Posted September 9, 2009 9:59 am by with 9 comments

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I’ve always maintained that it’s dangerous to take a single Marketing Pilgrim post and assume you understand our sentiment and bias towards any one company. If you read yesterday’s criticism of WordPress, you’d think we were “automattic” haters.

Today, you’d be eating humble pie.

Automattic has announced the acquisition of After the Deadline, a service that provides spell checking, style checking, and grammar checking. Huzzah!

While I’m somewhat puzzled that users get After the Deadline baked-in, while us .org user are left once again with just a plugin, I still applaud the acquisition. Why? Because spell checking and grammar checking are the bane of any blogger’s existence!

For example, despite my own best efforts, I’m plagued with the curse of “its” versus “it’s.” It’s not that I don’t know how to use each, it’s that sometimes my fingers move faster than my brain. Judging by a demo offered by After the Deadline, I need to install this plugin ASAP:

After the Deadline

(Note: It’s not perfect. Notice it missed “ads” when it should be “adds.”)

You can learn more about the deal via After the Deadline’s founder Raphael Mudge.

  • Hi Andy,
    AtD takes two approaches to misused word detection. It uses rules for very commonly confused words (it’s/its fall into this) and a statistical approach for 1500 other words that are sometimes mistaken for eachother. The rule-based approach is highly tuned and accurate where the statistical approach provides broad coverage. The statistical approach is tuned to only offer a suggestion if it has a 25x certainty that a suggested word is better than the current one. I do this to help avoid highlighting correctly used words.

    Thanks for the writeup.

    — Raphael
    .-= Raphael Mudge´s last blog ..After the Deadline: Acquired =-.

  • @Raphael – thanks for stopping by with additional info. I suspect there’s a fine line that you have to walk between too much and too little correction. I’m looking forward to using it!

  • Andy —

    There’s always been spell checker in WordPress — no plugin required. A red underline appears under a misspelled word and, at least in Firefox, all you have to do is right click on the word and correctly spelled options appear.

  • Yael, I think that’s a firefox thing rather than a WP Thing, but it does work fairly well. I like this new grammar checker idea, though I think it might be cumbersome to many users, so I’m actually happy that it’s a plugin rather than a built-in.
    .-= Robert´s last blog ..What is the Average Reading Speed of Americans? =-.

  • @Robert I agree with you that I’m happy it’s a plugin as I’m not a fan of grammar checkers.

  • I’ll take whatever help I can get! Even though I am constantly working on my writing skills, I have been told I have a problem with “possessives.” Between that and whatever dangling participles are — Uncle!

    Andy, you are one of the few e-mails I look forward to seeing in my inbox! Keep up the great work!
    .-= Judith´s last blog ..Have a WordPress Site? Ignore This at Your Own Peril! =-.

  • Jon Dale

    RE: (Note: It’s not perfect. Notice it missed “ads” when it should be “adds.”)

    “Ads” is an ok common abbreviation for “advertisements”, but “automattic” is wrong in any language.

  • Thanks Judith!

    @Jon – I think Automattic is a play on the founder’s name – Matt Mullenweg. 😉

  • your example of “it’s” versus the “its” After The Deadline grammar check is useful because neither spelling is incorrect. and you’re right that a blogger, like myself, would find this useful since we don’t need to spend extra minutes and hours re-reading our own work.
    .-= Busted Keys´s last blog ..7 Keys To Songwriting Freedom (Part 2 Of 2) =-.