Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Adding Phrases to the Grammar Checker.

Adding Phrases to the Grammar Checker

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 10, 2020)

2

Sheryl wonders if it is possible to add commonly used phrases to the grammar check so that they are not flagged as errors. Word flags them as either "wordy" or using too many nouns or verbs in a row, but her job requires documents with these phrases. Sheryl notes that the solution may be to turn off the grammar check, which she'd rather not do (even though Word is not exactly the perfect arbiter of good grammar).

There is not really a good way to do this in Word. You could, if desired, modify the grammar options to exclude some of the individual settings so that some of the items aren't checked by the grammar checker. You can do this by following these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click the Proofing option at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Proofing options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Click the Settings button (you may need to scroll down to see it). Word displays the Grammar Settings dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Grammar Settings dialog box.

  6. Make the changes you want to make in the list of options.
  7. Click on OK to close the Grammar Settings dialog box.
  8. Click on OK to close the Word Options dialog box.

For the issues described by Sheryl, you'll want to pay particular attention to the following options in step 4:

  • Clichés, colloquialisms, and jargon
  • Sentence structure
  • Successive nouns (more than three)
  • Unclear phrasing
  • Wordiness

Disabling all or a combination of these options may resolve the problem. If it doesn't, then the best solution is to follow these general steps:

  1. Type a phrase that you use on a regular basis.
  2. Select the phrase, making sure not to include any spaces or punctuation after the phrase.
  3. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click the Language tool in the Language group and then click the Set Proofing Language option. (Click the Set Language tool in the Proofing group in older versions of Word.) Word displays the Language dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  5. Figure 3. The Language dialog box.

  6. Make sure the Do Not Check Spelling or Grammar check box is selected.
  7. Click OK.
  8. With the phrase still selected, press Alt+F3. Word displays the Create New Building Block dialog box. (See Figure 4.)
  9. Figure 4. The Create New Building Block dialog box.

  10. Click OK. Word creates a Building Block entry for the phrase.
  11. Delete the phrase you typed in step 1.

Now you can insert the Building Blocks in your document, as needed, and they won't be checked by the grammar checker. (Creating and using Building Blocks have been covered in other issues of WordTips.) This is a bit more work than disabling a few grammar options, but it has the added benefit of providing a standardized way of making sure your spelling and capitalization is always correct on those phrases.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8717) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adding Phrases to the Grammar Checker.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printer Name on the Status Bar

The status bar is a great place to display all sorts of information. It might not be the best place to put the name of ...

Discover More

Updating Fields in Locked Forms

Updating form fields in Word can be confusing, especially when the fields are locked in a form. This tips explains why ...

Discover More

Searching for Text that Does Not Have a Certain Format

You can easily use Find and Replace to find text that has a particular format to it. Most people don't know you can use ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Checking Up On Numbers

When do you use digits in your prose and when do you spell out the numbers? Why not let Word help you make the decision? ...

Discover More

Leading Quote Mark Generates Grammar Error

One of the mostly helpful tools that Word includes is a grammar checker. Sometimes, however, the grammar checker might ...

Discover More

Hiding Errors

If you find the green and red squiggly underlines that Word adds to your document distracting, you might want a quick way ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine more than 5?

2020-03-18 09:27:16

John Mann

julie, once you have created a building block entry, as described above - which should give you an Autotext entry, then inserting it is simply a matter of staring to type the beging of the item, and you will see a bubble help of the remainder of the text (or some of it). Press [Enter] to place the remainder of the item.

As an example: If I type "Pete" (without the quotes) a rectangular box appears just above where I was typing which has "Peter Piper picked a p..." (without the quotes), and below that the instruction to Press ENTER to enter. At that point if I press enter the result is "Peter Piper picked a peck of picled pepper corns. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper corns, where’s the peck of pickled pepper corns which Peter Piper picked."

Autotext is particularly suitable when the item to be inserted is a substantial amount of text - it could be entire paragraphs or more, or graphics, etc. Try looking up "Quick Parts" in Word's help - you will get quite a decent article without having to fo to the internet.

ALTERNATIVE METHOD

For the insertion of small amounts of text, such as the name of a group you could use AutoCorrect. Follow Allen's instrctions at the start of his tip, but at the top of the Proofing Options dialogue box, click the AutoCorrect button. You can create your own entries. As an example, if I type "ebca" (no quotes) as soon as I hit the space bar, the "ebca" is replaced with "Eastbourne Beach Community Association "

For both methods, pay some attention to the punctuation of the phrase or text you hae selected. I make sure there is a space following to ensure that when the item is inserted into my documemt it doesn't automatically move the insertion point to a new paragraph - unless that's what's wanted.


2015-04-09 11:44:27

Julie

Thanks for the tip. It's insane that Microsoft didn't include an easier way to to this (they did it for spell check).

May I suggest adding a little more about how to insert building blocks? I'd bet you have a tip about them, maybe you could include the link. It would be helpful for those who are not familiar with building blocks.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.