If I were to type this sentence into Word 2003, and dividend taxes were gone, Word would tell me that this sentence is wrong. It would suggest that I use the indicative mood instead. Its reasoning is that I have a problem with subject-verb agreement. My use of the subjunctive in the second sentence is not an issue for obvious reasons. It doesn't actually say that I should change from the subjunctive to the indicative, but it is effectively telling writers that they are wrong if they don't do so.
I did a search on the archives of alt.usage.english. I found a post that said that this problem existed back in Word 97. I find it hard to fathom that this problem could exist for so long and Microsoft is not addressing it. What are others doing? Is it up to all users to get an add-on product for basic grammar checking? I would not want my kids to have to rely on something like this when doing a report. Is their any way we can let Microsoft know that there grammar checker does not understand basic grammar? Is there a reason that Word did not complain about my previous sentence? It's bad enough when they miss an error, but when they tell writers to introduce errors into their writing, that's pretty bad.
By the way, if I don't care about dividend taxes, Microsoft is just fine with the first sentence. Go figure.
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If I were to type this sentence into Word 2003, and dividend taxes were gone, Word would tell me that ... By the way, if I don't care about dividend taxes, Microsoft is just fine with the first sentence. Go figure.

Yes, it is up to the users, and no, there isn't anything they can do about it except learn to notice grammar mistakes or better not to make them in the first place.
There isn't any 'grammar checker' available that works. Period.

Grammar checking is hard*. A *real grammar checker, that parsed any sentence and compared its parse to a database of solecisms or prohibited forms, would be ten times bigger and slower than Word (at least) and probably couldn't run at all on anything smaller than a Sun network. At least the only decent production parser I know of doesn't. Try writing one sometime and you'll begin to see why.

The only reason people think that it ought to be an addon to Word is that they don't really know enough about grammar to understand what's entailed in 'checking' it. Of course that doesn't exculpate Microsoft for telling people that that horrible excrescence (the second thing you should turn off in Office, after the Paper Clip) is really a grammar checker. But, as is well known, they think people will believe anything.

Sorry.
-John Lawler U of Michigan Linguistics Dept
http://www.umich.edu/~jlawler/disclaimers.html
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Is their any way we can let Microsoft know that there grammar checker does not understand basic grammar?

I doubt whether there* is any way that *their spelling checker would either!

Alec McKenzie
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Is their any way we can let Microsoft know that there grammar checker does not understand basic grammar?

I doubt whether there* is any way that *their spelling checker would either!

That there is a good point.
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Spehro Pefhany

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I couldn't have put it better myself. "Check spelling as you type" alerts me to (some of) my occasional (well, okay, I'll admit it, frequent) typos, but I would never explicitly run the spelling checker (too much time wasted telling it, "Yes, yes, that's all right, go on"), and I would never allow the grammar checker near my prose!

Suzanne S. Barnhill
Microsoft MVP (Word)
Words into Type
Fairhope, Alabama USA
Word MVP FAQ site: http://word.mvps.org
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Grammar checking is hard.

Let's go shopping!
(Somebody had to say it.)
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I couldn't have put it better myself. "Check spelling as you type" alerts me to (some of) my occasional (well, ... wasted telling it, "Yes, yes, that's all right, go on"), and I would never allow the grammar checker nearmy prose!

On the whole I agree with you: but it's written for idiots, after all. But it can alert me to my typing errors, and that's good. One thing that it might, perhaps, quite easily have been written to do is alert you to when you're writing to a bottom-posting newsgroup*: in a complex thread that can screw things up badly. Though Usenet is not an insignificant part of the Internet, MS don't give it much thought: I cherish the hope, but not the expectation, that this will change.

*"Hey! (Blink, blink, squirm in a way Americans unaccountably find cute) Kinda looks like you're wriding to (line feed, tab, insert bullet) Usenet! (Wriggle) Could you use some help, here? (Insert date the wrong way round because you brushed or something) (line feed, tab, insert bullet) Summathem jerks, like, (tab) care which way up (Wink suggestively) the messages (new page, number top right, underline in red) go. (Wag tail) I could check out the sideways (tab, insert figure 2) carets (line feed, tab, insert bullet, change font to one you used on Thursday for a joke in a letter to your sister) for you if you'd like, (line feed, insert bullet, underline) and get back to you on this, huh? (Blink, flop ear, stick *** in air and wriggle, blink)"
Mike.
Is their any way we can let Microsoft know that there grammar checker does not understand basicgrammar?

I doubt whether there* is any way that *their spelling checker would either!

Did you read the sentence I had right after that? Quoting it out of context makes it look like an error.
Speaking of the spell checker, Word had a history of giving suggestions for words without trying to find out if they were already correct or not. It used to alert users about a missing apostrophe when the user used its spell checker for sentences such as this one. In all fairness, the explanation of the problem merely pointed out commonly confused words, but it's not as if the spell checker told the user to pick one from a list. It merely offered up the alternative. They finally got that fixed. I can no longer say that the cow was wearing it's glasses without getting scolded. But I have to wonder how many people made that mistake solely because Word suggested it.
If I were to type this sentence into Word 2003, and dividend taxes were gone, Word would tell me that this sentence is wrong. It would suggest that I use the indicative mood instead.

If you change the sentence to the correct "If I were to type this sentence into Word 2003, and dividend taxes were gone, Word would tell me that this sentence to be wrong," Word doesn't object, does it?
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