I Don't Need Grammarly!

financial planning for retirement Oct 20, 2023
Photo by Clarissa Watson on Unsplash

I’ve mentioned earlier that I had an excellent public education.  My high school was one of the finest in New England, and I had the best teachers of my academic career there.  My high school was in Guilford, CT – founded 1639.  Think about it – at the time of the American revolution, Guilford was already 137 years old!  There are dozens of homes there built in the 1700's, still private residences.  

New England is a series of towns, one next to the other.  Some got big and became cities.  Unlike Miami, with its county-wide consolidated school district, in Connecticut each small town assesses its property tax and funds its own schools.  Consequently the wealthy towns like Guilford fund excellent schools.  In New Haven, with much of its downtown not even being on the tax rolls (Yale University) there are simply not resources to provide its school children with an equivalent education to that of the wealthy suburban towns. 

A few years ago I drove by my old high school, only to see that it had been torn down and replaced with a campus that would be the envy of any private school in the nation. People who move there do so for the schools, and view the high property taxes as a substitute for private school tuition.  

The Grammar Police

Some of the rules may be forgotten, but I still know what is correct usage and what isn’t.  I don’t need Grammarly, because I know my grammar.  Grammarly would slow me down.  In fact, I am a self-appointed member of the grammar police.  Exercising my authority is about the quickest way I can think of to lose friends, so I use it sparingly. 

In the Capstone course of the CFP curriculum, students had to write a financial plan, pulling together into one completed document all the segments of this plan they’d worked on during the previous six courses.  Then they had to present the plan to me, as though I were a client.  For many of my students English was a second language.  And know what?  They were the best writers, because, in order to learn English they had to learn grammar and sentence structure.  My ESOL students always impressed me – learning a difficult curriculum in a second language was no easy feat. 

The market must be huge

I’ve been pondering Grammarly since their ads have been showing up all over the place.  The marketing budget must be enormous.  Which means the potential market must also be enormous.  Which means there are an awful lot of undereducated people out there.   

As I continue this On Getting Older series, this is one of those cases where I think to myself that I’m glad I won’t be around to see the results.  We already have a generation of people who don’t understand the value of reading a book – of holding a volume, turning the pages, flipping back to review, looking up unfamiliar words.  People who can’t take a walk just for the pleasure of it – they need earbuds in.  Just how much of a crutch can AI be for people going forward?  Siri is no substitute for professional education.  Microsoft Word suggests edits and spell checks - but can MS Word distinguish between there, their, and they’re?  At some point people have to have learned things to function. 

Best to all,

--Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

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