Spell Checker and Grammar Suggestions

31 Jul

To help procrastinating writers, we are launching a combo spell checker and rudimentary grammar suggestions feature for our online editor. If everything goes well, we will also port the feature to the review box.

Please note that automated tools are not substitutes for proper self proof-reading and editing. These small features we are offering are meant to help writers catch any last gaps and are not meant to be first-line defenses.


  1. New spell checker for profile, forum, and document manager. Spell checker currently supports 5 languages: English (default), Spanish, German, French, and Portuguese.
  2. New grammar suggestion feature integrated with spell checker. (English only)

Posted by on 07/31/2012 in document manager, forum


Tags: , , , ,

69 responses to “Spell Checker and Grammar Suggestions

  1. ShotgunWilly

    07/31/2012 at 2:10 am

    Well, this is a step in the right direction, now if only there was a good way to intercept all of those people who don’t care about making an effort to spellcheck and grammarcheck and still seem to think their stories are good. Those guys drive me up the wall…

    • Sekai Ishtal

      07/31/2012 at 2:35 am

      Agreed on that. A good story will have good grammar use and little to no misspells. Of course no one’s perfect no matter what some would say. Being a writer means all the time in the world improving your writing. 🙂

    • Phantom Ou

      07/31/2012 at 2:54 am

      Agreed wholeheartedly. It definitely gets exasperating.

    • ShikiKira

      07/31/2012 at 4:13 pm

      Wholeheartedly agreed. I can’t stand writers who don’t check their work. I’ve just spent the last few days arguing with someone about their grammar and spelling while teaching another author proper English. A good story can only be as good as its writing.

      If this works, I might be able to keep my IQ from dropping further.

  2. Phantom Ou

    07/31/2012 at 2:52 am

    Yes, thank you; what a productive feature. Certainly it will make the stories, that are riddled with flagrantly ignored grammatical errors, coherent to a considerable degree. Some people write with no bearing to their mistakes, and then feed their readers with the most nonsensical stuff. It fries my brain in the process of trying to comprehend the said stories. Anyway, brilliant feature.

  3. Lorraine

    07/31/2012 at 3:03 am

    This is a wonderful feature. I have a spell-checker on my computer that automatically spell-checks everything I type while on the internet, and I think it’s fantastic that this site is going to have one working in it. I hope this will cut down on the number of people making minor but irritating spelling errors, especially in forum posts.
    Thank you!

  4. Felicity Taylor

    07/31/2012 at 3:30 am

    Wow. I just tested this feature out, and I have to say, I’m impressed! I’ve always considered myself to be accurate when it comes to spell-checking, but the grammar suggestions are absolutely wonderful. I’m glad to see such great features being added to the site~!

    • alixe75

      07/31/2012 at 3:47 am

      Thank you very much to have think to not-english writer. We apreciate a lot.

  5. Guest

    07/31/2012 at 4:32 am

    Thank you, Xing. The spelling and grammar checker for the review box will be a great help. I hate finding typos when I double check to make certain my review posted. 🙂

  6. MMC

    07/31/2012 at 5:02 am

    Oh this is probably going to be an amazing feature once I use it. I know very well that when I type reviews quickly, I sometimes miss spelling mistakes after doing a quick read-over. This feature will be very handy. LOL Thanks so much!

    • mhend90

      07/31/2012 at 6:41 pm

      I know when I’m coming down from my ‘oh wow!’ high of a good story, I can barely type straight. Which makes me grateful my browser had one built in already! Haha! But yes, for those who don’t have as awesome of a internet viewer as I do, they can share my bliss 😛

  7. lord_spyridon

    07/31/2012 at 5:46 am

    The only thing I’m worried about is the fact that some fandoms have words that are not recognized by the spell checker which considers them wrong. It’s pain in the mikta when you’re writing stories like in Stargate were they’ve practically made up some words and such or even Harry Potter with all of its latin spells and such.

    Would there be way to include specialized banks for fandoms? Is it even possible due to the fact of the storage and such?

    I haven’t uploaded anything since the changes to the site since I’m still working on a couple pieces so I haven’t tried out the spell checker personally yet.

    • ALT

      07/31/2012 at 7:56 am

      Because of words that might be used that aren’t included in the usual dictionaries, spell-checkers are not considered a hundred-percent foolproof editing tool. I would suggest when using it, to look at each error and see if it’s intentional or an accident that needs to be fixed. I know I have to do this on mine quite often, as when writing from the perspective of a child I have many intentional mistakes (or when writing slang, it’s even worse!). Having spellcheckers for each fandom would become a headache, not to mention the discrepancies between interpretation, language, and translation.

      • yemi hikari

        07/31/2012 at 12:40 pm

        On top of this some of the foreign words that may be in a fandom have various spellings that are considered acceptable. For example, the captain of the tenth division’s name can be spelled Toshiro, Toushirou, or Tōshirō and still be concidered correct. Of course, there are people who feel that you have to spell it the middle way only…

    • tiquatue

      07/31/2012 at 11:05 am

      It’s true that spellcheckers are notoriously stupid, but at least on some of the word processors, you can create your own dictionary for fandom-specific words. I agree that creating specialized banks for each fandom would be a hassle. What might not be a hassle (or less of one, anyway) is a user-created dictionary. It would require that the user write the odd words correctly the first time, which might be difficult in a lot of cases.

      • mhend90

        07/31/2012 at 6:39 pm

        @Tiquatue I can see that being put into place much easier than fandom-checkers (which is what I’m dubbing them now for simplicity’s sake). I think that might actually happen later, as this becomes more fine-tuned and have the bugs worked out more. With so many changes, I’d actually them rather slow down at this point for safety’s sake x.x I hate making too many changes at once, because if something ‘breaks’ then I don’t know what change could have caused it as easily or swiftly.

      • yemi hikari

        08/02/2012 at 1:27 pm

        @mhend90 – I think that’s why we’re having major breaks between the major stuff and most of the stuff is minor updates

  8. reynard

    07/31/2012 at 5:53 am

    The site is getting better and better 🙂 Thank you for the improvement!

  9. The Imaginatrix

    07/31/2012 at 6:42 am

    I haven’t used this feature yet, but I usually proofread my work before I post it. My screen-reader is a big help there, because all I have to do is press the Say-All command and away we go. I usually pick up on my spelling errors this way. I also agree with the person who said that character names and other fandom-exclusive things might be registered as spelling errors. I have plans to write extensively for Pokemon, and the prospect of using a spell-check feature on those stories is terrifying! However, I too often find mispellings of such character-names and the like, so having them as part of the site’s dictionary would be very helpful, if it has not already been considered. Even so, I think I’ll still proofread before I post.

    • mhend90

      07/31/2012 at 8:02 am

      Like I mentioned to someone else, I don’t think having a dictionary for each fandom would be a smart move, but I do think that the way it’s set up can still be effective. If you have words that aren’t recognized, but are correctly spelled, you can simply select “ignore always” and it won’t check for it anymore.

  10. Dee

    07/31/2012 at 10:07 am

    THIS IS AWESOME. Your argument is invalid!

  11. Laura Wilson

    07/31/2012 at 10:41 am

    I am concerned about this as i have never tried it before. Where do you find it at?

  12. MyNameIsJeffNImLost

    07/31/2012 at 11:55 am

    I just use Firefox’s spellchecker. It works in the online editor and lets me add words to the custom dictionary for a fandom. Chrome has the same capabilities.

    The grammar checker is a great idea.

    For a grammar checker, it’d be nice if it separated incorrect grammar checks from style suggestions. Basic grammar checks a great for catching problems like word substitution and omission errors, which my brain often fixes when proofreading. However, one problem I’ve seen with grammar checkers is suggestions about passive voice when active voice is not possible. I’ve even seem them get confused by tense and think active voice is passive. I tried the FFnet grammar checker, and it marked “complex expressions” for correct technical terms, like warrant instead of permit. It marked some adverbs and adjectives as “redundant expressions.” Those style suggestions support a lower reading level, but aren’t really about grammar. It appears that the “ignore always” option doesn’t work. Rechecking causes the ignored expressions to be marked again.

    Providing an option to disable style checks would make the grammar checker more usable.

  13. Lexie

    07/31/2012 at 12:08 pm

    A suggestion. Please continue to be on the ball about removing the massive amount of real people stories that are continually dumped into the Misc. categories day after day. The One Direction fans/authors are getting so bad that they are actually submitting stories in categories for specific movies and such. It’s disrespectful not only to the site’s owner/moderators but to other authors and readers alike who are actually trying to find something decent to read, I myself spend more time reporting than I do actually reading for enjoyment, it’s that hard to find something good and relevant to the site because of the deep quagmire of real person fiction. It’s not just One Direction, but also American Idol contestants, Justin Bieber, Tom Hiddleston and others.

    I sent a list of violations in an email last week just because it’s too time consuming to write individual reports anymore, that’s how bad it is (and no one has acknowledged my most recent email reports yet, it’s been over a week now for one that I sent). It also doesn’t do a whole lot of good telling the authors about One Direction fan sites either, they STILL want to post on FanFiction for some reason, and it’s beyond frustrating. I don’t bother to review anymore, I just report…but then they go and repost the stories once they finally get removed. It seems to me some more permanent bans should be handed out because these little fangirls just don’t get it.

    • Lisa

      08/01/2012 at 7:18 am

      Absolutely agree.

    • anon

      08/01/2012 at 1:28 pm

      I so agree with this. If you tell these writers off, you might get people who will defend them in the reviews. The people who review are just as bad as the people who review it.

      • Ray

        08/01/2012 at 1:30 pm

        Especially MST authors

    • yemi hikari

      08/01/2012 at 4:23 pm

      “they STILL want to post on FanFiction for some reason”

      I head some of them brought up the fact not being able to write RPF and post it constitutes an infringement on both their freedom of speech and their creative rights. The site needs an announcement reinforcing that “non-historical, non-fictional” characters are not allowed. These writers also need to be reminded that RPF infringes upon the rights of the real person they are writing about and that is why it isn’t allowed.

      • Anon

        08/01/2012 at 6:13 pm

        This is what I tried to do on this blog before. The reason why I have been using “Anon” as my name on here is because I’m afraid of these One Direction people and their reviewers. They make me cussing mad.

      • yemi hikari

        08/02/2012 at 3:04 am

        @ Anon – You’re not the only one, I know a lot of people who are tired of it.

  14. yemi hikari

    07/31/2012 at 12:45 pm

    This will help out people with a learning disability who can’t always find a good Beta to work with.

    • Laura Wilson

      07/31/2012 at 3:12 pm

      That would be great 🙂 but will it also help with the other problems as well?

  15. The Imaginatrix

    07/31/2012 at 2:00 pm

    A quick question: Can you exchange images via the doc-ex system? If not, this would be a great feature to add.

    • mhend90

      07/31/2012 at 6:36 pm

      I don’t see the use in doing that; if you want to share images with someone on the site that badly, request a different means of contact.

    • yemi hikari

      08/02/2012 at 1:32 pm

      I’m guessing you’re asking for this feature because you/others can’t make their own art work and want a way that people who do in fact make the art work can easily exchange cover art without posting it to the net. The thing is, most of the people who will make custom cover art will want to post it as part of their portfolio.

  16. Anna

    07/31/2012 at 2:05 pm

    Hi hello Xing, I just posted a new story chapter, the second chapter to a story I wrote, and I have yet to see an alert for the new chapter. An alert would usually be sent out instantly, and I’d get the alert right away that my new chapter has posted. I’ve been waiting quite a while now, and have yet to see the alert. Exactly how long do we have to wait now for the alerts to reach our readers? An hour, two, three? It seems quite a bit unfair to force alerts to hold off from being sent, until some prerequisite period of time has passed. Or is the system just not working as you thought it would? Is this a bug/a glitch? Is it *supposed* to take this long to have an alert show? Please respond.

  17. Ray

    07/31/2012 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this new feature! Though can you take passive voice off of the grammar thing? It’s kind of annoying…
    Please, please, please move it to the review box!

    • mhend90

      07/31/2012 at 6:35 pm

      I do find the passive voice annoying. Though sometimes it really does help. 😀

      They mentioned they plan to, I think they’ll do it though when they work out some of the kinks that might show up, and tweak it to a more stable state.

  18. veni0vidi0vici

    07/31/2012 at 3:15 pm

    I have mixed feelings about this update. I think that this could be very useful especially if used as that one last check when editing a story.
    However, there are a few issues with forum post replies. Users with browsers like Chrome and Firefox had a spellcheck feature in-browser with forum post replies that no longer works because of this updated. They were automatic and offered a user dictionary. This was very convenient.
    I know that this “bug” (if that’s what you could call it) probably won’t be fixed because it would most likely be a pain too. I just want to say that I am hoping this feature is improved as it is convenient and helpful to a group of users, although not as much to another group.
    I’d also like to add that I love how the site is making things more convenient for people who speak different languages.
    I do have mixed feelings about this update, but I think it’s a step in the right direction. Great job and looking forward to the next improvement!

    • mhend90

      07/31/2012 at 6:34 pm

      That’s always a concern though with updates like this; browsers such as Chrome (which I use and love) and Firefox are made more ‘personalized’ than IE, which is basically a mere website viewer (though you can add things to it now, but it’s still rather meh). The built-in spellchecker will default off when detecting a new one (and I think, at least in chrome) there’s a way to change that and make my browsing spell-checker override.

      And I’m pretty sure it will improve. We get to BETA it and give feedback, like you just did, and that helps with that ‘improving’. I rather like how you actually gave details instead of saying “It sucks.” Much more useable info 😀 ~works in admin as a living~

  19. Vivia Avery F. (@Devoted2Writing)

    07/31/2012 at 3:53 pm

    Brilliant, but I have to say that having a fandom dictionary would be great. I know that in animes they can spell a name at least two different ways, but why can’t we just add in all of those names and let it go? Or would it be too much? Maybe we can suggest words like we suggest archives and characters and it adds in…

    • yemi hikari

      08/01/2012 at 4:12 pm

      There are to many fandoms and the site admins wouldn’t have time to verify whether stuff is right or not. Someone could purposefully submit a “bad spelling” and then use it to try and troll people. “But the site dictionary says it is correct…”

  20. Shawnesty

    07/31/2012 at 3:59 pm

    Great update, it’ll help me do one last run-through of my work before I hit the publish button, catching any typos I may have made. Too bad it doesn’t include capitalization fixes, there’s a writer in my fandom that simply cannot grasp the concept of hitting the shift key when starting new sentences or using proper names, and when advised several times to get a beta, she insists that using a beta to proof her work is dumping her problems onto someone else, and she wants to be big enough to fix her issues on her own. If the spell/grammar check is ported to the review box, that’s cool too, it’ll help the one nitpicky reviewer who LOVES to point out that we’ve “made a few mistakes” (without telling us what they are so we can fix them), yet her own reviews are riddled with hilarious goofs.

    • yemi hikari

      08/01/2012 at 4:09 pm

      Funny, most word programs will automatically capitalize the first sentence, known proper names the word “I” and will indicate names that aren’t actual words as misspellings so you can add them into your personal dictionary. The only reason I can think of this happening is because someone is using “notepad” and that is the worst program to use.

      I actually tend not to point out grammar issues unless they really jump out at me. Since grammar is my weak point I actually prefer the reviews that tell me what I am doing wrong grammatically rather then people complaining about my grammar. That said, I’ve also chewed out one person because they tried telling me what I was doing was improper grammar but it was actually one of the known grammar myths out there.

  21. Lamb

    07/31/2012 at 4:23 pm

    Haven’t had time to check the grammar/spell checker out. Is there one default English setting? Can you choose between British and American styles of spelling/grammar?

    • veni0vidi0vici

      07/31/2012 at 11:24 pm

      It appears to accept both British English and American English spelling-wise.

  22. Sylvie Orp

    07/31/2012 at 4:42 pm

    Are we talking English-English here, or American English (I suspect the latter). F7 in Word package works for me and shift+F7 to help me find alternative words if I repeat myself too much.
    Sylvie Orp

  23. Christine

    07/31/2012 at 5:58 pm

    This is a great feature! Thanks so much!

    One thing that’s been on my mind, though, is the issue of lyrics. I can see why it would be a problem to use a whole song in a story, but I think we should be allowed to use lyrics as long as we don’t use the entire song. Like maybe a couple of lines or a verse at the most.

    Perhaps a compromise can be reached? How do the rest of you guys feel about this?

    • ALT

      07/31/2012 at 6:28 pm

      It’s less of a compromise issue, and more of a legality issue. I very much doubt the administrators of Fictionpress or Fanfiction could care less if we wanted to use them or not, but the fact is that legally it causes problems. Do you know how much songwriters and artists make when a fiction writer uses even a small portion of their song, or even a title of a song in their story? Much more than I make at my job, that’s for sure!

      Most authours don’t care about fanfiction (and those who do have their works and names listed on the do-not-write list under the posting terms and guidelines), but many songwriters and singers are much more stingy.

      Besides, if I can write my own story, I can throw together a couple lines of tuneless lyrics!

      • MMC

        07/31/2012 at 6:46 pm

        You do bring up some valid points. Out of curiosity, what about translyrics; as in lyrics that were translated from one language to another? Would it have the same effect on the FFN rule since you aren’t really copying the lyrics word for word, but merely translating a particular line into a language you understand? Although the translations aim to get the same meaning out of the original language, it isn’t exactly ‘word for word’ as, in some cases, one word in one language translates to a variety of other words in another. The paraphrasing of the lyrics in another language could just barely touch that song lyric rule right?

      • ALT

        07/31/2012 at 7:04 pm

        Here is what one article on copyright laws and the Fair Use act had to say, specifically aimed at the use of lyrics:

        “The fair use doctrine protects the market for the source work. A significant overlap in market between the source work and the new use weighs against fair use. Substantial differences in market weigh in favor of fair use…The major music licensing agencies conveniently ignore this factor, asserting that one can never quote song lyrics without permission. It is fairly clear, though, that quoting or adapting a limited part of a song lyric in a piece of fiction cannot possibly harm the market for the song, even when the quotation or adaptation harshly criticizes the source lyric. I have not found any decision holding that quoting two lines or less (not containing the song’s title or last line) was infringement instead of fair use.”

        So while a couple lines might be okay, it’s still risky.

        MMC, I don’t know about translation. It might still be an infringement, as even publishers who wish to translate a book into a different language still need the permissions of the owner.

      • yemi hikari

        07/31/2012 at 10:30 pm

        Translations also fall under copyright and some translations can in fact have a copyright longer then the original work.

  24. krashkart

    07/31/2012 at 6:56 pm

    Not bad. it made a couple of good recommendations but it needs a bit of fine tuning. Hyphens seem to confuse it I had a sentence that included the following ‘…non-lethal but rather less-lethal….’ It bought off on non-lethal but it decided less-lethal was two words ‘less’ and a misspelled ‘lethal’ I can understand if it called non-lethal as an entirety incorrect but It thought the “-‘ was a letter.

  25. myrddinlefay

    07/31/2012 at 8:00 pm

    I HATE this new spell check thing. It completely bypasses Chrome’s check as you type, and its spellchecker. Then I can’t click in a red lined word without it bringing up the choices, and some times might have none if I accentually put a ;/.,'[-= inside a word etc. I liked typing and having the red line as I go. Its useless and annoying in the forums. Leave it for the story box edit thing only.

  26. Ray

    07/31/2012 at 10:35 pm

    What I do not get is why we can’t put any lyrics in. (Is it okay if we wrote the song ourselves?) According to my tech teacher, for educational uses (which includes FanFiction and FictionPress as it improves our writing skills), you can have up to 30 percent or so of copyright material without it being considered piracy. I don’t know it that’s a fact or what, but…

    • ALT

      07/31/2012 at 10:39 pm

      The reason for there being no lyrics allowed is mainly due to copyright laws. Lyrics are one of the few media sources that have higher infringement policies than any other such media. And if you write the song yourself, there’s no problem; the problem is when lyrics from commercial sources are inserted. Your own writing is just that: yours!

      You can have up to 30 percent, if it is sourced and quoted properly. Any more than that can become plagiarism, and even then they recommend using less. This is more for essay and non-fictional writings, not so much for creative.

      • Guest

        08/01/2012 at 4:08 am

        ALT hit the nail on the head. The music industry has been tenacious in their pursuit of copyright and alleged copyright violations.

        In the United States, the RIAA has sent cease-and-desist letters to file sharing services and users. They successfully sued Napster and shut the service down. Individual citizens have been sued and ordered to pay up.

        I understand why FFN has a strict policy against song-fics and using lyrics. I don’t understand why authors are so adamant they need to use lyrics. If you absolutely must use them, be creative and write your own songs.

        As for the 30 percent law, I won’t touch that. FFN is a privately owned website and they are free to set and enforce the rules. And as ALT already mentioned, fanfic isn’t for educational purposes.

      • yemi hikari

        08/01/2012 at 3:56 pm

        For the purposes of creative writing the amount you are quoting is far less then thirty percent. I know that a writer can use cited quotations at the very beginning of a work to set context or indicate inspiration, but you can also only use one to two lines at most. You can also have a character quote lines when the character is bringing context to an actual situation, like Beast from the original X-Men cartoon, but again.., it is only a couple of lines. This is because it is considered homage to the original writer. Rule of thumb I was told was one-hundred lines of text per line of homage if not more. That’s one-percent or less for creative writing.

      • ALT

        08/01/2012 at 3:58 pm

        @Yemi Very true, it’s much less for creative writing. The 30% is more for academic essays, and even then they frown if you go too close to that number.

      • yemi hikari

        08/01/2012 at 4:04 pm

        I’ll also add that the 1:100 ratio doesn’t mean you can quote an entire song that is fifty lines and have 5,000 lines of your own text and it doesn’t mean you can take fifteen lines of the song and have 1,500 lines of text. You’re only allowed one to two line and most and it HAS to be in context of what is going on for it to be considered fair use when it comes to creative writing. Which means you can’t slap random quotes in that have no meaning to the story what so ever.

    • ALT

      07/31/2012 at 10:42 pm

      Also as a note, these sites and fictional writings do not count as an educational use; many people do not write for educational purposes, they write for entertainment or personal reasons. While they might improve their technique through publishing on these sites, it is not the overall goal for their existence.

  27. Christine

    08/01/2012 at 3:53 pm

    So, I have a suggestion for the spellcheck feature. I’ve tried it out and I still think it’s a great feature, but I personally prefer using Firecheck’s built-in spellchecker (and I know there are other people who prefer it as well, based on some of the comments).

    The spellcheck/grammar feature gives us the option to disable the grammar check, so why not give us the option to disable the spellcheck as well? That way we can choose if we want to use the spellcheck feature or stick to Firefox/Chrome’s built-in checker.

  28. dgp13

    08/01/2012 at 4:21 pm

    Reblogged this on Hablo Fangirl and commented:
    Para quien no entienda inglés , esta entrada del blog de FF.NET habla de que afortunadamente ya esta integrado el autocorrector. Para esas personas medio huevonas o que de plano son malos para la ortografía, aquí esta la solución. Sin embargo, se sigue recomendando que chequen sus escritos antes de subirlos, pues el autocorrector no puede hacer todo el trabajo ¿o si?

  29. carinims01

    08/03/2012 at 3:01 am

    Very good idea!! I always seem to miss the littlest things in my story!

  30. monbade

    08/06/2012 at 10:51 am

    dont like the grammer./spelling checker. I use whitesmoke which is a million times better. This one kept trying to change my words for poor substitute or the wrong word for what i wanted.

  31. ConayUK

    08/20/2012 at 5:15 pm

    You list ‘English’, but there are many different variations of English.

    Coming from the United Kingdom, is going to tell me that my British English spelling is incorrect and tell me to replace it with American English?

    • Xing

      08/23/2012 at 11:42 pm

      Don’t assume what you haven’t tried. Try it. We support American, British, and Canadian variations of words.

  32. Glen Bieber

    09/02/2012 at 5:30 pm

    Here’s a feature I would like to see in the Doc Manager. Font size button in the editor. Say for example you have written your story in a size of 12 but in the online editor the size is 8 or 9 in size, you would like to have the option to change the size of the font back to what you want.

    • ALT

      01/09/2013 at 11:54 am

      That doesn’t make sense though; the reader can make text larger or smaller depending on their personal preferences. While editing can be done in the Doc Manager, you should be making sure it’s ready to be uploaded and readable by the time you reach the Doc Editor.


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