Appearance: NEW FACTORY SEALED, box is in bad shape
Functionality: NEW FACTORY SEALED
Similar to pictured, Proper Grammar II for the Commodore Amiga computers.
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Details from https://ftp.fau.de/aminet/docs/rview/ProperGrammarI.txt:
Proper Grammar II is a grammar checker, and much more. It helps you
make sure that your text clearly and grammatically says what you want it to
I ran Proper Grammar II on this document and corrected all the
errors, except for those in titles and proper names. Word usage is what
Proper Grammar II says it should be. The only place where I disagreed with
Proper Grammar II is that it thinks "SoftWood" should be "softwood".
Proper Grammar II requires either two floppy disks or a hard disk, at
least 1 MB of RAM, and AmigaDOS 1.3.3 or better.
MACHINE USED FOR TESTING
I tested Proper Grammar II on an Amiga 3000 with 16 MB of RAM running
Proper Grammar II has most of the features of a simple editor. This
isn't surprising -- most user actions that aren't simple commands are text
edits. The only things in the menus that would be out of place in an Amiga
text editor are the Project>Statistics and some Project>Preferences entries.
The rest of the display, however, is not much like an editor's.
The window has four areas:
o Four or five lines of text for displaying grammatical errors.
o Four or file lines of text for displaying a brief
explanation of errors.
o A row of buttons for accessing grammar functions.
o The main text area for editing the working document.
A typical session starts by Opening a document and clicking on the
Check button. Proper Grammar II then scans the document one sentence at a
time, looking for things that it thinks are confusing: grammatical errors,
misspellings, commonly misused words, and so on. While it runs, the Check
button becomes a Stop button. When Proper Grammar II finds an error, it
highlights the erroneous text in the text window, and the Check button
becomes a Continue button to click when you have dealt with that error. If
you change the sentence with the error, Proper Grammar II rechecks it,
otherwise, it continues from where it stopped.
The text that appears for an error, and the available options,
depends on the nature of the error. For most grammatical errors, there is a
short explanation of the error in the middle window. For example, an
incomplete sentence generates an explanation of what makes a complete
sentence, and what things to check. You can usually request a detailed
explanation. For an incomplete sentence, the detailed explanation includes
cases where an incomplete sentence is correct.
For spelling errors and some grammatical errors, Proper Grammar II
suggests one or more replacements. Clicking on the Replace button replaces
the highlighted text with the suggested replacement. Sometimes more
suggestions are available at the click of a button, and you can select one
of those to replace the text. For spelling errors, you can add the
misspelled word to the user dictionary.
For any error, you can ignore that error for the rest of this session
or permanently. You can also use the Project>Preferences>Rule On/Off Status
menu to bring up a list of the error classes that Proper Grammar II can
detect, and disable or enable each class. If you have disabled a specific
rule in a class, you can enable it from this requester as well.
Unfortunately, you can't selectively disable rules from this requester, only
classes of rules.
The other menu entries in Project>Preferences set aspects of Proper
Grammar II's behaviors that you won't change often:
o The definition of a paragraph during ASCII I/O.
o Whether Proper Grammar II starts on a workbench screen or a
o The kind of that custom screen Proper Grammar II starts on.
o How sensitive Proper Grammar II is to certain kinds of
The Macros menu, the only menu other than the Project and Edit menu,
is for ARexx macros. The Macros menu allows you to bring up a file requester
to run macros, and to invoke ten macros named PGMacro_1 through PGMacro_10.
Because these macros are available as the function keys F1 through F10
respectively, the menu entries aren't very useful. However, the Proper
Grammar II ARexx commands render this point moot. The ARexx commands allow
you to juggle screens and windows, get text from Proper Grammar II, and
insert text in the current project. There is no way to open a document from
ARexx, or to save one, or to build macros to coordinate Proper Grammar II
with other products.
LIKES AND DISLIKES
The major shortcoming of the product -- one that caused me to leave
it on my shelf for years -- is that it doesn't work well with ASCII files.
It insists on reformatting them, and doesn't provide any way to control that
reformatting. You must either make every sentence a separate line, with no
newlines in it, or reformat your document afterwards. This includes
deleting extraneous spaces and dealing with lines that are much too long.
Proper Grammar II insists on using fonts supplied by SoftWood, which
make it look like a DTP package doing its best to display an outline font
that will print nicely at 300 DPI. While this is acceptable in a DTP
package, it isn't in a utility like Proper Grammar II. Because of this, I
can't really use the program on my Workbench.
Proper Grammar II does not use the 2.0 features when they are
available. It can't open on a named public screen, it doesn't create a
public screen, and it doesn't create any AppIcons.
On the plus side, there is a great deal of flexibility in tailoring
what Proper Grammar II considers an error. I found it quick to learn and
use, and compliant with the Amiga User Interface Style Guide.
Proper Grammar II comes with an average manual. It guides you
through the program for simple things. However, the documentation on the
ARexx commands, like the ARexx commands themselves, is to brief to be useful.
Nothing more than a list of commands, with a short -- and often ambiguous --
description of what it does. There is no syntax or examples; you have to
figure the commands out by trial and error.
SoftWood chose to print the manual is brown on white rather than
black on white. It's not a problem, but is a bit disconcerting.
COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS
The other similar products I've used are nearly 10 years old at this
point. The UNIX diction command isn't nearly as thorough or flexible. I
could coerce the CP/M software I used into doing most of the things that
Proper Grammar II does, but it wasn't as easy to use.
I didn't find bugs so much as missing features. Suggested changes
have been sent to SoftWood, and I hope they will appear in the future.
I didn't discuss any bugs with the company, but found SoftWood to be
very prompt at upgrading Proper Grammar II to a version that worked with
Final Copy II Release 2 when I needed that.
The warranty is the usual miserable warranty that makes software
companies' lawyers happy, and users either laugh or cry. The software is
what you get, they will replace the disks if they are bad, and nothing is
Proper Grammar II is a good product. It does what it claims to do,
and makes doing it easy and fast. It is doesn't take full advantage of the
communications and user customization features of the Amiga, but that
doesn't affect the basic operation of the program. The only caveat is that
you won't want to use Proper Grammar II if the majority of your work is
ASCII text files.