New grammar and language tools helpful, but do not replace clear ideas

Many students and colleagues I know, both native and non-native speakers, are eagerly embracing new grammar and language tools, some of which “learn” over time with artificial intelligence (AI). I myself use LanguageTool, a grammar, style, and spelling checker, as an “overlay” over Google Docs whenever I can, finding myself missing the supplementary tool when I use Microsoft Word. 

While such tools are useful, they (in my opinion) do not replace clear thought. I often tell non-native students that if they cannot express themselves well in their native language, none of the English writing tools will help them present their thoughts better in this second language. 

In addition to LanguageTool, my students and colleagues find the following tools of use:

I tried to find a comparison chart created by universities or libraries for these tools, but was unsuccessful. Various lists of the so-called best tools for 2022 (scroll past the paid content) are available in this sample search.

Stepping backwards, here is a nice subject guide to editing and proofreading in English that includes a nice checklist. 

Curtain University (2021). Editing and proofreading your assignment. 

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