Select grammar and writing style options in Office 2016

This article explains the grammar and writing style options that you can choose in the Grammar Settings dialog box for Word 2016 and Outlook 2016.

Note: October 2016: All Office 2016 users have access to the Grammar option described in this topic. In addition, if you have an Office 365 Subscription and have Version 1609 (Build 7369.2024) or later installed, you can use Grammar & more to flag writing and style issues. To see and use Grammar & more, your proofing language must be set to English. In the upcoming months, we’ll add support for additional proofing languages.

For information on grammar and style settings for earlier versions of Office, see Select grammar and writing style options in Office 2013 and earlier.

Note:  If you are choosing options for text that's written in a language other than your language version of Word and Outlook, the options might vary.

Outlook

  1. Create or open an item.

  2. Click the File tab, and then click Options.

  3. Click Mail, and then click Editor Options.

  4. Click Proofing.

  5. Under When correcting spelling in Outlook, selectSettings.

    The Writing style menu has two options Grammar and Grammar & more. You can choose either option depending on which settings you want apply to your email.

    Tip: By default the editor proofing options are set to Grammar & more and have Wordiness and Nominalizations style options selected.

Word

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Options.

  2. Click Proofing.

  3. Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, click Settings.

    The Writing style menu has two options Grammar and Grammar & more. You can choose either option depending on which settings you want apply to your document.

    Tip: By default the editor proofing options are set to Grammar & more and have Wordiness and Nominalizations style options selected.

    Grammar & More Dialog
  4. Choose Grammar & more option from the drop down if you'd like to have suggestions for style

    Scroll down to see all of the options available, and select or clear any rules that you want the grammar checker to flag or ignore. Any changes that you make to these settings apply to all the documents or items that you edit, not just the current document you are working in.

    Tip: If you want to go back to the default editor proofing settings, choose Reset All

  • Missing space before punctuation    Highlights the absence of a space expected before a punctuation mark. The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language. When one space is expected before a particular punctuation mark, but none is found, this rule suggests adding a space. Example: They were(about to leave) would be corrected to They were (about to leave). The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language.

  • Unexpected space before punctuation    Highlights the occurrence of an unexpected space before a punctuation mark. The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language. When no spaces are expected before a particular punctuation mark, but one is found, this rule suggests removing it. Example: Mary , still wondering about the photos would be corrected to Mary, still wondering about the photos.

  • Unexpected space before and missing space after punctuation    Highlights the occurrence of an unexpected space before a punctuation mark and the absence of a space expected before a punctuation mark. When there is an unexpected space before a punctuation mark and a missing space after it, this rule suggests removing the unexpected space and suggests inserting the missing space. Example: Mary ,still wondering about the photos would be corrected to Mary, still wondering about the photos.

  • Missing space after punctuation    Highlights the absence of a space expected after a punctuation mark. The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language. When a space is expected after a particular punctuation mark, but none is found, this rule suggests adding a space. Example: He was up all night,and asleep all day would be corrected to He was up all night, and asleep all day.

  • Unexpected space after punctuation    Highlights the occurrence of an unexpected space after a punctuation mark. The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language. When no spaces are expected after a particular punctuation mark, but one is found, this rule suggests removing it. Example: There are ( brackets) would be corrected to There are (brackets).

  • Unexpected space between words    Highlights the occurrence of an unexpected space between words This rule detects two spaces between words of a sentence, or between punctuation and words within a sentence. Example: The final date is November 18th would be corrected to The final date (is November) 18th.

  • Punctuation marks in succession   Highlights the occurrence of an unexpected space between words. The rule will detect two or more successive punctuation marks that are either identical or different. Example: Mary,, still wondering about the photos would be corrected to Mary, still wondering about the photos. The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language.

  • Semicolon Use    Targets the use of a semicolon instead of a comma in two related but independent clauses that are not joined by a coordinating conjunction such as "and" or "but". Example: They don't have a discussion board, the website isn't big enough for one yet would be corrected to They don't have a discussion board; the website isn't big enough for one yet.

  • Comma Use    Targets a missing comma in front of an independent clause if the sentence begins with a conjunction "if" Example: If you're like me you've already seen this movie would be corrected to If you're like me, you've already seen this movie.

  • Comma After Introductory Phrases     Targets a missing comma after short introductory phrases such as "however" or "for example" before an independent clause that follows. Example: First of all we must make sure the power is off would be corrected to First of all, we must make sure the power is off .

  • Adjective Used Instead of Adverb    targets the use of “real” vs. “really”. “Real” is used to modify a noun, “really” to modify a verb. Example: He is driving real carefully would be corrected to He is driving really carefully.

  • Agreement with Noun Phrases     targets number agreement within noun phrases to make sure the words within a single noun phrase agree in number (singular or plural). Example: I would like to buy this apples could be corrected to I would like to buy these apples or I would like to buy this apple.

  • Capitalization    targets words with incorrect capitalization. Articles, short prepositions, and conjunctions that should be in lower case within titles. The first word in title is capitalized. Example: "Of Mice And Men" is a novel would be corrected to "Of Mice and Men" is a novel.

  • Commonly Confused Words    targets words that require special attention because they sound similar and may have related meanings. They often represent different parts of speech (word classes) and have different spellings. It also targets the incorrect use of “of” rather than "have" in constructions with modal auxiliaries. Use "have" rather than "of" in constructions with modal auxiliaries such as could, can't, may, and will (i.e., verbs that express likelihood, ability, permission, obligation). Example: Could you please advice me? would be corrected to Could you please advise me?I could of known that. would be corrected to I could have known that.

  • Comparative Use    targets the use of "more" and "most" with adjectives without comparatives. Don't use comparatives like more, most, less, or least with comparative adjectives. Example: This is more bigger than I thought would be corrected to This is bigger than I thought.

  • Hyphenation    suggests a hyphen to link modifying words if a noun modifier consists of more than one word. Example: Our five year old son is learning to read would be corrected to Our five-year-old son is learning to read. Are to be is corrected to should be. This rule also covers numerals "twenty-one" through "ninety-nine".

  • Incorrect Verb Form after Auxiliary    Targets an incorrect verb form after an auxiliary verb. Use the correct verb form after an auxiliary verb (verbs that describe a person, number, mood, tense, etc). Example: They had ate by the time she arrived would be corrected to They had eaten by the time she arrived.

  • Indefinite Article    Targets the use of "a" before a word beginning with a consonant sound and "an" before a word beginning with a vowel sound. Example: We waited for at least a hour would be corrected to We waited for at least an hour.

  • Possessives and Plural Forms    Targets the incorrect use of Possessive and Plural forms. Possessive nouns require an apostrophe. The possessive pronoun "its" does not; the form "it's" is always a contraction of “it is” (or “it has”). Example: As long as its doing it's job, we're happy would be corrected to As long as it's doing its job, we're happy.

  • Question Mark Missing    Targets a missing question mark at the end of an interrogative sentence. Write a question mark at the end of any sentence that asks a question (interrogative sentence). Example: How many cats does he have. would be corrected to How many cats does he have?

  • Subject Verb Agreement    targets number agreement between subject and verb. The subject and verb should agree in number. They should either both be singular, or both be plural. Example: The teacher want to see him would be corrected to The teacher wants to see him.

  • Too Many Determiners    targets certain determiners (articles, possessive pronouns, and demonstratives) that shouldn't be combined. Example: I gave her a the carrot could be corrected to I gave her a carrot.

  • Complex words     Targets complex and abstract words, and suggests using a simpler word to present a clear message and a more approachable tone. Example: The magnitude of the problem is far beyond the scope of humanitarian aid. Magnitude would be corrected to size.

  • Double Negation    Targets the ambiguous use of negations. The use of two negative words may be interpreted as indicating a positive. To avoid confusion, do not use double negation. Example: I did not see nothing. It is corrected to I did not see anything.

  • Jargon    Targets jargon, technical terminology, or abbreviations which may confuse readers. Consider using more common language that is likely to be understood by everyone. Example: The company hired a well-known headhunting firm. Headhunting is corrected to recruiting

  • Nominalizations    Targets phrases relying on many nouns which need extra words to introduce them. Consider using a single verb instead of nouns, where possible. Example: The trade union is holding negotiations with the employers. Here holding negotiations is corrected to negotiating.

  • Passive voice with Known Actor    Targets passive voice sentences with a known actor, i.e. a known subject. Use active voice whenever possible to be more concise and avoid possible confusion. Example: The dog was seen by the man. This will be corrected to The man saw the dog.

  • Passive Voice with Unknown Actor    Targets passive voice sentences with an unknown actor, i.e. an unknown subject. Use active voice whenever possible to be more concise and avoid possible confusion. (In most cases this rule won’t be able to offer a correction suggestion because the subject is unknown.) Example: The house was built on a hill. This will show [No Suggestion available]

  • Wordiness    Targets redundant and needless words. Eliminating redundant or unnecessary words often improves readability.  Example: Her backpack was large in size. Large in size is corrected to large.

  • Words Expressing Uncertainty    Targets words that express uncertainty or lessen the impact of a statement. Example: They largely decorated the kitchen with old bottles. The phrase largely decorated is replaced by decorated only.

  • Words in Split infinitives (more than one)    Targets multiple adverbs between "to" and a verb. Using multiple adverbs between "to" and a verb in can create an awkward or unclear sentence. Example: He tried to firmly but politely decline the offer. This is corrected to decline the offer firmly but politely.

  • Gender-Specific Language    Targets gendered language which may be perceived as excluding, dismissive, or stereotyping. Consider using gender-inclusive language. Example: We need more policemen to maintain public safety. Policemen is corrected to police officers.

  • Clichés    Targets overused and predictable words or phrases and suggests to replace them with an alternative phrase. Example: Institutions seem caught between a rock and a hard place.The phrase between a rock and a hard place would be corrected to in a difficult situation.

  • Contractions    Targets contractions (e.g., let's, we've, can't) which should be avoided in formal writing, such as in legal documents. Example: The animal won't be authorized to be out of the bag during the flight. Won't will be corrected to will not.

  • Informal Language    Targets informal words and phrases which are more appropriate for familiar, conversational settings. Please consider using more formal language. Example: Our atmosphere includes comfy massage chairs. Here comfy is corrected to comfortable.

  • Slang    Targets regional expressions or slang terms which may not be understood by a general audience, and should therefore be avoided in formal writing. Consider using more standard expressions. Example: My cat barfed all over my homework last night. Barfed is corrected to vomited.

  • Oxford Comma    Targets a missing comma after the second-to-last item in a list. When listing items, you can avoid confusion by using a comma before the second-to-last item. Whether you choose to use the Oxford comma or not, always be consistent.

    Example: The red, yellow and green peppers are fresh. Here a comma is added after yellow.

  • Punctuation Required with Quotes    Targets inconsistent use of quotation marks with punctuation marks. Quotation marks can be placed inside or outside of punctuation marks. Place quotes in the same manner throughout your text to improve readability. Example for punctuation inside quotes: He told me, “I don't like scary movies”. This is corrected to movies.” Example for punctuation outside quotes: The woman said, “I just got home from vacation.” This is corrected to vacation”.

  • Spaces Between Sentences    Targets inconsistent use of spaces between sentences. Use the same number of spaces between sentences to improve readability. Choose either one or two spaces, then be consistent. Example for one space between sentences: We came. We saw. We conquered. We came. We saw. We conquered. The space between the sentences is adjusted to one.

To restore the settings to their default states, in the Grammar Settings dialog box, click Reset All.

If you have feedback or suggestions about the editor proofing features, please post them here.

See also

Select grammar and writing style options in Office 2013 and earlier

Choose how spell check and grammar check work in Word 2016 for Mac

Check spelling and grammar in Office 2010 and later

Check spelling and grammar in Office 2007

Check spelling and grammar in Office 2016 for Mac

Share Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Email Email

Was this information helpful?

Great! Any other feedback?

How can we improve it?

Thank you for your feedback!

×