring
  one of those types, but not the other. Thus the inconsistency of how Ignore
  All works.

11. Q. Why aren't mistakes flagged in left-to-right sequence? For example:

  But the army, however, went on with it's plan.

  A. In most cases, the Grammar checker tries to flag errors from left-
  to-right. However, In some cases this is not possible because the grammar
  checker wants you to correct the most logical mistake first (this mistake
  may not be the first mistake). In this case, punctuation or spacing mistakes
  are flagged before specific or confined grammar checker mistakes.

12. Q. Why are some passive sentences flagged and rewritten by grammar checker,
  while others are skipped?

  NOTE: This problem occurs with other rules in addition to the
  Passive-construction rule.

  For example, the following passive sentence is not flagged:

  The term of this Agreement shall commence on the Effective Date and shall
  continue until terminated by Volcano Coffee in writing at any time, with or
  without cause.

  A. For certain types of sentences, when there is no clear syntactic subject,
  the grammar checker will not attempt to flag the sentence.

13. Q. When I right-click a grammar error (an error marked with a wavy
  underline), why doesn't the shortcut menu display the same options that are
  available in the Spelling And Grammar dialog box? For example, if an item is
  flagged, but if the grammar checker does not provide a suggestion, the only
  options available are to ignore the sentence (and possibly miss other errors
  in that sentence) or to click the Grammar command to invoke the Spelling And
  Grammar dialog box.

  A. For the background mode (wavy underlines), the grammar checker uses a
  simplified interface. If you want to view all the possible errors in a given
  sentence, you must click Grammar on the on the shortcut menu.

14. Q. Why do some pairs of words that are commonly confused work in one
  direction only? For instance, in the grammar checker both flea and flee are
  flagged as commonly confused words, but with the pair your and you're, only
  the word "your" is flagged as a commonly confused word.

  A. The grammar checker handles some commonly confused word pairs in a
  unidirectional way to simplify the problem for the parser. The grammar
  checker is designed this way to reduce the number items that are flagged by
  the grammar checker but that are not true grammatical errors.

15. Q. Why is it that when a sentence is flagged as being too long, that's the
  only advice given for the sentence?

  A. Long sentences are often difficult to read both for people and for the
  grammar checker. The grammar checker is not sophisticated enough to detect
  grammatical errors in long sentences. If you are in doubt about the
  grammatical accuracy of a long sentence, you should break it up into smaller

16. Q. Why does the grammar checker ignore text enclosed in quotation marks? For
  example, this text is ignored

  He said, "what on earth were you thinking of?"

  while in the following text, "what on earth" is flagged:

  He said, what on earth were you thinking of?

  A. The grammar checker assumes that text in a direct quotation should not be

17. Q. Why does the grammar checker ignore text in subdocuments such as,
  headers, footers, and annotations?

  A. By design, the grammar checker does not analyze text in headers, footers,
  or annotations. Headers and footers typically do not contain complete
  sentences. Similarly, annotations may be written in sentence fragments, and
  are not suitable for grammar checking.

18. Q. Why can't I set options such as the length of sentence?

  A. This option is built-in to the selected writing style. To change the
  acceptable sentence length, change the selected writing style. The grammar
  options that are built in to the writing style include:

   - Length of long sentence
   - Allowable number of noun modifiers
   - Allowable number of consecutive prepositional phrases
   - Allowable number of words to split infinitive
   - Use of the first person pronoun

  NOTE: Available in the grammar checker only when the Technical style is

  The following table lists the specific values for the invisible options.

                                           Writing Style
        Invisible Option       Casual  Standard  Formal  Technical  Custom

        Length of long
        sentence                  50       50       40        40        40

        Allowable number of
        noun modifiers             5        4        3         3         4

        Allowable number of
        consecutive prepositional
        phrases                    5        4        3         3         4

        Allowable number of words
        to split infinitive        3        2        1         1         2

        Technical writing
        critiques                 off      off      off        on      off

19. Q. What do the grammar statistics mean?

  A. The Flesch Reading Ease calculates how easy it is to read the document.
  The higher the score (on a scale of 0 to 100), the easier it is to
  understand the document.

  The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level provides the writer of the document with a
  value that indicates the minimum education level required for the reader to
  be able to understand the document. The lower the score, the easier it is to
  understand the document (scale is 0 to 12).

  What formulas are these statistics based on?

  The Flesch Reading Ease score is based on the number of words in each
  sentence that is grammar checked, and the average syllable per word. The
  Flesch Reading Ease score rates text on a 100-point scale; the higher the
  score, the easier it is to understand the document.

  The formula for the Flesch Reading Ease score is

  206.835 - (1.015 x <ASL>) - (84.6 x <ASW>)

  where <ASL> is the average sentence length (number of words/number of
  sentences) and <ASW> average number of syllables per word (number of
  syllables/number of words).

  The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score is very similar to the above, and it
  measures readability as a grade level.

  The formula for the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is:

  Grade Level = (.39 x <ASL>) + (11.8 x <ASW>) - 15.59

  Who uses them?

  Various government agencies require that the readability of specific
  documents or forms meet specific readability standards. For example, some
  states require insurance forms to have a specified readability score.

20. Q. How many words and phrases are in the grammar dictionary?

  A. The grammar dictionary includes approximately 99,000 words and phrases, in
  their uninflected form (that is, this number does not include words such as
  "went," "children," and so on, which are the inflected forms of "go" and

21. Q. What is the grammar dictionary based on?

  A. It is based on the "Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English," and the
  "American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language," third edition.

22. Q. How is the English grammar checker different if I run it on U.K. English
  text versus U.S. English?

  A. The difference between proofing UK English text and US English is
  primarily in the spelling variances of the words in the two languages, for
  example, "colour" as opposed to "color." These variances do not have any
  effect on grammar.

  The vast majority of the grammar rules apply to all English text (U.S. and
  U.K.). However, there are just a few grammar rules that differ depending on
  the selected language:

  a. Plural premodifiers that are very commonly used in U.K. English, are not
     flagged for U.K. English, but are for U.S. English as in the following

  This is a trades union. We have done all the contents scanning.

  b. Subject-verb agreement with collective nouns where the verb is used in the
     plural form are not flagged in U.K. English, but are flagged in US
     English. as in the following example:

  The team are planning to mobilize soon.

23. Q. Some of the explanations don't seem to be related to the flagged mistake.
  For example, in the sentence

  Lets go home now.

  the explanation in the grammar checker does not mention specifically the
  confusable pair lets/let's.

  A. The grammar explanations are intended to cover the most general cases
  within each rule in order to avoid crowding the screen text.

Additional query words: 8.0 FAQ

Keywords          : kbdta kbproof word97 kbfaq
Technology        : kbWordSearch kbWord97 kbWord97Search kbZNotKeyword2
Version           : WINDOWS:97
Issue type        : kbinfo



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