If you write in English very often, you likely have a grammar checker at your side. I am so grateful to Alex, Max, and Dmytro. They created a tool I use every week: a great grammar checker called Grammarly. My understanding of English has improved a lot since the day I first used it. Besides identifying my grammar mistakes, Grammarly also helps me reach clear, engaging, and impactful writing. However, if English is not your native language, as it isn't for me, you will face gaps not covered by Grammarly.
At the start of the past year, I wrote a Cover Letter to compete for a position at Basecamp - as you'll notice at the end of this post, I am a developer. Along with my text, I wanted to use a metaphor. After all, Basecamp is the "cradle" of Rails. But how to be sure that "cradle of" would express in English the same meaning this metaphor has in Portuguese (my native language)?
Another common situation was to make sure about the correct prepositions. Grammarly will tell you whether they are grammatically incorrect, but this is not enough. In the following examples, both prepositions are right: a) I am in the hospital, b) I am at the hospital. However, they have very different meanings.
As you see, metaphors and prepositions are obstacles that Grammarly can't help us to overcome. With this in mind, I started to think that a complement to English grammar checkers would be very welcome. But how to solve this? How could a software application help me to clarify the appropriate use of metaphors and prepositions? Then I noticed something curious. I was already clearing those issues by performing a manual and tedious job. I used to look for references to the terms I was unsure of in popular English publications like The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Guardian, for example. By reading them together with their contexts, I validated whether they met the intention I had in mind. Could that tedious and time-consuming job be automated? Absolutely!
That was the idea behind Typenik. I have been calling it an English Augmented Dictionary because it delivers everything a traditional dictionary does and goes further. It supports a full/partial phrase as a search term, conjugates regular/irregular verbs, and clears up the real meaning behind English expressions.
Search for references from how many sources you want.
If you're not an English native speaker and write in English frequently, try to have an English Augmented Dictionary at your side when building your next copy. Visit Typenik's website to learn more about it or start using it for free right now.