Select grammar and writing style options in Word 2016 for Mac

This article explains the grammar and writing style options that you can choose in Word 2016 for Mac.

Note: When accessing the Word > Preferences > Spelling & Grammar> Writing Style menu option in Word 2016 for Mac, Grammar & Style is missing. Grammar & Style option is replaced by Grammar & more. The style options and Grammar & more settings are available only if you haveOffice 365 Subscription

For general information about checking spelling and grammar, see Check spelling and grammar in Office 2016 for Mac, and for information about setting spelling, grammar, and AutoCorrect options, see Choose how spell check and grammar check work in Word 2016 for Mac.

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

  1. On the Word menu, click Preferences.

  2. In Word Preferences, click Spelling & Grammar.

    Click Spelling & Grammar to change settings for checking spelling and grammar.
  3. The Writing style 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 writing style option is set to Grammar & more and have Wordiness and Nominalizations style options selected.

  4. Choose Settings.

    Word displays the Grammar Settings dialog box, where you can select or clear the categories of issues that Word checks for.

    In Grammar Settings, select the categories of issues that Word checks for.

  • 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    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.

  • Comma Splice 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 Phrase     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.

  • Comma After Greetings  targets missing commas after a greeting phrase. Example: Dear Sir or Madam I read your letter, and I like your suggestions. would be corrected to Dear Sir or Madam, I read your letter, and I like your suggestions.

  • Comma Before Quotations targets missing commas after quotations. If you are quoting a selection longer than a single word, insert a comma in front of the quoted text. Example: He arrived and announced "The party will be tomorrow night." would be corrected to He arrived and announced, "The party will be tomorrow night."

  • Date Formatting targets incorrectly formatted date expressions. Dates should be written with commas separating the day of the week from the month, and the day from the year. A comma should not be placed between the month and year. Example: I went to Paris on June 4 1986. would be corrected to I went to Paris on June 4, 1986. Example: The new policy comes into effect in October, 2016. would be corrected to The new policy comes into effect in October 2016.

  • 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. 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 teh 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 its job, we're happy would be corrected to As long as its doing it’s 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 would 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 spelling and grammar features, please post them here.

See also

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