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Open Source Grammar Tools

Ask Slashdot recently ran an article (or more like a question) about Open Source grammar checkers. Based on not much more than a search of Sourceforge it was claimed there was no interest in Grammar checkers. If there were any sensible answers or recommendations none of them got enough attention to rise to the top. With the next major release of Abiword on the way including basic grammar checking at least in English, I was amused quite how little research they had done. A little more research might have lead them to Abiword and all the information gathered by various abiword contributors (including myself) many years ago (despite what some misinformed people have said about recently discovering grammadoir).

Link Grammar checker:
http://www.link.cs.cmu.edu/link
A research project from Carnegie Mellon for checking English grammar. The code was available but only in 2004 was it finally release under a suitable Open Source license which Abiword could safely incorporate. Dom Lachowicz and others worked to make the link grammar checker fit in with the Abiword build system across our various platforms. Unfortunately he was unable to get in touch with the developers of the Link grammar checker to get his changes incorporated back into the original so for the time being branched off to create the Abi Link Grammar.

Gramadoir by Kevin Scannel:
http://borel.slu.edu/gramadoir.
Gramadoir is written in Perl but I won't hold that against it. Gramadoir is Irish language grammar checker first but has started to get support for many other langauges too. Kevin also did great work on Irish language spellchecking which is how I first made his acquaintance and I have been keeping an eye on his work ever since.

OpenOffice.org also has a shortlist of grammar checkers:
a http://lingucomponent.openoffice.org/grammar.html

Take a much broader definition of grammar tools then it is also worth taking a look at GNU Style and Diction. Style can help analyse your writings to improve your style which will also improve your grammar as an inevitable consequence. Diction provides the kind of word count and statistical analysis no technical write should be without and was long ago suggested as an idea candidate to become a simple extension diction plugin to Abiword (and if any developers are interested we would love you to give it a try).

If any of this interests you then you might check out the self explanatory Open Text Summarizer (OTS) as well as the more cryptically named Aiksaurus, a Thesaurus created for use with Abiword.

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June 2015

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