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Google Search can now critique your grammar

Google Search can now critique your grammar

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The grammar check feature appears to have been available since at least last month, although Google warns its suggestions might not be 100 percent accurate.

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Illustration: The Verge

The next time you want a quick gut check on whether a sentence is grammatically accurate, Google Search might have the answer. 9to5Google has spotted a “grammar check” feature that will offer suggestions on whether a given phrase is grammatically accurate. For example, type “the quick brown fox jump over the lazy dog” into the search engine and Google will highlight that you probably meant “jumps” instead of “jump.” 

Although most people probably don’t care about the grammar of their search phrases, we suspect this tool is meant to be more general purpose. If one of your sentences looks off when you type it into a messaging app for example, Google’s hope seems to be that you’ll give it a check with Google Search — because anything that encourages more searches and engagement is good for business.

A support page for the feature appears to have been online for at least a couple of weeks, and in response to our question, Google spokesperson Colette Garcia says the company rolled out this feature at the end of June.

The grammar check feature joins a long list of tools that are built into Search, like its dice rolling or built-in timer features that treat Google less as a search tool and more as a general-purpose chatbox interface for summoning features.

A google search for “my field has fewer grass than my neighbor’s. grammar check”
Google Search’s grammar check feature in action.
Screenshot by Jon Porter / The Verge

“You’re likely to get a grammar check result when you include “grammar check” in your search or if Search understands that you want a grammar check,” Google’s support page for the feature reads. “​​The output provided by grammar check verifies if grammar is correct. If not, it indicates how to correct the phrase or sentence. It can also correct spelling mistakes.” Google says the feature works using “AI systems” but cautions that it “might not be 100 percent accurate, especially with partial sentences.” 

When trying a more complicated sentence, the limits of Google Search’s grammar check feature start to emerge. For example, the sentence “my field has less blades of grass than my neighbor’s,” a sentence that technically confuses the words “less” and “fewer,” didn’t generate a correction in Google Search. But “my field has fewer grass than my neighbor’s” did. Google Docs performed better; its own built-in grammar checking tool spotted the grammatical error in both sentences.

Update August 7th, 3:30PM ET: Added quote from Google confirming the feature launched in June.