Learning English articles

It seems I just can’t learn English articles. If I take some random online test I’ll do pretty well. These tests usually take form of isolated sentences and as such they are pretty naive, easily gamed. But how do I know if I use articles right when I’m writing, like now. My helpful brother checked some of my writings and pointed out the mistakes, after which I was like “Oh, sure, I knew that rule, how did I missed it?” Since he can’t check everything I write in English, I wondered how to learn those damn articles better.

There is nothing that could automatically check my texts, but I found another way. What if I take already proofread text, remove all articles and then try to insert my own and compare it to the original. That could work. So I went coding. And this is the result: learn-english-articles

I implemented this scenario:

  1. Load a short text from Wikipedia.
  2. Application strips articles from the text.
  3. User fills the missing articles.
  4. Program displays comparison between original and user’s text.

It took me some time to write the right algorithm to compare texts. It’s easy to just show the difference but I wanted more; I wanted to color code different errors (missing article, wrong article, surplus article) and calculate a score. I did it finally, so this is the first version: learn-english-articles

So, that was my project February 2013, part of One-project-a-month.