Ginger Software proofreads your writing, checking the spelling and grammar as you write. You download and install it- it works in Windows with Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and in Firefox and Internet Explorer.
The design is very good indeed- you just hit the F2 key and it opens, or it can appear as a small green floating button that glows red when it spots an error. If you click on the box it opens up and shows the errors with suggestions in sentence chunks, using a clear font and highlighting in red and blue. It only occupies the top part of the screen so it doesn't block your work.
The appearance and behaviour were very good, but I did not think much of it as a proofreader. It does catch some mistakes, but it is not impressive. Here are some of the things I tried:
1 It is at the table.
Suggestion: It is on the table.
2 It was taken by two man.
Suggestion: It was taken by two men.
So far, so good- I was warming to it for not going after the passive, which I think is unfairly and wrongly treated by many programs of this type.
Let's just check out how well it does handle singular and plural
3 The French are a great people.
Suggestion: The French are a great person.
Not perfect, but let's try something different.
If I am there, I would be happy.
I was curious to see whether it would suggest a first or a second conditional there, but it said nothing.
Let's try another conditional
5 If she were there, she will be happy.
Let's add a twist just to see
6 If she were there, she will be have
Suggestion: If she were there, she will be having the
Let's try something different
7 I didn't went there. I didn't gone there.
Suggestion: I didn't go there. I didn't go there.
If you right click on the suggestions, it does offer other possibilities, including haven't gone & hadn't gone, but there are no explanations of why one could be better than the other.
8 They has decided on go there last week.
Suggestion: They have decided on go there last week.
While writing this, the button has flashed red and this time it suggested They had decided on go there last week.
Let's give it some gibberish to see what happens
9 I am had going for the house on yesterday tonight when I was be happy.
Suggestion: I am going to the house on yesterday tonight when I was happy.
If they could get the insides of the program working as well as the interface, it would be a great tool, but it is a long way from that at the moment. It can do basic things, but I felt that the routines it is using are too limited for it to be very useful at the moment. It misses too many obvious errors.