Showing posts with label style. Show all posts
Showing posts with label style. Show all posts

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

List of frequently used academic words

Have you heard of corpus linguistics

Corpus linguistics proposes that reliable language analysis is more feasible with corpora (samples) collected in the field, in their natural contexts, and with minimal experimental-interference.

How did it all start?

A landmark in modern corpus linguistics was Henry Kučera and W. Nelson Francis's Computational Analysis of Present-Day American English (1967).

This work was based on the analysis of the Brown Corpus, a carefully compiled selection of about a million words, drawn from a wide variety of sources in current  American English

How did technology help?

The first computerized corpus of one million words of transcribed spoken language was constructed in 1971 by the Montreal French Project. This effort inspired Shana Poplack's much larger corpus of spoken French in the Ottawa-Hull area

The analysis of academic writing shows that there are many 

frequently used words and phrases:

a form of   

a function of   

a high degree   

a large number   

a large number of   

a list of   

a number of   

a result of   

a series of   

a set of   

a small number   

a variety of   

a wide range   

a wide range of   

according to the   

allows us to   

an attempt to   

an example of   

an increase in the   

and so on   

and the same   

and the second   

appear to be    

appears to be   

are a number of   

are able to   

are as follows   

are based on   

are likely to   

as a consequence   

as a function   

as a function of   

as a result   

as a result of   

as a result of the   

as a whole   

as an example   

as can be seen   

as opposed to   

as part of   

as part of the   

as shown in   

as well as   

associated with the   

assume that the    

assumed to be   

at least in   

at the outset   

at the same    

at the same time   

at the time of   

at this stage 


based on a   

based on the   

be achieved by   

be argued that   

be carried out   

be considered as   

be explained by   

be noted that    

be regarded as   

be related to the   

be seen as   

be the case   

be used as a   

be used to   

because it is   

been carried out   

been shown to   

between the two   

both of these   

but this is   

by virtue of   


Statistics in Linguistics

Christopher Butler

can also be   

can be achieved   

can be considered   

can be expressed   

can be found   

can be found in   

can be seen   

can be seen in   

can be used   

can be used to   

can easily be   

carried out by   

carried out in   

could be used   

degree to which   

depend on the   

depending on the   

depends on the   

difference between the   

different from the   

different types of   

does not appear   

due to the   

due to the fact   

due to the fact that   

each of the   

each of these   

even though the   

exactly the same   

example of a   

extent to which   

fact that the   

factors such as   

focus on the   

for example if   

for example in   

for example the   

for the purposes of   

for this purpose   

for this reason   

form of the   

from the point   

from the point of   

from the point of view   

function of the   

give rise to    

An enquiry into the role of satire and sense in academic life today:

The Graves of Academe

Would you recommend this book?

has also been   

has been used   

have shown that   

have the same   

high levels of   

his or her   

if they are   

if this is   

important role in   

in a number of   

in accordance with   

in accordance with the   

in both cases   

in conjunction with   

in more detail   

in most cases   

in order to   

in other words   

in other words the   

in relation to   

in response to   

in some cases   

in such a   

in such a way   

in such a way that   

in table    

in terms of   

in terms of a   

in terms of the   

in the absence of   

in the case   

in the case of   

in the context   

in the context of   

in the course of   

in the form of   

in the next section   

in the present study   

in the same   

in the sense   

in the sense that   

in this article   

in this case   

in this case the   

in this paper   

in this paper we   

in this way   

insight into the   

is affected by   

is based on   

is based on the   

is consistent with   

is determined by   

is likely to   

is likely to be   

is more likely   

is much more   

is not possible to   

is the case   

it appears that   

it follows that   

it is clear   

it is clear that   

it is difficult   

it is important   

it is important to   

it is impossible   

it is impossible to   

it is interesting   

it is interesting to   

it is likely that   

it is necessary   

it is necessary to   

it is not possible   

it is not possible to   

it is obvious that   

it is possible   

it is possible that   

it is possible to   

it is worth   

it may be   

it should be noted   

large number of   

less likely to   

likely to be   

little or no   

means that the   

more likely to   

most likely to   

nature of the   

need not be   

needs to be    

none of these   

of the fact   

of the same   

of the second   

of the system   

of the two    

of these two   

of view of   

on the basis   

on the basis of   

on the basis of the   

on the other   

on the other hand   

on the other hand the   

on the part of   

other words the   

out that the   

over a period   

over a period of   

part of a   

part of the   

parts of the   

point of view   

point of view of   

referred to as   

related to the   

same way as   

see for example   

should also be   

should be noted   

should not be   

shown in figure   

shown in table   

similar to those   

size of the   

small number of   

so that the   

such a way   

such a way that   

such as the   

such as those   

take into account   

take into account the   

terms of the   

the ability to   

the amount of   

the area of   

the basis of   

the case of   

the change in   

the concept of   

the context of   

the definition of   

the development of   

the difference between   

the difference between the   

the distribution of   

the effect of   

the effects of   

the example of   

the existence of   

the extent to which   

the fact that   

the fact that the    

the first is   

the form of   

the frequency of   

the idea that   

the importance of   

the issue of   

the level of   

the meaning of   

the most important   

the nature of   

the nature of the   

the next section   

the notion of   

the number of   

the order of   

the other hand   

the other hand the   

the part of the   

the point of view   

the point of view of   

the presence of   

the presence of a   

the problem of   

the process of   

the purpose of this   

the question of   

the rate of   

the real world   

the reason for   

the relationship between   

the result of   

the role of   

the same as   

the same time   

the same way as   

the size of   

the size of the   

the structure of   

the study of   

the sum of   

the total number   

the use of   

the validity of the   

the value of   

the way in   

the way in which   

the way that   

the work of   

their ability to   

there are a number   

there are a number of   

there are no   

there are several   

there are three   

this means that   

this paper we   

this type of   

this would be   

to carry out   

to determine whether   

to distinguish between   

to do so   

to ensure that   

to ensure that the   

to show that   

to some extent   

to the fact that   

to use the   

total number of   

two types of   

value of the   

view of the   

was based on   

was carried out   

way in which   

ways in which   

we assume that   

we can see   

we do not   

we have seen   

what are the   

whether or not   

whether or not the   

which can be   

which is not   

which is the   

wide range of   

with regard to   

with respect to   

with respect to the   

with the same    

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Eight Openings and the Blank Page Trauma

Are you familiar with the terror of the blank page in the exam room?
Do you experience a sense of writer's block in this situation?
Are you just unsure about your technique in starting an essay?

In fact, there are many tried and tested openings that will get your writing off to a confident and winning start. Although there are infinite possible ways of leading into an essay, blog, or news article, there are some common opening gambits that writers rely on (as in a game of chess). After a strong opening you will be ready for a winning middle game.

Before outlining the Eight Openings, here are some points to think about:

Is your aim to engage the reader by being relevant, creative, and original?
Are you trying to arouse curiosity or to meet expectations?
Are you explaining what’s on offer (like a menu), or offering a taster session?
In a promotional sense you want to encourage the reader to come through the door: to enter your mental world. Some readers are reluctant, suspicious people who need to be coaxed into your space.

Remember that your aim is a happy relationship between writer and reader; not a divorce.

Sometime it is helpful to signal or summarize what your topic is, and how you will be approaching it (methodology). In academic essays there is often a well-crafted thesis statement that encapsulates the main argument in one sentence.

1. The Quoted Opening

"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect." Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis (1916). My transformation happened over three lazy weeks, but it was not any less wonderful... Begin with an impressive quotation from someone who will be recognised by your reader. A well chosen quotation can also have the advantage that it provides an unusual angle on your content. Also, it may hint at the tone and approach you are taking to your topic. In academic essays marks may also be gained for evidence of research. Disadvantages: quotations can be over used (clichés); you are relying on someone else’s work at the outset.

2. The Story Opening

"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."  Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle (1948). A story has a universal appeal and everyone wants to know what happens next if there is an element of intrigue. This opening plays on the art of the unexplained: look where I am; how did I arrive at this point. This approach also involves the art of delayed resolution (ending) that we find in jokes or anecdotes. A story that is relevant to the reader also plays on empathy.

3. The Headline Opening
The Times Of India: “We saw the sea coming, we all ran. But God saves little”

This approach keeps coming back to the essay title or the newspaper heading, but offers more detail or clarity. Again the emphasis is on focus and relevance. This technique works well where the eye-catching headline is not a ready-made statement, or the solution to an issue. 

4. The Shocking Opening

Shock tactics may fit well with an eye-catching sensational opening. Often the trick is to reverse normal expectations, turning the world upside down. The element of surprise can be very effective, but it may be difficult to sustain after the initial impact.  Build your special effects using rhetorical drama (pattern, pace, rhythm, alliteration) and memorable literary devices (such as simile or metaphor).

5. The Interrogatory Opening

This opening relies on asking questions that engage the reader. This may involve empathy (Don’t you just hate daytime marketing calls? Why do we want to laugh in a moment of crisis?); or it may interrogate the title/heading in a curious or surprising way (Why do most disasters happen on Thursday mornings?). But too many questions leave the reader frustrated or perhaps impatient to hear the answers. Avoid this problem by asking unusual, thought-provoking questions.

6. The Summary Opening

This opening offers a preview of the remainder of the essay. It’s rather like a menu that explains what to expect and offers an insight into your approach (how the steak will be cooked; is the food spicy). The risk is that you give away all the surprises at the outset. So try to avoid going into too much detail at this stage. Better to give a sense of the general scope of your project, rather than trying to tick every box.

7. The Strange, but True, Opening

This is also known as the newsworthy or factual opening. ‘In Great Britain in 2012 it is reported that 3,678 babies swallowed an iPhone. All but one survived. This is his story...’ Common features of this approach deploy data, or statistics, but also develop a human angle on the arithmetic. Again, eye-catching news reverses expectations: the "Man Bites Dog" Rule.

8. The Connoisseur Opening

This opening does not fit any of the above categories, or it is a hybrid strategy that deploys several styles of opening. Sometimes it is a low-key opening that marks the innovator. In 1913, Marcel Proust began his epic novel sequence, "For a long time, I went to bed early." Swann's Way. (tr. Lydia Davis).

Tips to Develop Your Style:
Use a notebook, or simply cut and paste opening sentences and paragraphs which in your view are engaging and appealing. Also note down why you think they are effective. It’s also useful to make a list of your own categories of opening. For instance, what are the differences between factual items and literary fiction? What else is required in an essay for school or college? Why are some openings longer than others?
It is worthwhile examining existing models of great writing, but with practice you will craft engaging openings that bear your personal stamp of creative genius.

Dr Ian McCormick is the author of
also available on Kindle, or to download.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Grammarly perfection tested

Further to my recent post examining the effectiveness of software designed to assist with grammar, punctuation, and style, I wanted to find out whether it was possible to score 100% on the software.

I tried to test by using text taken from their own website. That does not work, however, as they recognize their own work and they have already marked it as 'perfection.' They award themselves 100% for their own work. Is that surprising?

Nonetheless, if we select text from, their text has a variety of errors - according  to Similarly, text taken from the website fares badly when it is tested by These results suggest that the software programmes have not managed to create a reliable and universal system that successfully tests and verifies grammar, style and punctuation. Whichever system is used there is a typical 35% reporting of errors in the text submitted. Clearly, they are playing on this margin of error in order to convince us that we are in urgent need of their services.

Apparently it is possible to score 100%. I tried this:

There is a balance between pedantry and charity. The pigs are chattering in the trees. In fact, the birds dislike flying. Parasitic earthworms invented grammar. As a result, punctuation is no longer revolutionary. The trees have stolen the semicolons from the elephants. Biologists never use punctuation. It is unfair to test children under the age of fifty. We published the results of the research in a journal. The red bird snorted and guffawed. Is this a sentence? Is this an answer? Creative writing employs unusual techniques.

"Grammarly found no writing issues in your text. Score: 100 of 100 (good)"

However, the postmodern text generator also fared quite well (if spelling is discounted)

In the works of Tarantino, a predominant concept is the distinction between opening and closing. The primary theme of the works of Tarantino is the role of the reader as writer. However, Sartre uses the term ‘the postdialectic paradigm of reality’ to denote the economy, and eventually the paradigm, of semantic class.
The example of posttextual discourse depicted in Tarantino’s Jackie Brown is also evident in Reservoir Dogs. In a sense, the premise of precultural theory suggests that sexuality, perhaps ironically, has intrinsic meaning.If subconstructivist libertarianism holds, we have to choose between posttextual discourse and capitalist feminism. Therefore, Lacan promotes the use of Marxist class to challenge capitalism.
The postdialectic paradigm of reality implies that expression is created by the masses, given that art is equal to reality. It could be said that Baudrillard uses the term ‘subdialectic modern theory’ to denote the role of the participant as artist.

Grammarly found 10 critical writing issues in your text.

Score: 53 of 100 (weak, needs revision)
Plagiarism !
  • Unoriginal text detected
Contextual Spelling Check 7 issues
  • Spelling (7)
  • Ignored words
  • Commonly confused words
Grammar 1 issue
  • Passive voice use (1)
  • Use of articles
  • Use of conjunctions
Punctuation 1 issue
  • Punctuation within a sentence (1)
  • Closing punctuation
  • Formal punctuation
Style and Word Choice
  • Writing style
  • Vocabulary use

Monday, 16 December 2013

Testing the Grammar Check Test

The march of technology into every corner of contemporary education often leads to the harsh judgment that traditional teachers have become - or will soon become - a redundant human resource. 

Are the rumours of pedagogic extinction justified?

With the perfection of advanced linguistic software, a brave new world of error-free writing has emerged. Machine-generated clarity and precision is leading us to a written world that will be ruthlessly stripped of recurring lapses and common mistakes. Foggy chasms of fatal confusion will be banished from the linguistic ecology of the planet.

There will be no more sleepless nights; no more worrying about the comma splice, sentence fragments, and dangling modifiers. Indeed, an inexpensive monthly subscription provides an enticing opportunity to join the new democratic republic of letters - a nation of automated stop-keepers.

After all, the technology has now conquered the checking of spelling, grammar and style. Indeed, some of the  most celebrated providers of software boast millions of 'followers' and 'likes' in social media.

Is it true that the days of the grammatical pedants, composition instructors, and style fascists are numbered?

With this question, and these common reflections in mind, I set out to test the standard of writing of several major writers.

I'm sorry to say that all of them failed the test. In fact, they all failed so badly that I am led to question whether any of the classics are suitable (fit-for-purpose) in the modern world of computerised SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar).

In the examples examined, the grades awarded by the Chief Examiner ranged from Poor to Weak.

(The plagiarism check was, however, excellent in each of extracts tested. Nonetheless, in more subtle cases the results from other reviewers were far more critical.)

This was a Bad Year for classic writers, but perhaps a good one for real-life (RL) teachers.

Don't give up your day jobs!


Their homes were so distant, and the circles in which they moved so distinct, as almost to preclude the means of ever hearing of each other's existence during the eleven following years, or, at least, to make it very wonderful to Sir Thomas that Mrs. Norris should ever have it in her power to tell them, as she now and then did, in an angry voice, that Fanny had got another child. By the end of eleven years, however, Mrs. Price could no longer afford to cherish pride or resentment, or to lose one connexion that might possibly assist her. A large and still increasing family, an husband disabled for active service, but not the less equal to company and good liquor, and a very small income to supply their wants, made her eager to regain the friends she had so carelessly sacrificed; and she addressed Lady Bertram in a letter which spoke so much contrition and despondence, such a superfluity of children, and such a want of almost everything else, as could not but dispose them all to a reconciliation. She was preparing for her ninth lying-in; and after bewailing the circumstance, and imploring their countenance as sponsors to the expected child, she could not conceal how important she felt they might be to the future maintenance of the eight already in being. Her eldest was a boy of ten years old, a fine spirited fellow, who longed to be out in the world; but what could she do? Was there any chance of his being hereafter useful to Sir Thomas in the concerns of his West Indian property? No situation would be beneath him; or what did Sir Thomas think of Woolwich? or how could a boy be sent out to the East?

[Jane Austen, Mansfield Park]

Dear Jane,

Grammarly found 13 critical writing issues in your text.

Score: 43 of 100 (weak, needs revision)
Plagiarism !
  • Unoriginal text detected

    Grammar 7 issues
    • Use of articles (2)
    • Verb form use (1)
    • Other (1)
    Punctuation 5 issues
    • Punctuation within a sentence (4)
    • Capitalization (1)
    • Closing punctuation

    The nature of the following work will be best understood by a brief account of how it came to be written. During many years I collected notes on the origin or descent of man, without any intention of publishing on the subject, but rather with the determination not to publish, as I thought that I should thus only add to the prejudices against my views. It seemed to me sufficient to indicate, in the first edition of my 'Origin of Species,' that by this work "light would be thrown on the origin of man and his history;" and this implies that man must be included with other organic beings in any general conclusion respecting his manner of appearance on this earth. Now the case wears a wholly different aspect. When a naturalist like Carl Vogt ventures to say in his address as President of the National Institution of Geneva (1869), "personne, en Europe au moins, n'ose plus soutenir la creation indépendante et de toutes pièces, des espèces," it is manifest that at least a large number of naturalists must admit that species are the modified descendants of other species; and this especially holds good with the younger and rising naturalists. The greater number accept the agency of natural selection; though some urge, whether with justice the future must decide, that I have greatly overrated its importance. Of the older and honoured chiefs in natural science, many unfortunately are still opposed to evolution in every form.

    [Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man]

    Dear Charles,

    Grammarly found 18 critical writing issues in your text.

    Score: 32 of 100 (poor, revision necessary)
    Plagiarism !
    • Unoriginal text detected
    Contextual Spelling Check 8 issues
    • Spelling (8)
    • Ignored words
    • Commonly confused words
    Grammar 5 issues
    • Comparing two or more things (1)
    • Verb form use (1)
    • Wordiness (1)
    Punctuation 3 issues
    • Punctuation within a sentence (3)
    • Closing punctuation
    • Formal punctuation
    Style and Word Choice 1 issue
    • Writing style (1)
    • Vocabulary use

    Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little 'prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon and hanging in the misty clouds.

    [Charles Dickens, Bleak House]

    Dear Charles,

    Grammarly found 8 critical writing issues in your text.

    Score: 50 of 100 (weak, needs revision)
    Plagiarism !
    • Unoriginal text detected
    Contextual Spelling Check 2 issues
    • Spelling (2)
    • Ignored words
    • Commonly confused words
    Grammar 2 issues
    • Faulty parallelism (1)
    • Sentence structure (1)
    • Use of articles
    Punctuation 3 issues
    • Punctuation within a sentence (3)
    • Closing punctuation
    • Formal punctuation

    In a remote solitude, vanity may still whisper in my ear, that my readers, perhaps, may inquire whether, in the conclusion of the present work, I am now taking an everlasting farewell. They shall hear all that I know myself, and all that I could reveal to the most intimate friend. The motives of action or silence are now equally balanced; nor can I pronounce, in my most secret thoughts, on which side the scale will preponderate. I cannot dissemble that six quartos must have tried, and may have exhausted, the indulgence of the Public; that, in the repetition of similar attempts, a successful Author has much more to lose than he can hope to gain; that I am now descending into the vale of years; and that the most respectable of my countrymen, the men whom I aspire to imitate, have resigned the pen of history about the same period of their lives. Yet I consider that the annals of ancient and modern times may afford many rich and interesting subjects; that I am still possessed of health and leisure; that by the practice of writing, some skill and facility must be acquired; and that, in the ardent pursuit of truth and knowledge, I am not conscious of decay. To an active mind, indolence is more painful than labor; and the first months of my liberty will be occupied and amused in the excursions of curiosity and taste. By such temptations, I have been sometimes seduced from the rigid duty even of a pleasing and voluntary task: but my time will now be my own; and in the use or abuse of independence, I shall no longer fear my own reproaches or those of my friends. I am fairly entitled to a year of jubilee: next summer and the following winter will rapidly pass away; and experience only can determine whether I shall still prefer the freedom and variety of study to the design and composition of a regular work, which animates, while it confines, the daily application of the Author.

    (Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)

    Dear Edward,

    Grammarly found 13 critical writing issues in your text.

    Score: 43 of 100 (weak, needs revision) 
    Plagiarism !
    • Unoriginal text detected
    Contextual Spelling Check 1 issue
    • Commonly confused words (1)
    • Spelling
    • Ignored words
    Grammar 7 issues
    • Use of articles (1)
    • Other (1)
    • Wordiness (1)
    Punctuation 4 issues
    • Punctuation within a sentence (4)
    • Closing punctuation
    • Formal punctuation

     The principal conquests of the Romans were achieved under the republic; and the emperors, for the most part, were satisfied with preserving those dominions which had been acquired by the policy of the senate, the active emulations of the consuls, and the martial enthusiasm of the people. The seven first centuries were filled with a rapid succession of triumphs; but it was reserved for Augustus to relinquish the ambitious design of subduing the whole earth, and to introduce a spirit of moderation into the public councils. Inclined to peace by his temper and situation, it was easy for him to discover that Rome, in her present exalted situation, had much less to hope than to fear from the chance of arms; and that, in the prosecution of remote wars, the undertaking became every day more difficult, the event more doubtful, and the possession more precarious, and less beneficial. The experience of Augustus added weight to these salutary reflections, and effectually convinced him that, by the prudent vigor of his counsels, it would be easy to secure every concession which the safety or the dignity of Rome might require from the most formidable barbarians. Instead of exposing his person and his legions to the arrows of the Parthians, he obtained, by an honorable treaty, the restitution of the standards and prisoners which had been taken in the defeat of Crassus.

    (Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)

    Dear Edward,

    Grammarly found 10 critical writing issues in your text.

    Score: 40 of 100 (weak, needs revision)
    Plagiarism !
    • Unoriginal text detected

    Grammar 8 issues
    • Confusing modifiers (1)
    • Wordiness (1)
    • Passive voice use (6)
    Punctuation 1 issue
    • Punctuation within a sentence (1)
    • Closing punctuation
    • Formal punctuation

    Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff’s dwelling.  ‘Wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather.  Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun.  Happily, the architect had foresight to build it strong: the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones.
    Before passing the threshold, I paused to admire a quantity of grotesque carving lavished over the front, and especially about the principal door; above which, among a wilderness of crumbling griffins and shameless little boys, I detected the date ‘1500,’ and the name ‘Hareton Earnshaw.’  I would have made a few comments, and requested a short history of the place from the surly owner; but his attitude at the door appeared to demand my speedy entrance, or complete departure, and I had no desire to aggravate his impatience previous to inspecting the penetralium.

    (Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights) -

    Dear Emily,

    Grammarly found 5 critical writing issues in your text.

    Score: 60 of 100 (weak, needs revision)
    Plagiarism !
    • Unoriginal text detected

      Grammar 4 issues
      • Verb form use (1)
      • Wordiness (1)
      • Passive voice use (2)

      The Prince had always liked his London, when it had come to him; he was one of the modern Romans who find by the Thames a more convincing image of the truth of the ancient state than any they have left by the Tiber. Brought up on the legend of the City to which the world paid tribute, he recognised in the present London much more than in contemporary Rome the real dimensions of such a case. If it was a question of an Imperium, he said to himself, and if one wished, as a Roman, to recover a little the sense of that, the place to do so was on London Bridge, or even, on a fine afternoon in May, at Hyde Park Corner. It was not indeed to either of those places that these grounds of his predilection, after all sufficiently vague, had, at the moment we are concerned with him, guided his steps; he had strayed, simply enough, into Bond Street, where his imagination, working at comparatively short range, caused him now and then to stop before a window in which objects massive and lumpish, in silver and gold, in the forms to which precious stones contribute, or in leather, steel, brass, applied to a hundred uses and abuses, were as tumbled together as if, in the insolence of the Empire, they had been the loot of far-off victories. The young man's movements, however, betrayed no consistency of attention—not even, for that matter, when one of his arrests had proceeded from possibilities in faces shaded, as they passed him on the pavement, by huge beribboned hats, or more delicately tinted still under the tense silk of parasols held at perverse angles in waiting victorias. And the Prince's undirected thought was not a little symptomatic, since, though the turn of the season had come and the flush of the streets begun to fade, the possibilities of faces, on the August afternoon, were still one of the notes of the scene. He was too restless—that was the fact—for any concentration, and the last idea that would just now have occurred to him in any connection was the idea of pursuit.

      (Henry James, The Golden Bowl)

      Dear Henry,

      Grammarly found 11 critical writing issues and generated 1 word choice correction for your text.

      Score: 44 of 100 (weak, needs revision)
      Plagiarism !
      • Unoriginal text detected
      Contextual Spelling Check 1 issue
      • Commonly confused words (1)
      • Spelling
      • Ignored words
      Grammar 6 issues
      • Use of articles (1)
      • Conditional sentences (1)
      • Sentence structure (2)
      Punctuation 2 issues
      • Punctuation within a sentence (2)
      • Closing punctuation
      • Formal punctuation
      Style and Word Choice 1 issue
      • Vocabulary use (1)
      • Writing style

      Nothing is more usual and more natural for those, who pretend to discover anything new to the world in philosophy and the sciences, than to insinuate the praises of their own systems, by decrying all those, which have been advanced before them. And indeed were they content with lamenting that ignorance, which we still lie under in the most important questions, that can come before the tribunal of human reason, there are few, who have an acquaintance with the sciences, that would not readily agree with them. It is easy for one of judgment and learning, to perceive the weak foundation even of those systems, which have obtained the greatest credit, and have carried their pretensions highest to accurate and profound reasoning. Principles taken upon trust, consequences lamely deduced from them, want of coherence in the parts, and of evidence in the whole, these are every where to be met with in the systems of the most eminent philosophers, and seem to have drawn disgrace upon philosophy itself.
      Nor is there required such profound knowledge to discover the present imperfect condition of the sciences, but even the rabble without doors may, judge from the noise and clamour, which they hear, that all goes not well within. There is nothing which is not the subject of debate, and in which men of learning are not of contrary opinions. The most trivial question escapes not our controversy, and in the most momentous we are not able to give any certain decision. Disputes are multiplied, as if every thing was uncertain; and these disputes are managed with the greatest warmth, as if every thing was certain. Amidst all this bustle it is not reason, which carries the prize, but eloquence; and no man needs ever despair of gaining proselytes to the most extravagant hypothesis, who has art enough to represent it in any favourable colours. The victory is not gained by the men at arms, who manage the pike and the sword; but by the trumpeters, drummers, and musicians of the army.

      (David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature)

      Dear David,

      Grammarly found 19 critical writing issues in your text.

      Score: 38 of 100 (poor, revision necessary)
      Plagiarism !
      • Unoriginal text detected
      Contextual Spelling Check 3 issues
      • Spelling (3)
      • Ignored words
      • Commonly confused words
      Grammar 9 issues
      • Use of articles (1)
      • Incorrect use of prepositions (1)
      • Subject and verb agreement (1)
      Punctuation 4 issues
      • Punctuation within a sentence (4)
      • Closing punctuation
      • Formal punctuation
      Style and Word Choice 2 issues
      • Writing style (1)
      • Vocabulary use (1)
      I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider'd how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost;—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that in which the reader is likely to see me.—Believe me, good folks, this is not so inconsiderable a thing as many of you may think it;—you have all, I dare say, heard of the animal spirits, as how they are transfused from father to son, &c. &c.—and a great deal to that purpose:—Well, you may take my word, that nine parts in ten of a man's sense or his nonsense, his successes and miscarriages in this world depend upon their motions and activity, and the different tracks and trains you put them into, so that when they are once set a-going, whether right or wrong, 'tis not a half-penny matter,—away they go cluttering like hey-go mad; and by treading the same steps over and over again, they presently make a road of it, as plain and as smooth as a garden-walk, which, when they are once used to, the Devil himself sometimes shall not be able to drive them off it.

      (Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy)

      Dear Laurence,

      Grammarly found 20 critical writing issues in your text.

      Score: 10 of 100 (poor, revision necessary)
      Plagiarism !
      • Unoriginal text detected
      Contextual Spelling Check 4 issues
      • Spelling (4)
      • Ignored words
      • Commonly confused words
      Grammar 6 issues
      • Wordiness (1)
      • Passive voice use (5)
      • Use of articles
      Punctuation 7 issues
      • Punctuation within a sentence (7)
      • Closing punctuation
      • Formal punctuation
      Style and Word Choice 2 issues
      • Writing style (2)
      • Vocabulary use

      Why not go to and paste in your own samples? No genius is safe.

      Incidentally, my introduction (above) scored 69/100 ( = "Weak, needs revision")

       Apparently, I have already plagiarized myself,  * prior * to the publication of this blog.

      Now that's clever.