4 min read

Exploring the Power of AI in Language Guidance

Exploring the Power of AI in Language Guidance

In the realm of technical writing, diligent editors often assume the role of discerning critics. They meticulously dissect content crafted by fellow technical writers, engineers, or members of the product team.

AI tools, a revolutionary resource, prove invaluable for aiding in language-related decisions.

These digital marvels serve as unwavering guides, pinpointing specific grammar and style rules with remarkable precision.

While AI tools may not be the go-to choice for stirring emotional engagement, they undoubtedly excel in providing well-grounded language counsel. This solidifies their status as indispensable assets in the realm of linguistic guidance.

The Quest to Unravel AI's Linguistic Aid

The initial journey into the world of AI tools was marked by ambitious attempts to have them craft extensive SEO blog posts and other substantial pieces of content. However, more often than not, these endeavors culminated in disappointment.

AI-generated content, while technically sound, often left much to be desired.

It lacked the vibrancy and assertiveness that distinguishes human writing, appearing flat, impersonal, and, dare I say, dull. It lacked a distinctive voice, the kind that resonates with readers on a profound level.

For a deeper dive into why AI struggles to replicate the essence of human writing, attention should be turned to Laura Hartenberger's illuminating essay titled "What AI Teaches Us About Good Writing."

Hartenberger presents a compelling argument that human writers frequently veer off the beaten path of conventions and rules, injecting their unique flavor into their work. It's this deviation from the norm that establishes an emotional connection with readers, making the written word come alive.

AI's Forte: Language Advice

However, let's not write off AI tools just yet. They may not be the torchbearers of content creation, but they are, without a doubt, masters of language advice.

For technical writers, one routine task involves reviewing and editing content authored by others.

As an editor, the aim should be to provide precise and informed feedback. Instead of merely rephrasing sentences for improvement, strive to reference specific grammar or stylistic rules.

This approach resonates particularly well with engineers, who often seek clear explanations for the perceived shortcomings of their sentences. Gone are the days when vague comments like "It sounds better this way" would suffice.

Engineers are known for their inquisitive minds, and rightfully so. They demand answers like "Better for whom? According to whose standards?" Even in the days when first-year composition classes were taught in graduate school, students hungered for precise references to grammar rules.

Vague statements like "awkward construction" left them yearning for more.

Composition directors enforced a strict policy — composition instructors were required not only to identify and highlight every grammar and style error but also to reference the relevant rule from a grammar handbook.

By the end of the academic year, the grammar handbook resembled a well-worn novel, though it was far from a favorite read.

AI's Prowess in Unearthing Language Nuances

AI tools excel at identifying the nuances of specific grammar and style rules.

When they express a preference, they do so with persuasive eloquence, illuminating why one phrasing surpasses another. They adeptly highlight instances where a term might be open to interpretation, rendering it less preferable than an alternative.

In essence, they act as language virtuosos, sculpting words and sentences with surgical precision.

Practical Application of AI for Language Advice

Irrespective of one's mastery of the language, the ability to articulate and reference grammar and style rules is an invaluable asset when stepping into the role of an editor.

To initiate a language advice prompt, consider the following approach:

"As a technical editor for a documentation group, you are an expert in grammar and plain language. Provide guidance about the following usage options, indicating which is better and explaining the rule behind it. Reference grammar and style rules by name in your reasoning."

Once the stage is set with this prompt, multiple sentences with similar-sounding variations can be effortlessly pasted, and AI will swiftly determine which is superior while providing the reasoning behind it.


Worried about privacy? Fear not; specific terms can be replaced with generic ones while preserving the sentence structure.

Examples Illuminate the Path

Let's delve into illustrative examples to grasp the subtleties of language advice.

These scenarios often lack clear-cut right or wrong answers, as they don't always align with specific grammar or style rules. However, AI steps in with compelling arguments that guide the way.

In cases where both options are equally valid, AI will graciously provide that insight. It's prudent to refrain from making changes solely based on personal preferences in such instances.

Furthermore, the initial prompt explicitly instructs AI to "Reference grammar and style rules by name in your reasoning." This empowers users with a valuable terminology toolkit, enhancing their understanding of sentence mechanics. For instance:

"Click the big blue button in the upper-right corner."

"Click the big, blue button in the upper-right corner."

Do you recall the grammar rule that relates to this comma usage? It's not merely about inserting a comma; it's about elucidating that, in this context, the adjectives are coordinate adjectives rather than cumulative adjectives.

This terminology toolkit equips users with the language they need to dissect and understand sentence structures.

Embracing the Future: Google's Grammar Check

As a testament to the evolving landscape of language refinement, an update since the initial writing of this post brings us Google Search's Grammar Check feature, now available in Bard.

When confronted with a perplexing sentence, a simple "grammar check" query followed by pasting the sentence into Bard yields a detailed response. This response not only pinpoints grammar issues but also cites the related rules and suggests alterations—a powerful and convenient tool for refining language.

Putting AI Tools to Work

The allure of AI in the realm of language guidance is undeniable.

While it may not fully replicate the depth and soul of human writing, it excels as a precise and insightful language advisor. The future holds great promise as AI continues to refine its abilities, providing a valuable resource for writers, editors, and language enthusiasts alike.

So, embrace the power of AI in the linguistic journey and let it illuminate the path to eloquence and clarity in the written word."

To get ahead with your writing, connect with the Hire a Writer team. Not only do we offer professional writing services, but you can up your own linguistic game with our Writer Workshops.

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