Grammarly vs. Ginger vs. Whitesmoke Review 2019

If you want to consistently create an article or an essay that is free from grammatical errors and blunders, you might want to consider using competent grammar check software. These programs have transformed the way people write essays. But with a large number of products on the market, how do you know which program is the best software for you? In this article, we will examine three grammar check programs and see which one seems to be the best value. While the final decision will, of course, be ultimately up to you, we hope this guide will give you some insight and advice, allowing you to pick the best program for your needs.

Before going any further, you should be aware that none of these programs will be one-hundred percent accurate. While they will catch a large number of blunders, there are still limitations to these automated proofreaders. So even if you have checked them using one of these three programs, it would always be better to also check them manually.

Grammarly

One of Grammarly’s primary features is its multi-faceted ability to check sentences in terms of grammar, conciseness, spelling, clarity, and idiomatic expressions. Grammarly also provides suggestions for strengthening your writing, as well as synonyms and definitions of words. Lastly, it offers an explanation of the grammatical rules involved, allowing you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and become a better writer.

In addition to this, it features a plagiarism checker. This feature, once activated, scans the document and highlights any suspicious passages that may have come directly from other sources. This is an extremely useful tool for teachers and educators who need to check a student’s work.

This application also allows you to set your goals for your article. You can, for example, choose your intent – whether you want to inform, convince, describe, or tell a story. You can select a wide variety of other parameters, as well, such as audience, style, emotion, and your domain. The more that Grammarly knows about the context of your article, the more customized its suggestions are.

If you are quite unsure of the way Grammarly checked your document, the program has another option for you. You can send your work to a human proofreader. For an extra fee, human proofreaders will check your content more precisely, and have it back to you anywhere from thirty minutes to twenty-four hours, depending on the level of service you choose.

When it comes to pricing, Grammarly has two levels: Grammarly and Grammarly Premium. The first is a free version, however, it only has limited functions. This version is great if you are on a tight budget. Because it can be installed as a plugin on your browser, this app can check for errors present in your emails, social media posts, and anything else you may happen to type. However, as mentioned, this version is limited. It can handle the large-scheme grammar errors and spelling mistakes, but if you want the grammar rules, vocabulary building, and plagiarism detector, you’ll need to upgrade to their Premium product.  This is available in one of three ways: a monthly subscription at $29.95 a month, quarterly subscription at $19.98 a month, and an annual subscription of $11.66 a month.

You can read more about Grammarly in our review.

Pros:

– Due to its clean user interface, it is easy to use.
– It recommends ways to improve your grammar and vocabulary.
– It offers plagiarism detector and human proofreader.
– It provides an accurate way of checking for grammar blunders.

 

Cons:

– You need the internet to use it.
– To gain the full features, you could pay as much as $359 a year.

Ginger

Ginger is one of the oldest grammar check programs still on the market today. Because it has been around for some time (since 2007), Ginger has gained a loyal following through the years. Its features, accuracy, and price make it a still-popular grammar software.

Like Grammarly, Ginger utilizes a contextual spelling checker. Ginger, can spot words that may have been spelled correctly, but they are written in the wrong context. For example, affect and effect, lose and loose, and lie and lay, among others.

Another feature of Ginger is its vocabulary enhancement capability. This feature improves your active vocabulary by suggesting alternative, more sophisticated words.

Its “sentence rephraser” capability is another tool that may come in handy. It provides suggestions for writing sentences in different ways.  This is helpful if you have trouble using  English idioms correctly.

Other ”useful characteristics that are worth mentioning include a translator, a text reader, and a trainer. The personal trainer function, in particular, keeps track of your literary mistakes. Then, it teaches you how to overcome or avoid them so you do not do them again in the future. The text reader tool reads the text back to you, something that is useful for checking the flow of the document, or the pronunciation of difficult-to-pronounce words. Finally, the translator tool is designed to accurately translate your document to over 40 languages.

Like Grammarly, Ginger comes in both free and premium versions. The free version is ideal for those who write casually. However, the other features, such as the text reader, sentence rephraser, and error analysis are not available on the free version. The premium version, on the other hand, lets you experience the full beauty of Ginger. Monthly plans range from just over $12 a month, to just under $30 a month.

Pros:

– It features sentence rephrasing, grammar and spelling checks, and text reader functions.
– It has a built-in dictionary.
– It has a context-specific grammar checking capability.

Cons:

– It requires an internet connection.
– It does not contain a plagiarism check.

WhiteSmoke

Finally, we have WhiteSmoke. This grammar check software, like the previous two, is compatible with both your PC and your mobile devices. A lot of users have turned to WhiteSmoke because of the convenience it offers to them. It is not only affordable, but it is also very accurate in all of its features.

The WhiteSmoke grammar check function is capable of catching common errors, such as sentence fragments, typographical errors, and incorrect capitalizations, among others. It, of course, features a spellcheck function, and with its up-to-date and comprehensive database of spellings, you will rarely have to worry about missing a common, but misspelled, word.

Aside from your grammar and spelling, WhiteSmoke is also capable of spotting mistakes in your writing style. This tool learns as it goes, matching your style with other samples. Then, it offers tips and recommendations to improve your writing style, while still maintaining your unique voice.

You think your content is original enough? Like Grammarly, Whitesmoke offers a plagiarism checker. This is very useful for both students and teachers.

Another feature that WhiteSmoke  offers is its translator function. It is capable of translating any document into over 45 languages. That is definitely a plus!

Some users say they find the interface to be outdated, but Whitesmoke remains one of the most popular grammar check programs on the market. . Unfortunately, only the limited, web-based version is free. The other versions run from $6.59 to $17.95 a month.

Pros:

– It is accurate.
– It comes with a built-in plagiarism detection feature.

Cons:

– It requires an internet connection in order to use it.
– It may be somewhat buggy.

Conclusion

If we have to choose among the three grammar checkers, we would recommend Grammarly the most. Though the other two programs are very reliable, Grammarly’s accuracy and precision beat out the others, giving you a stellar finished product. Whether they are writing articles, books, or blog posts, many writers use and trust this program. While Ginger and WhiteSmoke are excellent alternatives that offer similar features, in the end, Grammarly offers the best value for your dollar.

15 Common Grammar Mistakes

For many, writing is undoubtedly fun and exciting to do until they come across grammar. Indeed, many of us find it quite difficult to maintain perfect grammar even after years of studying English. Some thoughts may sound good in our minds. But when they are already written, our original ideas end up the other way around. We discover that we have made several grammar mistakes which should not be there in the first place.

Keeping perfect grammar is a tedious job, especially to some. It is not enough that we learn the rules, but it is more important to use them more often in writing so that you will be able to master these rules. In this article, we are going to discuss 15 grammar mistakes that you may be doing unknowingly. We will also explain how you are going to apply these rules by citing several examples.

1. Your vs. You’re

This is actually one of the most – if the not the – most common grammar mistakes people usually make. “Your” signifies something that belongs to you. “You’re,” on the other hand, is just the contracted form of, “you are.” Since this pair of pronouns is a set of homophones, many people may be able to interchange them. Hence, be mindful of their definitions. Check out these examples.

Wrong: Your absent yesterday.

Correct: You’re absent yesterday. (indicating that you were absent yesterday)

Wrong: I believe that this is you’re laptop.

Correct: I believe that this is your laptop. (indicating that this laptop is yours)

 

2. Its vs. It’s

This is another set of homophones which frequently confuses writers. “Its” signifies something that belongs to a neutral noun. “It’s,” on the other hand, refers to the contracted form of “it is.” One of the two is a possessive pronoun while the other is a contraction. Take a long at the examples below.

Wrong: Its hot inside the laboratory.
Correct: It’s hot inside the laboratory.

Wrong: Have you seen it’s decorations?
Correct: Have you seen its decorations?

Notice how the meaning of the sentences would change if the wrong word has been used.

 

3. There vs. They’re vs. Their

The there- they’re-their homophone group has also confused a lot of writers. “There” is used to refer to the direction that is not here. It is also used to state the presence of something. “They’re” is the contraction of the term, “they are.” Finally, “their” refers to possession, something that belongs to them.

Since they have different definitions, you should know how each of them is used in sentences. Let us take for instance these sentences.

Wrong: Their are a thousand goats over they’re backyard.
Correct: There a thousand goats over their backyard.

Wrong: They’re boat collapsed because there clumsy.
Correct: Their boat collapsed because they’re clumsy.

 

4. Affect vs. Effect

Many writers would also commit a mistake of interchanging these two words together since they look and sound alike. However, these words mean different. Affect is a verb which means to influence or have an impact on. On the other hand, effect is a noun which means the consequence of an action or a cause.

Wrong: There is a direct affect of the heat in the experiment.
Correct: There is a direct effect of the heat in the experiment.

Wrong: How did this experience effect your personality?
Correct: How did this experience affect your personality?

 

5. Who vs. Whom vs. Who’s vs. Whose

For these four words, it is better to break them into four separate sentences.

“Who” is used when asking for a human being. The answer is usually the subject of the sentence. For instance, we ask, “Who built this city through rock and roll?” The answer is definitely a person.

“Whom” is used to describe someone who will receive something. The answer is usually the object of the sentence. For example, we ask, “To whom are you paying your lunch?”

“Who’s” is a contraction of, “who is.” For example, we would say, “Who’s the tallest man on the planet.

“Whose,” on the other hand, is a possessive term used when asking the owner of something. For instance, we say, “Whose shirt was present there?”

6. Less vs. Fewer

The difference between these two words depends on whether the object being described can be counted or not. “Fewer” is used when the objects can be counted. “Less” is used for objects which are not quantifiable. Let us look at these sentences, for example.

Wrong: There are less roads which have not been renovated yet.
Correct: There are fewer roads which have not been renovated yet. (roads can be counted)

Wrong: There is fewer happiness left in this world.
Correct: There is less happiness left in this world. (happiness cannot be counted)

7. Amount vs. Number

These words are used in the same way as “fewer” and “less” since these would refer to quantifiable and non-quantifiable objects. “Amount” would refer to objects which cannot be counted. “Number” would refer to objects which can be counted.

Wrong: Please get a number of water from the basin.
Correct: Please get an amount of water from the basin. (water cannot be counted)

Wrong: An amount of birds are flocking the tree.
Correct: A number of birds are flocking the tree. (birds can be counted)

8. Compliment vs. Complement

A lot of people, even writers for that matter, would mix these things up since they do sound the same and they both look alike. However, they mean differently. “Complement” refers to something that completes another thing. Meanwhile, “compliment” refers to a polite expression of admiration. To make things clearer, take a look at the following examples.

Wrong: He gave her a positive complement for her dress.
Correct: He gave her a positive compliment for her dress.

Wrong: Her voice did compliment the tonality of the choir.
Correct: Her voice did complement the tonality of the choir.

 

9. Between vs. Among

The term “between” is used to describe two things that are separated while “among” refers to things that are not clearly separated from each other because each of the objects belongs to a part of a group.

Hence, you choose between a pencil and a pen, but you choose among all the writing materials. Furthermore, you could choose between a blouse or a plain t-shirt, but you choose among the dresses.

 

10. Use of Commas

Many people also commit mistakes in their use of commas. There are instances when a comma is placed in a sentence which does not require it. There are also some sentences which require a comma, but people tend to skip it. Let us take a look at some examples.

Wrong: Danica chose to stay inside the house, because she was afraid of ghosts.
Correct: Danica chose to stay inside the house because she was afraid of ghosts.

Wrong: People tend to leave out commas but there are instances when they really need it.
Correct: People tend to leave out commas, but there are instances when they really need it.

11. Parallel Structure

Parallelism in sentences happens when two or more similar parts of the sentence are parallel in terms of grammar. Weak parallelism occurs when this does not happen. It is often present in a series of items.

Wrong: His everyday routine includes going to the grocery, visiting the doctor, and lift weights.
Correct: His everyday routine includes, going to the grocery, visiting the doctor, and lifting weights.

Take note that the words used to denote action should all end in -ing to exhibit parallelism.

12. Split Infinitives

An infinitive refers to the combination of the word “to” plus the verb. The split infinitive separates the combination with another word, usually an adverb. While there are no strict rules which prohibit split infinitives, many writers do not recommend this. This is because the sentence may sound awkward.

Wrong: He decided to quickly dash to the seashore for the annual games.
Correct: He decided to dash to the seashore quickly for the annual games.

13. Subject-Verb Agreement

One of the most basic rules of grammar is to make your subject and verb agree with each other. If the subject of the sentence is singular, then the verb must also be singular. If the subject of the sentence is plural, then the verb must also follow suit.

Wrong: The cabinets is going to be repainted tomorrow.
Correct: The cabinets are going to be repainted tomorrow.

Wrong: The most important among all the sayings were to seize the day.
Correct: The most important among all the sayings is to seize the day.

14. Unclear Use of Pronouns

When you replace a noun with a pronoun, be sure that its reference is clear as day so as not to confuse your readers as to the pronoun reference. Let us take a look at the sentence for example.

Wrong: Dorothy told her mother that she will be buying her bag.
Correct: Dorothy told her mother, “I will buy your bag.”

In the first sentence, it is unclear who will buy the dress and to whom the dress will be given. The second sentence clears it out.

15. Punctuations in Quotation Marks

In sentences involving dialogs, you should always place your punctuation marks inside the quotation marks and not outside them. Placing them outside is grammatically incorrect.

Wrong: “Tell me the reason”, she thought aloud.
Correct: “Tell me the reason,” she thought aloud.

Wrong: “Have I done something wrong to offend you”? The minister asked.
Correct: “Have I done something wrong to offend you?” the minister asked.

Conclusion

Whether you are a language enthusiast or casual writer, you should strive to maintain high standards of grammar. We love using Grammarly to make sure we’re writing properly and you can read more about our love of Grammarly in our review.

 

I.E. vs. E.G.

I.e and e.g are often mistaken words in grammar. The two abbreviations are both from Latin language but know the difference between i.e. vs e.g. can be challenging.

E.g in Latin means exempli gratia which translates in English to ‘for example.’ E.g is mostly used to introduce examples, one or several. E.g also should appear in lowercase in the middle of a sentence, also ideally these abbreviations should be followed by a comma.

I.e in Latin is ‘id est’ which means in English ‘in other words.’ I.e. is used when giving more information about a statement. I.e, also should appear in lowercase in the middle of a sentence and should be followed by a comma.

In a sentence, the two abbreviations can appear as follows:

1. On my way to town, I will go through the shopping mall I.e., the Savannah Mall.

2. On my way to town, I will go through a shopping mall e.g., Savannah or Two rivers Mall.

In the first example, it’s evident that I will visit Savannah mall and not any other mall. In my second example, it’s not clear which mall I will be visiting between Savannah and Two Rivers.

These two examples clearly show how to use these two abbreviations well in a sentence.

There are a few formatting issues you need to be aware of when using these abbreviations. You should not italize i.e and e.g in your writings even if they originate from Latin language and a comma should come after a period in the two abbreviations. I.e and e.g should mostly be used to introduce parenthetic statements, but you can also use them in other ways provided it suits well.

We hope you now understand the differences between i.e. and e.g. better!

How to Start a Blog in 5 Easy Steps

how to start a blogHave you always wanted to document your life? Perhaps you want to write about your experiences from your recent trips abroad. Or you want to share your expertise on beauty and make-up. Maybe you want to make writing a career, and not just a pastime. Either way, you should know how to start a blog.

Blogging has never been easier. There are so many tools and resources available on the internet that setting up a blog is a breeze. In this article, we’ll tell you how to start a blog in 5 easy steps.

1. Find a Topic

Obviously, the first thing that you should do is to come up with a topic to write about. Every article that you will post on your blog should center around this topic. Therefore, you should choose something that you are passionate about. This is because if you don’t care enough about the topic, you won’t be able to put your heart into it and may find it difficult to invest your time and money into starting the blog.

If you are fond of traveling, you could start a travel blog where you talk about the places you have been, how you have been to such a place, and even your itineraries. If you are a tech guru, your blog topics could center around everything related to technology including reviews of the best gadgets or how to make a smart home.

Furthermore, choosing a topic also informs what audience you will begin to build. If you stick to a certain niche, you can surely grow a dedicated audience who always await your posts.

Remember that there is no better way to share your expertise and experiences than creating your own blog. So you should be mindful of the topic first.

2. Get a Domain Name

After successfully choosing a topic, you should also pick a domain name for your blog that is related to your topic. Choosing the right domain name can be hard since you want to pick a domain name that is both memorable and meaningful while also conveying the topic of your site. Therefore, you should follow some basic rules when choosing a domain name.

First, you want your domain name to be catchy and memorable. For a name to work, it should then be easy to write and pronounce. The words should also be easy to spell and say.

Second, you want the domain name to be specific in order to grab the attention of your desired visitors. It should be specified in such a way that your audience would know what your topic is. For instance, you could opt for orchestracentral.com if you plan to talk about musical instruments. If you are a film enthusiast who wants to review films, you could choose filmlover.com.

However, you should not be too particular with your name, since it would only limit your articles. This would be detrimental you to as the writer since you would run out of articles. For instance, Fly Fishing Frenzy would only be limited to fly fishing. If you are into other types of fishing such as surf fishing, then it would not be appropriate to feature it on such website.

Finally, there’s the debate between .com and .net/.org/.biz/etc. I would suggest that you always stick with .com unless you are a specific organization who would benefit from having a .org domain name.

If you can, you could look for top names of the niche of your choice. If someone has already taken your chosen domain name, you should have a backup name.

There are many websites that sell domain name. GoDaddy is my favorite, but you can also bundle domain names with web hosting services from Bluehost and other web hosts.

3. Get a Hosting Service & Blogging Platform

Now that you have chosen a topic and a domain name, it is time to find a home for your blog.

While you could certainly go with a free blogging service like WordPress.com or Blogger.com, if you want to fully customize your blog and make it your own you should get a hosting service. Our favorite is Bluehost (this site started on it) because it’s cheap and reliable. Bluehost comes with a one-click WordPress installation so you can get your blog up and running in no time.

4. Write Your First Post

If you’re done with the technical setup, it is time to write your first blog post. It could be about anything realted to your topic chosen in step 1. You could write an introduction or you could explain what your brand is. You could also start posting relevant articles immediately. However, making a blog does not only entail you writing anything. There are also other things you have to consider.

Pick a theme

Once your web hosting service and your platform are installed, you could already start customizing the theme and make it your own. Pick a theme that would suit your content, the maturity of your desired audience, and how you want to brand yourself. Be as creative as possible since this is the first thing that your visitors would notice, next to your articles.

Platforms like WordPress offer free themes. However, they also offer you premium themes where you would pay such before you could utilize them. Other sites like Wix would allow you to make your own theme by dragging and dropping the contents present on your interface. It’s basically up to your preference which between these two types of platforms should you use.

When designing your own theme, do not forget to include several plugins which would greatly help your writing. You could use Yoast to check your grammar based on SEO standards.

Get Unstuck

Now is the time to write your articles. You have successfully written your first few posts. However, you find yourself stuck on your blog. You cannot do anything with your blog because of something you might have missed. Perhaps you are not motivated or there are technical things like coding that you do not know. Hence, you should learn to solve these things.

If you lost motivation, try to muster enough commitment to carry out your blog. Remember that this trait will get you through the place you have gotten stuck at.

If you are stuck at technical things, you could always resort to customer service. Web hosting site BlueHost has a 24/7 customer service feature which provides you an avenue to talk to the hosting site directly. This would immediately solve some problems.

5. Keep Going

Finally, keep going. After you have written your first articles, you should see to it that you consistently try to post new and exciting content based on your niche. Not only would it improve your talent, but it would increase your prospect audience as well. Consistency is the key to improve your rank on search engines, attract more audience, and even have the opportunity to affiliate your blogs to businesses and online stores. The possibilities are endless.

Conclusion

There you have it. After going through how to start a blog in 5 easy steps, we hope that you have already gained enough information to start your own blog. As it turns out, it’s not that difficult after all. As a matter of fact, you could actually start making one now! All you need is the drive to start a blog and the capacity to go through these five simple steps. Then, you’ll be on your way to becoming a professional and successful blogger.

Grammarly Review 2019: The Best Free Grammar Checker

Grammarly is our favorite grammar checker here at Capitalize My Title. We use the Chrome plugin all the time when we’re writing on this blog and writing emails so we wanted to share a little bit about why we love Grammarly so much. First, let’s talk a little bit about what Grammarly is.

What is Grammarly?

Grammarly is a free online grammar checker that lets you proofread articles, essays, emails, book chapters, and more for common grammar and spelling mistakes as well as typos. You can either write directly in their editor or upload documents you have written. There’s even a Google Chrome plugin that will edit documents and blog posts created outside of the Grammarly website. I used the plugin to edit this post! Hopefully this Grammarly review will convince you that Grammarly is an amazing tool.

They also offer a premium service that will uncover deeper grammatical issues and plagiarism detection.

I think you’ll agree with me when I say typos and grammar mistakes are embarrassing. Grammarly takes the guesswork out of proofreading.

Features

Grammarly has a number of unique features that make it the best grammar checker on the market:

  • Grammar checking: It has a highly effective grammar checking feature that can greatly benefit writers and bloggers. It has very high accuracy which was quite surprising coming from an automated tool.
  • Integrates seamlessly with Google Chrome: One of the best features of Grammarly is that it works flawlessly with Google Chrome. Simply install the Grammarly Chrome plugin and start letting Grammarly correct your writing across the internet.
  • Proofreading: It can be used to proofread business cover letters and academic papers. It can also be used to edit a novel or a casual email. Proofreading comes free with Grammarly unlike other proofreading tools which are available in the market.
  • Plagiarism detector: Plagiarism checking is a premium feature of the application. It can successfully check more than eight billion web pages when it is used to make documents. This is good for making data both standard and unique.
  • Suggestions for vocabulary enhancement: The application has an excellent database of vocabulary. It gives suggestions to improve the usage of vocabulary as you type. This feature is useful for people who have the habit of repeating some words when preparing documents.
  • 150 critical spelling and grammar checks: Grammarly has an algorithm that is designed to check for over 150 critical grammar checks on documents. This feature is useful for people who are victims of making many mistakes during writing. Furthermore, it has a user interface that is both responsive and very simple to use. This is because Grammarly executes when the user begins writing and provides results when writing stops.

Pros

  • Integrates into Google Chrome so you don’t need to do anything else to get feedback
  • Excellent grammar proofreading with an extensive online knowledgebase
  • Extremely useful for non-English speakers
  • Free version checks for over 100 different grammar rules (Premium does over 400)

Cons

  • Grammarly Premium costs $29.95/mo ($11.66/mo for annual plan) which some users may balk at
  • A proofreading is still necessary since Grammarly will not catch every mistake

grammarly discount banner - grammarly review

What Grammarly Checks For

Grammarly checks for three main things: grammar, spelling, and vocabulary.

  • Grammar: Grammarly checks your text for over 150 grammar rules (over 250 if you get Premium). It can check everything from subject-verb agreement to article use to modifier placement.
  • Spelling: Spell checkers have been around for a long time, but Grammarly takes spell checking to another level. Their algorithm spots erroneous use of lose/loose, affect/effect, lie/lay, there/their/they’re, and many other commonly confused words.
  • Vocabulary: In addition to the grammar and spell checking, Grammarly will also suggest synonyms that it thinks will make your writing more powerful by analyzing the content as you write.
  • Plagarism: One of Grammarly’s unique features is its ability to automatically check for plagiarism within your work so that you know immediately whether you need to include citations or redo the writing.

Is Grammarly Premium Worth It?

The Grammarly cost for a premium package is $29.95/month (or $11.66/month if you buy the annual package) which offers additional features you can’t find in the free version or the Grammarly Chrome plugin.

The features that are found in the premium version vs the free version can be seen in the table below:

FeatureFreePremium
150 critical grammar and spelling checks
250+ additional advanced grammar and spelling checksX
Vocabulary enhancement suggestionsX
Genre-specific writing style checksX
Plagiarism detector that checks more than 8 billion web pagesX

Premium customers have even seen dramatic results over the free version:

  • 99% of students see improved writing grades
  • 76% of customers find writing more enjoyable
  • 85% of customers are stronger writers

Overall, the premium version offers some great features that definitely help people become better writers.

How to Use Grammarly to Check Grammar

Using Grammarly was a breeze. All I did was go to their website and create an account. I also added the Google Chrome plugin when I registered.

Once I had an account, using Grammarly was very natural. The interface is very similar to Google Docs.

When you first log in, you can either create a new document or upload an existing one.

grammarly-dashboard

Once you have created a new document you can click on it and be taken to the editor. I used two paragraphs from one of my other sites, Viola Central, as an example:

viola-central-post

As you can see from the image above, Grammarly does a great job of capturing the key errors. While it is not 100% (it says my use of the word “viola” might be incorrect and could possibly be “villa”), it certainly works well enough.

The interface is very similar when using the Google Chrome plugin. Grammarly will check for grammar errors and typos while you type, underlining words and phrases it thinks may have issues.

Testing Grammarly

In order to show you how powerful Grammarly’s algorithms are, I have taken a sample poorly written paragraph from an English class website at Penn State University.

According to the PSU website, the paragraph has the circled four errors that were identified by human proofreaders:

psu-example-answers

Let’s see how Grammarly did:

grammarly-psu-example

Wow! Grammarly identified more errors than the human did and actually offered suggestions.

How Does Grammarly Compare with Competitors?

Grammarly vs Ginger

Grammarly’s closest competitor is Ginger Software. Like Grammarly, Ginger offers a Google Chrome and Microsoft Office plugin in addition to the online portal. They are also free. In fact, the offer plenty of options for which devices you can use Ginger on including: Windows app, iOS, Android, Chrome extension, Safari extension.

I personally prefer Grammarly’s online interface over Ginger’s. Grammarly immediately shows you the errors on the right-hand side of the screen whereas Ginger forces you to scroll over the word/phrase.

Ginger's interface requires users to hover over the word
Ginger’s interface requires users to hover over the word

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Grammarly vs Hemingway

Hemingway is another app that can be used for checking your writing. However, it does this in a different way than Grammarly. While Grammarly will point out specific grammar issues, Hemingway will focus on the bigger picture of your writing. Hemingway will give you feedback on whether sentences are hard to read and some general stats about your writing, such as how many adverbs you used, but it won’t give you much else. You are on your own to make the corrections it suggests.

We love Hemingway as a writing platform, but cannot recommend it as a good grammar checker.

hemingway app

Other Benefits of Grammarly

Grammarly boasts of providing consumers with a ton benefits including:

  • It has the potential of scanning for up to one hundred and fifty common and even advanced grammar rules. This is very good as it only shows its robustness and how thorough it is
  • It is designed to even check for plagiarism and go the extra mile to create references that it considers the text was lifted from
  • It has free online services i.e. community-driven forum, reference guide and a thesaurus
  • The application is available as a plug-in for Microsoft Word
  • The premium version contextually scans texts for typos and mistakes and proceeds to provide suggestions to improve the writing
  • It has 100% money back guarantee. This means that consumers can have their money reimburse if they are not happy with the product
  • It allows people to utilize either UK or US standards
  • Its features are customizable
  • It can be used for by schools, businesses, and individuals

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Final Words

In using Grammarly for the past month, I have come to love this grammar checker. As the example above proved, Grammarly actually performs better than a human proofreader in most cases. However, Grammarly does offer human proofreading in their Premium service at 2 cents per word for 24-hour turnaround. Hopefully this Grammarly review proved why this free grammar checker is amazing. Here’s a quick recap:

Pros

  • Integrated within your browser so you don’t need to do anything else to get feedback
  • Excellent grammar proofreading with an extensive online knowledgebase
  • Extremely useful for non-English speakers
  • Free version checks for over 100 different grammar rules (Premium does up to 250)

Cons

  • Pro version costs $29.99/mo which some users may balk at
  • A proofreading is still necessary since Grammarly will not catch every mistake

Go ahead, give Grammarly a free try and see if you don’t feel the same as me! I hope this Grammarly review has convinced you.

Best Laptops for Writers 2019

Do you need a new laptop or are you just wondering what the best laptops for writers are? You have come to the right place for any of these questions! As a website catered to writers of all kinds, we are uniquely able to tell you about the best laptops for writers. With each laptop review, we will also tell you for what writing the laptop is suited, be it for writing books, novels, notes, business proposals, etc.

Given that most writers need to be mobile, we will keep this list to only laptops, but plan to review desktops as well in the future. The following guide of best laptops for writers is geared towards full-time writers who need great writing laptops for their jobs, but anyone is welcome to read this guide.

Best Laptops for Writers 2019

LaptopProcessor | RAM | Storage
1. Lenovo IdeapadAMD | 8GB | 1TB SSD
2. Acer AspireIntel® i5 | 6GB | 1TB
3. MacBook AirIntel® i5 | 8GB | 128GB SSD
4. HP Notebook ay011nrIntel® i5 | 8GB | 1TB
5. Acer ChromebookIntel Celeron | 4GB | 32B SSD
6. Lenovo ThinkPad T470SIntel® i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD
7. ASUS ZenBookIntel® i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD
8. Dell InspironIntel® i5 | 8GB | 1TB
9. Microsoft Surface BookIntel® i5 | 8GB | 128GB SSD
10. MacBook ProIntel® i5 | 8GB | 128GB SSD

What makes the best laptop for writers?

Buying a new laptop can be a challenge if you don’t know what to look for in a laptop. Before we begin, let us define what makes a great laptop for writers. The eight key things you need to look for when buying a new laptop are below:

Recommended laptop configuration for writers:

Storage: These days, at least 250GB is ideal. If you travel a lot, you may want to look into an SSD drive upgrade

Graphics: Getting a discrete is recommended, but not necessary

RAM: Buy at least 4GB, but more than 6GB is preferred

Software: Buy Windows or Mac OSX and your preferred word processor

Processor: AMD A6/ Intel i3 OR better

Keyboard: Buying a full keyboard might be beneficial if you have to type numbers a lot, have big hands, or just prefer one. You can either get a larger laptop (heavier) or buy a lightweight USB keyboard. Also, we highly recommend getting a backlit keyboard so you can write in low light.

Weight: Choose something lightweight (less than 4lbs) if you will carry it often

1. Lenovo Ideapad

This year the Lenovo Ideapad is our favorite laptop for writers.

Lenovo is known for making quality, lightweight laptops. The Ideapad is one of their most value-driven laptops available making it perfect for the budget-conscious writer.

It comes with a 3.0GHz AMD Quad Core processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB SSD hard drive, and a DVD reader (rare these days) all for less than $400 att the time of this writing. It also has 2 USB 3.0 ports and a USB Type-C port so you know it will work with all of your accessories.

Even with all of these features, the Ideapad weighs a mere 4.85lbs and is only 0.9 inches thick, so your backpack won’t be weighed down by this laptop.

2. Acer Aspire

The Acer Aspire could be one of your best investments as a writer since it has everything you need to spend hours writing. It has a long battery life (12 hours), a backlit keyboard, and plenty of RAM and storage.

The Acer Aspire packs a 15.6 inch full-HD screen, an Intel i5 processor and 6GB of RAM. Also, the Acer includes 2GB of dedicated graphics RAM so if you are planning to do a lot of image editing, this is a great buy.

The laptop comes preinstalled with the Windows 10 operating system, but that can be customized. It also included a backlit keyboard which is great for writers who love late nights.

3. MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is the most portable laptop on this list. While it is one of the more expensive laptops, it weighs only 2.95 lbs, making it the lightest laptop on this list and a great choice for writers on-the-go. It has everything a writer needs and the Mac OS makes it extremely simple to use.

The MacBook Air features a 13.3-inch display, 8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD, and up to 12 hours of battery life. The MacBook Air doesn’t have a retina display so as to limit the amount of extra weight added from a bigger battery and graphics processor.

We recommend the MacBook Air if you want a lightweight laptop that features the Mac operating system. The asking price of ~$900 may be off-putting, but if you love the Apple ecosystem, this is the laptop for you.

4. HP Notebook ay011nr

The best laptop for writers by far is the HP Notebook ay011nr and it packs a load of features. It’s really hard to match the bang for your buck with this laptop.

This gem features a 15.6 inch full-HD screen, an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. It even has a backlit keyboard to boot. For an additional $30, you can get an SSD hard drive which will make it less prone to heating issues and will eliminate your worries about losing data from a hard drive crash.

The laptop comes preinstalled with the Windows 10 operating system, but that can be customized. The only downside to this laptop is the weight which comes in at a little under 5 lbs.

Very rarely can you get a laptop with such great features for such a great price. We highly recommend you snatch this laptop up before it’s gone since it is the best laptop for writers!

5. Acer Chromebook

The lowest priced laptop on our list, the Acer Chromebook certainly offers many of the tools writers are looking for out-of-the-box.

While it may not pack the same power as the other laptops on this list, the Chromebook doesn’t need to. It has a 14-inch screen, which is plenty for writing,  4GB of RAM, and a 1.6 GHz processor. It only has 32GB of storage, but that’s because everything it does is stored in the cloud so you never have to worry about losing files!

All Chromebooks run on Google’s proprietary Google OS which functions very much like the Google Chrome browser.

For the price of less than $250, it’s hard to beat the Google Chromebook, especially when it has all the features writers are looking for.

6. Lenovo ThinkPad T470S

One of the higher-priced laptops on this list, the Lenovo ThinkPad T470S book offers plenty of perks to make up for the price tag.

This laptop features a 14-inch touchscreen, an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB solid-state hard drive. It even has a backlit keyboard and it is very lightweight at only 2.9lbs and 0.8″. The battery will also last for your entire writing day since it boasts a 12.5-hour battery.

If you’re willing to spend a little bit more on this laptop, we’re sure that you will get your money’s worth.

7. ASUS ZenBook

One of the higher-priced laptops on our 2016 list, the Asus ZenBook book offers plenty of perks to make up for the price tag.

This laptop features a 13.3-inch multi-touch (yes, you can tap it!) screen, an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. It even has a backlit keyboard and it is the lightest laptop on this list. Obviously, the main differentiator between this laptop and the others on this list is the touchscreen. This is a huge benefit for writers who want to archive their work immediately in real-time on their laptops.

If you’re looking for a laptop on which you can handwrite notes, this is the laptop for you!

8. Dell Inspiron

Another great laptop, the Dell Inspiron has everything you’d expect from a great laptop for writers at a reasonable price.

An i5 Intel processor, 8GB RAM, 15.6 inch touchscreen, a 1TB HDD, and Windows 10 operating system. This touchscreen is cheaper than the Asus ZenBook which makes it a great buy if you are looking for a touchscreen. The wide palm area is ideal for writers as well. The 7 hours of battery life also makes this laptop a steal.

If you are a looking for a reliable, great laptop with a touchscreen this is a great laptop.

9. Microsoft Surface Book

Microsoft really knocked it out of the park when the developed the Surface Book. It is a beautiful laptop that is perfect  for writers who love touchscreens. While a lot pricier than most of the laptops on this list, it definitely makes up for it with value. We do only recommend this laptop for serious writers though due to the price.

Being a Microsoft laptop, the Surface Book comes preinstalled with Windows 10. The base model comes with 4GB RAM, a 13.5-inch PixelSense Display works perfectly with the included pen, an Intel i5 processor, 128 GB of storage, 8GB RAM, and up to 12 hours of battery life. The keyboard disconnects from the screen, allowing you to use it as a tablet as well.

The best part about this laptop is the screen. The included pen works seamlessly with the laptop, making this is the best touchscreen we have on this list. If you enjoy writing on laptops or tablets, this is the laptop for you.

10. MacBook Pro

No list of the best laptops for writers would be complete without the MacBook Pro. While we love this laptop, it is quite pricey which is why we don’t rank it higher in our list.

The MacBook Pro 13.3-Inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD, and up to 9 hours of battery life. MacBooks come with the Mac OS X Yosemite, but you can install Windows by using the Parallels program. It is also one of the lightest laptops on this list. It has a backlit keyboard for writing in low light and a spacious palm rest.

We recommend the MacBook Pro if you prefer the Mac OSX operating system environment or prefer a really great screen resolution. The asking price of $1,200 may be off-putting, but if you love the Apple ecosystem, this is the laptop for you.

What Is the Oxford Comma and Why Is It Important?

It is common knowledge that writing is fun and exciting, especially when you want to express yourself vividly. You want to write from the heart, devoid of the standards of journalism. But to some extent, you would have to write based on the conventions of grammar. One of these conventions includes the use of the Oxford comma.

A lot of people have no idea what the Oxford comma is. However, they might have unknowingly used this in the past already. In this article, we are going to be talking about the essentials of Oxford comma: from its importance to its history.

The Oxford Comma Defined

The Oxford comma, also known as the serial comma, is the final comma that is placed before a coordinating conjunction in a set of three or more objects. These coordinating conjunctions include “and” or “or.” Editors and writers have varied opinions on whether or not people should use the serial comma. Even its use also differs between and among regional varieties of English. Nevertheless, the comma has been used in various pieces throughout the ages.

Let us provide you with an example:

Sentence 1: John brought us apples, oranges and grapes.

Sentence 2: John brought us apples, oranges, and grapes.

 

If you look at the Sentence 1 above, the Oxford comma was not used. Hence, we can conclude that the two fruits namely, “oranges and grapes” are considered as one. In Sentence 2, the Oxford comma was used. This changes the whole structure of the sentence. We can safely assume that John brought three different fruits: apples, oranges, and also grapes.

You should note that the Oxford comma is optional, which means you are not required to use it. As a matter of fact, it is not a common practice in countries such as the United Kingdom, South Africa, or Australia. Although it is a standard grammar rule in the United States, it is more common when dealing with non-journalistic forms of prose.

Importance of the Oxford Comma

As we have mentioned earlier, using the serial comma or Oxford comma is entirely optional. However, the meanings of most – if not all – sentences might change drastically without it. This is one of the reasons why the Oxford comma is important.

Let us take for instance several examples presented below.

Sentence 1: Cynthia invited her two bosses, Larry and Bert.

Sentence 2: Cynthia invited her two bosses, Larry, and Bert.

With the omission of a comma, the meaning of the sentence changes completely. For the first sentence, Cynthia invited two people – her two bosses. This is because the absence of the Oxford comma makes it appear that the bosses are in fact, Larry and Bert. However, in the second sentence, Cynthia invited four people – her two bosses, Larry, and finally, we have Bert. The presence of the Oxford comma makes it appear that Larry and Bert are separate entities from the two bosses.

One of the other reasons why the Oxford comma is necessary is so that we could make our thoughts as clear as possible. When writing, the stress or pause which we intend might not be translated fully into text. This might confuse a lot of readers. Let us look at another example where this reason is evident.

Sentence 1: Dimitri drove with his best friend, a doctor and an engineer.

Sentence 2: Dimitri drove with his best friend, a doctor, and an engineer.

If we try to study the first sentence, we may conclude that Dimitri’s best friend is a doctor and an engineer at the same time. This is because the absence of the Oxford comma allows us to think that these two terms (namely, the doctor and the engineer) describe his best friend. However, if we try to add the Oxford comma after the conjunction, the whole sentence forms a new meaning. The second sentence now means that Dimitri drove with three different people – his best friend, a doctor, and also the engineer.

Here is another example where confusion might arise when the Oxford comma is absent.

Sentence 1: She dedicated her speech to her parents, Walt Whitman and God.

Sentence 2: She dedicated her speech to her parents, Walt Whitman, and God.

Basing from the first sentence, it is likely that the speech was dedicated to her parents, namely Walt Whitman and God. This might confuse readers since they could comprehend that her parents’ names are indeed Walt Whitman and God. To avoid confusion and ambiguity, the comma is essential. If we look at the second sentence, it becomes more evident – that the speech was dedicated to her parents, to Walt Whitman, and finally, to God.

To read more about common oxford comma issues and other punctuation errors, you should read Eats, Shoots & Leaves.the oxford comma

History of the Oxford Comma

Like the comma itself, the origins of the Oxford comma is also ambiguous. But before we do get to know the person who is attributed to this grammar style, we have to give credit to the person who introduced comma. An Italian painter in the 15th century, Aldus Manutius (or Aldo Manuzio as others call him) introduced the concept of the comma in order to separate things.

Horace Hart, on the other hand, is attributed to be the person who introduced the serial comma to the world. Hart is a controller of the Oxford University Press from the year 1893 to 1915. In the year 1905, he published a book entitled, “Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers,” which served as a style guide for the employers who used to work at the press. The Oxford comma was included in such rule.

There were others, however, which were attributed to being the one who introduced such concept. Peter Sutcliff credited F. Howard Collins for introducing Oxford comma. It was noted that Collins stated it in his 1912 book entitled, “Author & Printer: A Guide for Authors, Editors, Printers, Correctors of the Press, Compositors, and Typists.” Nevertheless, it was Sutcliff himself who called the Oxford comma as such in his 1978 book regarding the history of the Oxford University Press.

No matter the ambiguous history, there is one thing that is clear – the need to use the Oxford comma. Why not try using it today?

Capitalizing Names of Holidays and Holiday Terms

Holidays, whether religious, secular, or national, are proper nouns and therefore should be capitalized. This includes all national holidays when businesses are closed, such as Columbus Day, and most religious and holy days, such as Hanukkah.

The holiday capitalization rules include whether you use the short or long form of the title. For example, both New Year’s Day and New Year’s are capitalized. This also includes related “eves” such as New Year’s Eve or Halloween Eve.

If you are using the holiday in a title or headline, any proceeding adjectives that are referencing the holiday, such as “Merry Christmas,” are also capitalized.

Here’s a list of some of the msot common holidays that are capitalized:

Advent

All Saints’ Day

Australia Day

Bastille Day

Boxing Day

Canada Day

Christmas (also Christmas Day and Christmas Eve)

Coming of Age Day (Japan)

Easter

Epiphany

Father’s Day

Good Friday

Hanukkah

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holy Thursday, Holy Saturday, Holy Week

Independence Day (US) also the Fourth of July and July Fourth

Kwanzaa

Labor Day (US)

Labour Day (Canada and other nations)

Lent

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (US)

Maundy Thursday

May Day

Memorial Day

Michaelmas (the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel)

Mother’s Day

New Year’s (also New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve)

Passover

Presidents’ Day

Purim

Ramadan

Remembrance Day

Rosh Hashanah

St George’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day (also Saint or St Patrick’s Day)

Thanksgiving (also Thanksgiving Day)

the High Holy Days

Twelfth Night

Valentine’s Day

Veterans Day (no apostrophe)

Victoria Day (Canada)

Victory Day (Russia)

Yom Kippur


Do these holiday capitalization rules always hold?

No. As with any rules, there are exceptions. When written in standard text, the following should not be capitalized.

  • happy birthday
  • happy Thanksgiving
  • happy holidays
  • happy anniversary
  • season’s greetings
  • happy or merry Christmas
  • happy New Year

Active vs Passive Voice

Using active or passive voice in the construction of sentences is a characteristic that makes the English language distinct. Whether writing for formal speeches or delivering conversational messages, these two voices are often used to convey a message.

However, the proper use of these voices sometimes confuse many writers. It creates a dilemma that might be difficult to solve, especially if you lack the know-hows. In this article, we are going to differentiate active voice from passive voice. We are also going to discuss when you should use them, and why you should use each.

Active Voice and Passive Voice

Before differentiating the two, we need to identify the components that are crucial in the construction of sentences. The first component is the subject. The subject performs the action. It serves as the primary character of the sentence. The next component is the verb. The verb is the action that the subject is doing.

To further understand what subjects and verbs are, we have to take a look at some examples.

The bird is flying in the air.

In the sentence, the bird acts as the subject while flying is the verb.

Jomar sent another proposal to his client.

In the sentence, Jomar acts as the subject who does the verb, sent.

After identifying the main components of the sentence, you have to examine the relationship between the subject and the verb. You have to gauge whether the subject performs the action, or it is being performed by something else. This is where active and passive voice come in.

Fundamentally speaking, the active voice highlights the subject that performs the verb. This type of voice is apparent when the subject goes first, followed by the verb. The passive voice, on the other hand, gives emphasis to the verb or the recipient of the verb, rather than the subject. Usually, the verb comes first followed by the subject.

To further understand the difference between the two, we try to look at several examples of passive and active voice.

Example 1

Active voice: The student receives his certificate.

Passive voice: The certificate is received by the student.

In the example above, we can clearly gauge the difference between the active and the passive voice. For the active voice, we can identify that the student is the subject that does the receiving of the certificate. The passive voice, on the other hand, focuses on the certificate rather than the subject.

If we try to analyze the sentences more, we can also see that the active voice is more concise and more direct than the passive voice.

Let us take a look at another example and try to study it.

 

Example 2

Active voice: The teacher demonstrated the lesson in such a way that the students understood.

Passive voice: The lesson was demonstrated by the teacher in such a way that the students understood.

The sentences above are more complex than the examples given earlier, but it is still relatively easy to spot which among them is in active voice and passive voice. In the first sentence, the teacher is highlighted. It was also clear that the verb used was demonstrated. In the second sentence, the lesson – or the object of the sentence – is given importance. The teacher, who serves as the subject, was only stated after the verb has been stated.

There are instances when the subject cannot be identified, hence the use of passive voice is more proper. Let us take a look at this example.

Example 3

Passive voice: The flash drive was retrieved yesterday.

Active voice: Someone retrieved the flash drive yesterday.

In this sentence, we can feel a sense of mystery since it was not stated who retrieved the flash drive. If a subject is not identified, then the passive voice may be used. We cannot just say someone as the subject.

But this is not the only instance when the passive voice can be used.

Example 4

Passive voice: The bags were delivered late.

Active voice: You delivered the bags late.

In the example above, you may want to be discreet by not naming the subject of the sentence. Hence, you could use passive voice. Using active voice on the sentence only shatters your tactfulness.

Example 5

Passive voice: Her proposal has been rejected by the client because of lack of expertise.

Active voice: The client rejected her proposal because of lack of expertise.

You could also use the passive voice – like the example above – when you want to highlight the action rather than the subject. Since the term rejected is more powerful than that of the client, it should be given more emphasis.

Example 6

Passive voice: The papers should be given not later than Thursday night.

Active voice: You should give the papers not later than Thursday night.

In certain instances, you could use passive voice when you want to create a tone with authority. In the sentence above, using the active voice would just make it less authoritative.

Why Use the Active Voice

While there are many instances where passive voice is used, many writers prefer active voice rather than the passive voice because with active voice the subject of the sentence is clear. With the use of active voice when writing, your output becomes more concise and straightforward rather than all over the place. This makes your essay much easier to understand and comprehend.

In other cases, using active voice will also add impact to your sentences. Since they are shorter, your sentences become sharper and clearer, giving readers the chance to visualize what is really happening.

Example 7

Active voice: The bamboo waved as the breeze blew softly.

In the sentence above, you create a vivid image, making readers understand you better. When the sentence becomes passive, the whole imagery of the sentence becomes a blur.

In addition to this, using active voice would keep your readers interested with what they are reading. Since your output is short, they are lead to believe that they will gain more information rather than those unclear ones.

Conclusion

In writing essays, it is important that you pay attention to the voice and one of your sentences. Doing so could help you improve your performance as a writer. In addition to this, your output becomes much easier to understand, attracting more readers along the way.

Capital vs. Capitol

Capital and Capitol are one of the most frequently confused pairs of words since the distinction between the two is subtle and the words are used infrequently unless you work in finance or in the government.

Capital and Capitol are an example of homophones, words that sound the same, but have different meanings and spellings.

 

Etymology of Capital and Capitol

Let us take a close look at the words “Capital” and “Capitol”. The words “Capital” and “Capitol” both are derived from the Latin word “caput” which means “head”.

“Capital” was derived from the words “capitalis” and “capit’le” which means “of the head” and “wealth” respectively. “Capitol” was derived from the word “Capitōlium”, the well-known temple of the gods in Greek history that was located on top of Capitoline Hill.

 

Meaning of Capital

The word “capital” can mean the capital of a city, the resources (both human and financial) of a business, or the uppercase letters in a word.

Examples of the correct use of “Capital”:

1. Meaning – Capital city:

In 1853, Olympia became Washington’s capital city.

2. Meaning – Alphabet in capital/uppercase letters

The name “Bill” begins with the capital letter “B”.

3. Meaning – Capital of a business

The startup raised successfully a capital of $1 million in the first quarter itself.

4. Meaning – Extremely important

Finding a solution to the sudden outburst of the people was of capital concern.

 

Meaning of Capitol

In the U.S., “Capitol” is the name of a popular government building where the U.S. Senate and members of the congress are housed. The word “Capitol” with a capital “C” is used to address the U.S. Capitol building.

Examples of the correct use of “Capitol”:

1. The United States Congress work in the United States Capitol building in Washington.

2. The discussion was to take place at the Capitol building today.

 

 

Now you know why understanding Capital vs. Capitol is important. The words mean completely different things and you cannot use the incorrect spelling unless you wish to confuse someone.

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