Add One More App That Quantifies What I Do with My Life

About four months ago I started using Grammarly, an artificial intelligence powered program that helps people communicate more effectively. Its algorithms flag potential issues in the text and suggest context-specific corrections for grammar, spelling, wordiness, style, punctuation, and even plagiarism. Grammarly explains the reasoning behind each correction, so you can make an informed decision about whether, and how, to correct an issue.

I’ve found it quite useful for writing my blog, highlighting potential errors and offering possible corrections. With just a simple click, it fixes the problem. I’d say it’s reduced 90% of the errors that appear in my blog posts.

In addition to the real-time feedback, Grammarly also sends out a weekly Insights email that summarizes your writing for the week.

The insights focus on a few key areas:

  • Productivity – measures your total word count for the week and how you compared to all Grammarly users.
  • Mastery – analyzes how many (or how few) mistakes you corrected with Grammarly as it relates to total words written. The fewer mistakes you need to correct with Grammarly, the more accurately you write. You can also see how well you did compared to all Grammarly users.
  • Vocabulary – examines your lexicon and word usage. This section will show you how many unique words you’ve written throughout the prior week. The percentage shown lets you know how dynamic—meaning, how varied and diverse—your vocabulary is relative to Grammarly users.

The report also lets you know what your top three mistakes were for the week.

Here are my most recent results:

My interpretation of the results is that Grammarly is the kind of tool I need. It doesn’t directly help with productivity or vocabulary, which I view as more directly under my control. ANd the results seem to indicate that I am doing OK with those metrics.

But where I need help, and this is exactly what Grammarly is for, is in terms of “mastery”, the number of mistakes I make. And as you can see, I make a lot of mistakes, particularly with commas.  (side note – I don’t know what a comma splice is). I’ve noticed that I get a lot of suggestions from Grammarly to get rid of commas I’ve used in my writing, and I generally heed the advice. I try to write like I imagine it should sound as if I am saying the words out loud; maybe that’s not the right way to write.

I’ve also noticed that I tend to make the same type of mistakes over and over. I guess that may be a sign that my writing is not getting any better, or perhaps I’ve tried to focus more on my actual thoughts while writing, and rely on Grammarly to help me fix things when I’m done.

Grammarly also gamifies things a bit, by letting you know when you have earned “achievement badges”. At this point, I have earned the following badges:

So now along with my blog stats, my exercise stats, and multiple biometric stats, I can add my grammar stats to my quantified self.

As you can tell, it’s all about the numbers…


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