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I typed the sentence (a) on the site called Grammarly, and they say, “Grammarly ran hundreds of checks on your text and found no writing issues.” Are they right? I think (a) is wrong and (b) is correct.


(a) They say he is a good tennis player, but I have never seen he is playing tennis.

(b) ..., but I have never seen him playing tennis.

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Koji from Japan

I typed the sentence (a) on the site called Grammarly, and they say, “Grammarly ran hundreds of checks on your text and found no writing issues.” Are they right? [We can take their word for it that they did run the checks, and they didn't find any issues, so I suppose this is a "yes". But did they come to the correct conclusion about the sentence? No.] I think (a) is wrong [It is.] and (b) is correct. [It is.]


(a) They say he is a good tennis player, but I have never seen he is playing tennis.

(b) ..., but I have never seen him playing tennis.

These grammar checkers are based on AI technology, which depends on an enormous amount of input that "trains" the system — much more input than any of these systems have ever yet seen. So it's not surprising that I haven't found one yet that is completely accurate.

CJ

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Comments  

Your hunch is correct: (a) is wrong, in this context. However...

1) There is a construction like (a) that is correct in a different context:

I saw [that] he was playing tennis so I didn't interrupt him.

2) Some careful writers might prefer some changes to (b) too, as an improvement rather than a required correction.

Change the order of the two clauses:

I've never seen him play tennis, but they/people say he's very good at it.

Optionally, add "myself":

I've never seen him play tennis myself, but ...

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Personal comment

Grammarly is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program that attemps to improve written English sentences. Most likely, it is not quite sophisticated enough to distinguish between "see him do it/see him doing it" and "see [that] he does/did/has done it."

Please note this clue to the fact that the company is trying to get you to buy their product:

"Grammarly ran hundreds of checks on your text"

Why would their software need to run "hundreds" of checks and still misunderstand your (intermediate-level) question? Why can a native speaker's brain instantly outperform Grammerly?

By the way, I was formerly an "eikaiwa kyoushi" in Japan. Excuse my silly joke, but your name makes me think of rice.

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Koji from JapanI typed the sentence (a) on the site called Grammarly, and they say, “Grammarly ran hundreds of checks on your text and found no writing issues.” Are they right?

Grammarly is a hoax.

Koji from JapanI think (a) is wrong and (b) is correct.

They are both wrong. You are trying to say "They say he is a good tennis player, but I have never seen him play."

 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.

Thank you very much, CJ and two anonymous people.

I have used Grammarly for a few weeks and I was beginning to wonder if it’s very useful.

When I typed what I thought were clearly unnatural sentences, they were often unchecked.


Now I have an additional question.

According to the last answer, (a) is wrong and (b) is correct.


(a) I have never seen him playing.

(b) I have never seen him play.


My English-Japanese dictionary has two example sentences as grammatical ones, with additional explanations in parentheses. Is (c) wrong?


(c) We saw him walking across the street. (He was walking across the street.+We saw this.)

(d) We saw him walk across the street. (He walked across the street.+We saw this.)

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Koji from Japan(c) We saw him walking across the street. (He was walking across the street.+We saw this.)

No. You saw him, and when you did, he was walking across the street.

Koji from Japan(d) We saw him walk across the street. (He walked across the street.+We saw this.)

No. You observed him performing the action of walking across the street.

But neither of these is the same case as your tennis player. You never saw him play, meaning that you never observed his game, you never watched him play the game. If you say you never saw him playing, that only means that you never had him within your field of vision while he was engaged in tennis, which is also true but is not what you mean.

Koji from JapanI have used Grammarly for a few weeks and I was beginning to wonder if it’s very useful.

I would not pay for its service. It gives both false positives and false negatives.

I suppose it would be useful for someone who is not skilled in grammar, as it would catch the most egregious errors.

Mr./Ms. anonymous

I’m sorry I’m not sure I understood your answer.

(1) Do you mean by two ‘Noes’ that the explanations in the parentheses are incorrect?

(2) Can I say (c) means an accidental occurrence (We happened to see ...) and (d) means something like a conscious act of observing/watching? I can’t express it well but is (c) unconscious/accidental and (d) conscious/intentional?

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.

Thank you, AlpheccaStars. I think I’ll stop using it soon.

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