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I have a few sentences in English (I am not native speaker) — abstract for my thesis. However, my English is not very strong and I would appreciate a grammar check by someone more skilled in English. If I understand correctly, this site does not allow this kind of post here. My question is, is there another place to get such a grammar check? I do not need any opinions about the text itself, just a check if it is grammatically correct. Thank you.

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The best place to do this is probably EL&U chat. The room is very active, and you're likely to find someone there at nearly all hours who can point out simple grammatical mistakes.

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There are plenty of online forums that don't have restrictions on the kinds of questions you can ask, such as Yahoo! Answers, or Answerbag.com. You might look for a more general-purpose forum, and see if you can get any online assistance there. You never know – some kindhearted individual may see your question and offer some sound advice.

There may be resources available at your school as well.

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Copy your text into MS Word. Red squiggly underlines will tell you that you've misspelled something. Green squiggly underlines will tell you that a word is not appropriate grammatically.

As abhorrent as this might sound (there're all sorts of difficulties with the MS Word grammar/style checker), it is better than nothing. It will help you with the most egregious problems first, but then you should have a human look over it.

Major Caveats:

  • MS Word does some very basic word sequence checking, part of speech tagging (for checking tense and plurality agreement, and hard coded patterns (like marking common typing errors like repeated words). Beyond that it's not so good.
  • whoever decided what the vocabulary and diction suggestions are, really don't know how real writers write.
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    Think of MS Word like a loyal but not-too-bright dog. Yes, it will bark when someone's trying to break into your house, but it will also bark when the mail comes, when a fly buzzes by, and when it wants you to change the TV channel. – Monica Cellio Apr 20 '12 at 14:44
  • I don't totally agree with that sentiment. In the metaphor, the dog barks at you sometimes, is not housebroken, and bit the neighbor's kid. But it will eat any food that comes close to dropping on the floor. – Mitch Apr 21 '12 at 18:26
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  • Copy your trial English text into Google Translate.
  • Translate to your native language (or whatever you're most comfortable with for the topic). If the translation doesn't look good in your own language then it is likely that something is wrong in the original English.
  • Whether the translation is wrong or not, translate back again into English.
  • repeat this process until the English text doesn't change anymore. Or rearrange the steps as you see fit (maybe just start with your native text).

As abhorrent as this might sound (for many reasons), it is a quick way to check grammar.

Major caveats:

  • google translate is not perfect. It is not using (currently) using (much?) direct grammatical knowledge; rather it uses probabilities of short sequences of words. This is counterintuitively much better than the current syntax-based translators.
  • a mistake in grammar (in any language) might be processed in a hard to predict manner, resulting in a sequence in the other language that is either also ungrammatical, or if grammatical, having an unintended semantics (a misplaced adverb, a mistranslated negation, an unrecognized idiomatic phrase, etc, etc, etc).
  • Bad idea. Google Translate is good for giving you a general idea for what a text is about and not much else. Use it for triage or for fun, but don't rely on GT for anything. Especially don't ask it to check your grammar. – Eugene Seidel Apr 24 '12 at 9:31

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