French Grammar Resources: Antidote V.8
The French spell checker and grammar tool. 60 copies installed on computers clusters accross campus.
What is it?
Antidote is the best and the latest in software designed specifically to help students with their writing assignments by including a very complete spell checker, an on-board French dictionary, a sophisticated thesaurus as well as grammar and syntax guidelines. It goes well beyond the capacities of Microsoft French spell-check and we strongly suggest that you do not use any other tool when submitting a paper for a French class at Brown.
Where can I find it?
At Brown, Antidote is available as an application in some computer clusters.
Or if you are planning to take several classes in French, we strongly suggest that you purchase your own copy of Antidote. (http://www.druide.com/ or amazon.ca.) Remember, you are looking for Antidote HD, by Druide Informatique. You can also try to find it on the US market but make certain you have the latest version. Note that the Brown bookstore does not sell any copies.
Before you start using Antidote HD:
1. You must type your paper on a Mac or a PC in a commonly used application (Word, Text Edit, etc.). Please type the accents and make a first attempt at correcting your mistakes before trying to correct with Antidote. The information on how to type accents is available on the LRC web site: Go to "See specific information for Windows or Mac users> Input accented characters". A PDF file will download on your machine. Allow yourself enough time to write your first draft since the correction takes some time and Antidote Licences may be overused right before the deadline. Please note that you should avoid having Antidote opened for hours on your machine as we have a limited number of licences.
2. You must then move your paper to Antidote HD:
- The best way to have your paper available to you when you work on it on any computers is to use either you email account or Google docs .
- If you use Word, open your paper in Word (either Mac or PC) and look for the Antidote Icon in the toolbar or in a floating window. You can them click the check mark and Antidote will open a file.
- If you do not use Word, Find the Antidote HD application and start it. Then under Antidote, create a file and cut/paste your text in it. With this method you will lose all formatting but you reinstate it afterwards
3. After opening your document in Word or in Antidote:
The Antidote symbols will appear in green in a small toolbar window. If you cannot see it, go to View (top menu), select "View toolbar", "Antidote" and it should reappear. Follow the instructions of Antidote (do come to a training session or speak to your instructor if you experience trouble).
V Correcteur (Checker): To spell check your document.
D Dictionnaire (Dictionary): To check on words, their meaning, expressions and figures of speech, synonyms, etc.
Antidote will interactively react to any changes you make and should correct the Word document as you accept or reject changes but remember that it does not understand the meaning of the words you type. It tries to understand the grammatical relation between them. That being said, it will offer a large number of suggestions based on the structure of your sentences. Whenever you see a yellow line within a sentence this means that Antidote has stopped working on this sentence and cannot give you suggestions. You must then rework the sentence until the yellow line disappears. This process can take quite a while but if you do it correctly, you will also learn some French. All the dictionaries have been linked, so you can click on any word within Antidote and it will take you to its definition.
Antidote tools also allow you to review your text for repetitions, use of connectors, and much more. Come to a training session offered by the French department
4. Save your document frequently. Do not type for an hour without saving your document. Use a file name that you can easily remember and that won't be confused with other student’s documents (e.g., your name with a number appended to it).
5. Do not leave a copy of your paper on the machine after you have printed and saved it. Others can read it and you are responsible if someone uses your work: you would also be found responsible for plagiarism. Moreover, the machines will be frequently erased and you will lose all your work.
6. Several training sessions for new students in FREN0500, FREN0600, FREN1510 will be organized during the first few weeks of each semester, before papers are due. A teacher will be on hand to guide you through the program if it is your first time, or help you get better if you are already familiar with it. At any point during the semester, talk to your course chair if you feel you are not getting the program to work properly.
7. New tools have been added to the basic functions of Antidote. These new features allow you to scan the entire body of your text after you have corrected it and to spot repetitions, style errors, use of pronouns, etc. While at first you may find this information overwhelming, after a while, it will allow you to improve your writing style.