As a professional trainer, I understand the value that a human editor can bring to the table, But however, I continue to use Grammarly to proofread everything I post on this blog. I already have a good grasp on grammar and English rules, but it's amazing how typos and minor errors can creep into anyone's writing.
So, what exactly is Grammarly? Is it worthwhile? Can it take the place of a human proofreader or editor?
In my Grammarly review, I answer these questions and more.
This is a lengthy review because I wanted to be as thorough as possible. If you're short on time, use the table of contents to skip to the sections that are most interesting to you.
Please keep in mind that this article contains affiliate links, which means we earn a small commission if you decide to sign up for Grammarly. This, however, did not prevent me from sharing both the good and the bad.
- Overview of Grammarly
- Is it really necessary to use a grammar checker?
- The three main reasons I always recommend Grammarly
- Grammarly can be used in five different ways.
- What is Grammarly's cost?
- Grammarly is available for free.
- What you get with the free version
- What are the immediate advantages of using Grammarly?
- Grammarly Premium review
- Is Grammarly Premium worth the money?
- How can it be made better?
- Grammarly's performance in comparison to a human editor
- Grammarly vs. competitors
- Is Grammarly secure?
- Remember this.
- Is Grammarly worth it, in my opinion?
Overview of Grammarly
Grammarly is probably familiar to anyone who writes online. It is the most popular spelling and grammar checker on the internet, with over 10 million daily active users.
So, what's the big deal? What exactly does Grammarly do?
Here’s how it works:
Grammarly examines a piece of text you've written for errors. The free version covers the fundamentals (grammar, punctuation, and spelling), whereas the premium version goes a step further by providing stylistic and best-writing-practice suggestions.
It can mean the difference between producing something clear and compelling and producing something sloppy and unprofessional.
|Feature||What it does||The “extra” Grammarly touch|
|Grammar and Punctuation||It identifies basic and advanced grammar and punctuation errors such as alliteration, comma splices, run-on sentences, fragments, and many others.||If you're not sure why a mistake is a mistake, Grammarly will explain it to you. It provides you with a brief and simple lesson.|
|Spell Check||It looks for spelling mistakes in every word of your writing.||Grammarly's spell check is more comprehensive and robust than the average Microsoft Word spell checker, and it has first-rate accuracy, possibly the best available.|
|Plagiarism||It can scan your entire document for instances of intentional or unintentional plagiarism.||Because not all cases of plagiarism are intentional, using a tool like Grammarly to check your documents for plagiarism before publishing anything online is essential.|
|Writing Style||It adds a “near human” touch to your writing by providing tips, suggestions, and advice.||Grammarly's most underappreciated feature. It assists you with sentence length, overall readability, and other useful tips for improving your writing. This is exactly what you need to become a better writer.|
Grammarly can help you improve your emails, social media posts, blogs, and formal papers regardless of the type of writing you do-professional, casual, or hobby.
However, I believe the following people will benefit the most from using Grammarly:
- copywriters, content creators, and marketers.
- professionals and business writers who need to create an accurate report, presentation, or email.
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Is it really necessary to use a grammar checker?
Listen, I'm not the type of guy who goes around correcting other people's writing (unsolicited, of course).
But, as an editor, I understand the importance of writing clearly and accurately. Grammar can be thought of as an old-fashioned convention in this day and age of “chat speak,” emojis, and short-form content. However, there is a significant difference between good and bad grammar.
- Your message is extremely crucial. If your message isn't clear, your readers will struggle to understand the point you're attempting to make in any type of writing, from blogs to tweets.
- Your writing personifies you. Your writing conveys a sense of who you are to the reader; why risk coming across negatively due to grammar errors when this could be easily avoided?
- You've got nothing to lose. Using a grammar checker improves the overall quality of your writing. It takes very little time, helps and improves your writing, and ensures that you reach your audience with the appropriate style and tone.
As a result, using an effective online grammar checker is an excellent way for writers to ensure that their work is clear and error-free. Grammarly, while excellent, is not without flaws.
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In this Grammarly review, I'll go over some of its benefits and drawbacks, as well as how to get the most out of it.
The three main reasons I always recommend Grammarly
Let's begin with the benefits, and why I always recommend Grammarly to my friends and family.
1. You do not need to be a computer genius.
Even in 2019, some people still squirm when they hear the word “software” (there's a reason we've switched to the word “app”).
Most of us simply do not want to deal with anything extra and would rather stick to what we already know than incorporate something new into our routines.
I completely understand, but Grammarly isn't like most other software. Grammarly, as complex and advanced as it can be, has an incredibly simple user interface and user experience. You could teach it to your grandparents in an hour and they'd be using it.
Grammarly can be used in a variety of ways (discussed further below), including:
- The browser add-on
- Grammarly is a web-based tool.
- The downloadable desktop application
- Add-in for Microsoft Word
- The mobile application
This means that with a few simple clicks, you can use Grammarly however you want: by copying and pasting your text into the online tool or desktop app, or by simply having the Grammarly pop-ups and corrective lines show up naturally in your browser or Microsoft Word while you're writing.
And believe me, I've tried other online grammar checkers, such as ProWritingAid and Ginger, and Grammarly is the most user-friendly.
Nothing beats knowing as an editor that I can recommend people install an intuitive and simple tool that will make their (and my) lives easier.
2. How Grammarly works
You're reading my Grammarly review, so you're probably curious about one thing in particular: does Grammarly work?
Grammarly does indeed work. It detects spelling and grammar errors better than any other checker.
That is, after all, its primary selling point. Writing software has never been completely accurate. Most software and apps will catch the majority of the common mistakes and errors, but anything more advanced will leave you on your own.
Grammarly has always gone above and beyond – no matter how advanced the error or suggestion, they have you covered.
I was curious as to why. What distinguishes Grammarly, and why is it more effective than other products I've tried?
Here are some fascinating facts:
- Grammarly's co-founders have been developing software since the late 1990s, and their first product, Mydropbox, was released in 2002. They had nearly a thousand universities sign up in just five years.
- They concentrated on designing a product that would benefit everyone. Both students and professionals with formal and academic writers, as well as casual, everyday writers with informal writing, can benefit from informal writing.
- They have a team of deep learning engineers and computational linguists on staff who are constantly tweaking their “good writing” algorithms by studying millions of pages from research databases.
Grammarly's ability to achieve incredible nuance is perhaps my favorite aspect of using this tool.
(However, Grammarly isn't perfect on a technical level, as I'll explain below as well.) Some of its suggestions are incorrect, which is why you must pay attention and filter out the incorrect ones).
3. It teaches you everything you need to know
While all grammar checkers provide the obvious feature of highlighting your mistakes, Grammarly Premium goes the extra mile by actually teaching you why your mistakes are wrong.
Check out their explanation of sentence fragments, for example:
This means that you will not only ensure that your documents, emails, and posts are written correctly in English, but you will also gradually and proactively improve your writing skills through Grammarly's micro-lessons.
Here are a few examples of common grammar and stylistic suggestions I've encountered while using Grammarly:
- Comma placement at its best (avoid comma splices!)
- Overuse of words
- Word duplication (words like “really” and “actually” frequently add little to no meaning)
- Structure of phrases and sentences
- Overuse of adverbs
- Modifiers that are ambiguous
- Confusion between lie and lay
- Pronouns that are incorrect or ambiguous
- Wordiness and run-on sentences
- “Could of” instead of “could have” is a tautology.
Grammarly is the best tool available if English is your second language or if you just want a nice daily grammar lesson.
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Grammarly can be used in five different ways.
You may be wondering if you need to copy and paste everything you write into a text box for it to check your work. Because that would be extremely inconvenient.
No, it does not. There are undoubtedly more convenient approaches.
Grammarly is an internet-based tool, so you must have access to the internet in order to use it.
However, there are several ways to double-check your work, including:
1. The Grammarly web application
The first option is to copy and paste your writing into the Grammarly web tool. To do so, go to the dashboard and click ‘New.' You will be taken to a blank page.
Copy your writing into the page and wait a few seconds for the site to do its magic. The software reads, analyzes, and corrects your writing in a matter of seconds.
If you have a complete document, you can simply upload it to the site. Simply click ‘Upload' rather than ‘New,' select a document from your computer, and Grammarly will analyze the content in the same manner.
Alternatively, you can enter your writing directly into the Grammarly website, and the tool will check it as you go.
2. Desktop Application
If you prefer to check your writing with a desktop app, you can do so as long as you use Windows or MacOS.
Simply visit the download page, download the app for your system, follow the installation instructions, and begin using the tool in the same manner as the online version.
3. Microsoft Word
You can also use Grammarly as an add-in within Microsoft Word. However, at the time of writing, this is only available for Windows users.
Go to the add-in page and follow the instructions to install it in Word. When activated, the add-in will check your writing as you type.
This is how I typically employ Grammarly. It was easy to set up and use. However, keep in mind that you must be connected to the internet in order to use it in Word.
4. Browser add-on extension
A browser extension is one of the simplest ways to use Grammarly.
There is a link to this extension on the homepage, or you can search for Grammarly in the Chrome Web Store.
Simply install the extension in Chrome like any other extension, and it will automatically check your writing when you use it on a variety of websites.
This includes Gmail, which assists you when typing an email, and Google Docs, for those of you who prefer Google's word processor.
5. Using your phone
Grammarly also has its own smartphone keyboard that you can use. This is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
When the app is activated, it will check your writing as you compose an email or text message. It's great for catching those pesky typos that are so easy to make on phones, and it also has smart predictions to help you type faster.
You can get the app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
What is Grammarly's cost?
Is Grammarly completely free?
Yes, Grammarly can be used for free.
One of the things I like about Grammarly is that you can use it for free. Grammarly's free version has no restrictions, which means you can use it indefinitely with no time limit or trial period.
And, as I'll explain below, Grammarly's free version is quite good.
To access all of Grammarly's features, however, you must upgrade to Grammarly Premium.
Grammarly Premium is currently priced at:
- When you pay annually, you save $12.00 per month ($144.00 total).
- When you pay quarterly, you save $20.00 per month.
- When you pay monthly, the cost is $30.00.
(A Grammarly Business subscription costs $12.50 per user per month when billed annually.) This includes everything in Grammarly Premium plus an admin panel, statistics for your team, and other features.
Now that you know how much Grammarly costs, you're probably wondering if the free version is sufficient for you. Should you pay the extra money for Grammarly Premium?
More on this below, including an in-depth review of Grammarly Premium.
Grammarly is available for free.
Improve your writing by eliminating grammar mistakes.
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What you get with the free version
Unlike some products, where the free version or free trial is a poor and severely limited version of itself, Grammarly's free version is quite good.
It gives you the fundamentals you need to build your writing foundation, including a comprehensive spelling, grammar, and punctuation checker that is more powerful than the standard spell check found in most word processors.
When the tool detects potential errors, it highlights them in red. If you're using the web interface, you can go through each issue by clicking the sections on the right (Grammar, Punctuation, etc.). You can also learn more by clicking on individual highlighted errors.
The free version will catch the majority of basic errors in your writing while also suggesting words that you may have meant to use. It highlights spelling errors, for example:
Mistakes in punctuation:
It also allows you to select your English version based on where your readers are located:
It will also draw attention to convention flaws. If you're writing in Australian English, it'll highlight ‘color.'
You'll also see how many errors Grammarly Premium discovered in your writing. Importantly, you will not be able to see these in the free version and will need to upgrade to see them.
What are the immediate advantages of using Grammarly?
You'll notice a difference in your writing as soon as you start using Grammarly. The following are the primary advantages of using the free checker:
- It can be used in “real-time,” highlighting errors as you write, or it can be used at the end to ensure no errors have been overlooked.
- Clear explanations of how to improve or restructure sentences
- Spelling is checked in American, British, Canadian, and Australian English.
- Simple to use on a variety of devices and document types
These are the advantages of using Grammarly for free.
What about the paid edition? Is Grammarly Premium a good investment?
Grammarly Premium review
When it comes to online grammar checkers, Grammarly Premium is unrivaled.
To begin, the premium version includes everything available in the free version. Then there's everything else.
Grammarly Premium includes a much larger number of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and context checks. It will look for the following in addition to the checks in the free version:
- Inconsistencies in writing
- Structure is hazy.
- Wordiness is the overuse of words.
- Unsuitable tone
- Insensitive phrasing.
Check out the premium version of Grammarly here.
Grammarly provides an excellent comparison of the free and premium models:
Grammarly's premium version, according to the company, goes beyond grammar to ensure that everything you write is clear and engaging.
Using Grammarly Premium will not ensure that your writing is clear and engaging. No grammar checker can transform hurried and sloppy writing into a work of art.
Grammarly Premium, on the other hand, has some extremely useful features that I use on a daily basis. When I run Grammarly Premium over a piece of writing, it always makes a few additional and useful suggestions, which I incorporate into my text. I find that using the premium version improves my writing.
It also provides detailed information about each of your grammar mistakes in the pop-up box, which the free version does not.
My favorite feature is personalized feedback.
However, my favorite feature of Grammarly Premium is the ability to tailor the type of suggestions and feedback I receive.
As someone who writes frequently, feedback is always valuable. However, any feedback must consider the reasons for the writing, or why the text was written in the first place.
With these personalized goals, Grammarly appears to be making a concerted effort to transform their AI editor into something more human.
Here's how to fully utilize this feature.
When you open a new document, you can change the settings to set writing objectives based on:
- Intent (inform, describe, convince, tell a story)
- The audience (general or expert)
- Style (formal or informal)
- Feelings (mild or strong)
- Domain (academic, business or technical).
By adjusting these settings, Grammarly can determine which issues to flag and which to ignore. Grammarly will also provide some useful insights based on these objectives.
Let's go over some of these options and why I think they're important.
- Your audience is critical in determining how your content is delivered. When your audience is an expert in the field, using jargon and highly technical, industry-specific words can be extremely useful. However, when they are the general public, it can be extremely startling.
- The distinction between formal and informal writing can make or break your paper, assignment, proposal, or even email. You must understand when and when not to use specific phrases and language.
- Domain: Is your writing creative, business, informal, or academic?
- Tone: Do you want to appear friendly? Confident? Analytical? This feature is useful for specifying how your writing should be received.
- Intent: When you select “inform,” “describe,” “convince,” or “tell a story,” you know that the software will try to figure out why you set up a narrative in a certain way.
While their personalized feedback algorithms aren't perfect, it's interesting to see how they're progressing from a simple grammar check program to an all-around text analyst.
It's the closest thing to having a real-life writing coach discussing language nuances as you go over your writing.
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Is Grammarly Premium worth the money?
Grammarly Premium is a worthwhile investment for me.
The free version is a useful tool, and it is preferable to not having a second set of eyes review your writing. It will detect far more spelling and grammar errors than a standard free checker.
If you're a writer on a tight budget, try installing Grammarly and putting it to the test.
However, as with most things in life, paying for something is preferable to free alternatives.
Grammarly Premium will detect additional spelling and grammar errors in your document. You'll also get feedback on how to improve your writing style and context for your mistakes.
Personally, I pay for the premium version because I value the additional features.
When it comes to writing a blog about editing, proofreading, and writing, it's critical that typos and minor errors do not appear in my work.
In short, Grammarly Premium is well worth the extra cost if you take your writing seriously.
How can it be made better?
I can confidently recommend Grammarly, but that doesn't mean it's without flaws. What I believe could be improved is as follows:
- The premium price is prohibitively expensive for infrequent writers. If you're a casual writer who only needs to use Grammarly occasionally but still wants all of the premium features, $30.00 per month may be a bit steep. That being said, the free version of Grammarly still does a good job, but depending on the type of writing you do, you may miss out on improving the structure of the text, tone, and so on.
- A free trial to test out premium features. That brings me to my next point: a free trial for premium users could be a great way to introduce the additional tools and allow users to see the difference they make in their work. Grammarly does not currently provide this service. I can see how inexperienced writers might be hesitant to invest monthly or yearly without first testing the features.
- It is currently only available in English. Grammarly is not the tool for you if you write in another language. In comparison to some of the competitors, it would be nice to see this implemented in the future.
- Accuracy. Grammarly is excellent at detecting errors or typos in text, but it cannot replace the human eye in terms of accuracy (and maybe a grammar checker never will). As a result, I always manually review Grammarly's suggestions (more about that below).
Grammarly's performance in comparison to a human editor
This was the most exciting part of my Grammarly review to write about!
I work as a professional editor of books and journal articles for prestigious English language journals. I understand the significance of clear, accurate, and error-free writing.
Although Grammarly is effective at detecting some errors, it is not a human editor. As an editor, I can see that machines have a long way to go before they can compete with humans.
For starters, Grammarly will allow some mistakes to pass through, even if they appear to be minor. Some errors are simply more difficult for machines to detect.
For example, you may use a word that is correctly spelled but is not appropriate in the context of the paragraph. Alternatively, you could say that someone has blonde hair in one paragraph and brown hair in the next.
Grammarly would not catch these errors, but a good human editor would.
A human is required for more advanced issues such as paragraph length, tone of voice, and the meaning of phrases and sentences.
English is a difficult language to write well in, and even more difficult to proofread.
English grammar rules are flexible, and the elements of good writing and storytelling are highly contextual. Human vision will always outperform the rigidity of automated tools.
As a result, while Grammarly is an excellent tool for informal writing, it is unsuitable for formal writing. Professional editing is essential when writing a dissertation, an important business document, or a manuscript.
Finally, Grammarly and human editors are not competitors. You don't have to choose between them. They are useful for various types of writing.
Grammarly vs. competitors
Grammarly isn't the only online grammar checker available to you. It is, however, the most popular, with over 10 million subscribers.
Grammar checkers with features similar to Grammarly include ProWritingAid, Ginger, and WhiteSmoke.
They, like Grammarly, are full-fledged grammar, punctuation, and spelling checkers.
How do they stack up against Grammarly? Are they a viable option? Is there a clear winner in the field of robot grammar checking?
Let us explore.
- Probably the best Grammarly substitute available.
- It focuses on strengthening your writing as well as correcting spelling and grammar errors. It accomplishes this by looking for issues with sentence structure, cliches, overused words, repeated phrases, and a lack of sentence length variety.
- Gives you a detailed report on your writing that focuses on these ‘bigger picture' issues. This might be useful for longer pieces of writing, such as books or essays.
- I appreciate their emphasis on style. Every day, as an editor, I come across sentences and passages that are not technically incorrect, but the expression is awkward and a little painful to read. ProWritingAid's style suggestions could help improve all types of complicated writing.
- Outstanding value for money. The Premium version costs $60 per year, while the Premium+ version (which includes a plagiarism checker) costs $70 per year. Grammarly is significantly more expensive, costing $139.95 per year.
- It sacrifices simplicity for comprehensiveness.
- It's not as advanced or user-friendly as Grammarly as a pure spelling and grammar checker.
- It's easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of style information available. While their advice may be useful if you're writing a book or an essay, it's mostly unnecessary for everyday writing like emails and social media posts.
- It is not as easy to use because it only provides a Chrome browser extension. This is significant because Chrome ceased to be the best web browser a few years ago.
- It includes a translator that allows you to translate your text between 60 languages, which Grammarly does not.
- On a practical level, a translator could be extremely beneficial to someone who needs to write in languages other than English. For example, in Ginger, you could write in Spanish, translate to English, and check for spelling and grammar errors.
- You will receive your own personal dictionary. This means you can tell Ginger not to mark certain words as incorrect. This is extremely useful if you use unusual character names or technical jargon in your story.
- Grammarly costs $139.95 for a yearly subscription, while Grammarly costs $89.88.
- Although Ginger has similar functionality to Grammarly, it is not as simple to use and has an unappealing interface.
- You also have to hover over the grammar errors rather than seeing them right away. This slows down the proofreading process slightly.
- It does not yet have a Mac desktop app, nor does it integrate with Microsoft Word.
- It integrates with all major platforms, as do all good grammar checkers. It has desktop apps for Windows and MacOS, as well as extensions for all major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera).
- Aids in the creation of professional documents. It includes templates for writing projects like Thank You, Condolences, and Sorry notes.
- Grammarly's annual subscription is $79.99, while Grammarly's is $139.95.
Why is Grammarly better?
On the surface, these grammar checkers appear to be serious competitors to Grammarly.
Grammar, spelling, and punctuation checkers such as ProWritingAid, Ginger, and WhiteSmoke are all useful. They also have some extra features that Grammarly does not have.
ProWritingAid gives you more detailed feedback on your writing style. Ginger includes a language translator, and WhiteSmoke includes professional templates to assist you in creating professional documents.
And they're all less expensive than Grammarly.
However, I continue to believe that Grammarly is the best online grammar checker. The reason is simple: it is the most user-friendly and intuitive.
Grammarly is a more aesthetically pleasing, streamlined, and functional tool than its three main competitors. They are all clumsy in comparison.
The Grammarly desktop app, in particular, looks great, and the layout is highly functional with its minimalist icons. With a single click, you can quickly see the mistakes, the reason for the mistake, and choose whether to implement or discard them.
Grammarly is also very simple to set up. When I'm in my browser, it checks everything I type with just a few clicks (I use Firefox). It simply operates in the background.
It's not surprising that Grammarly is more visually appealing and user-friendly than its competitors. It's simply a larger organization with more resources.
Consider this. Imagine how much they've invested in R&D and design across their website, apps, and browser extensions if they can afford to spend millions on those sleek TV commercials you've almost certainly seen.
Grammarly would have all the nukes if online grammar checking were an arms race.
I'm usually all for rooting for brave underdogs over larger rivals. After all, I support Watford F.C. in the English Premier League.
But when it comes to getting a robot to proofread my own writing, I simply want the most user-friendly tool. As part of my job, I write this blog, and I need my workflow to be as efficient as possible.
That’s why I choose to use Grammarly.
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Is Grammarly secure?
People are concerned (rightly so) about whether their work is protected on Grammarly.
Grammarly saves your work on its servers so that proofreaders can access it, but once you delete the text from your account, it is also deleted from the server. Throughout the process, your work remains yours.
Grammarly faced a few issues with data protection and bugs in 2018, but according to all reports, their team responded quickly and dealt with the issues.
All of their privacy terms are available here for those who are interested.
Before I conclude this Grammarly review, I want to emphasize that you must still manually review its suggestions.
In other words, you can't rely on Grammarly to get it right every time.
Grammarly is not a flawless grammar checker. It almost flawlessly detects basic errors and typos, but when things get nuanced, it can make some confusing and incorrect suggestions.
This is not surprising given that the English language is full of strange conventions and inconsistent rules, and grammar rules are sometimes meant to be broken.
So, when using Grammarly, keep your wits about you and pay attention. Examine its suggestion, read the explanation if necessary, and, if in doubt, Google it.
That's something I still do on occasion, despite the fact that I've been an editor for many years.
Is Grammarly worth it, in my opinion?
You've read my Grammarly review, so you already know I like it and use it when I write on this blog.
It isn't perfect, and it will never be able to replace a professional human editor. However, it performs admirably for its intended purpose.
Should you use it?
Grammarly, in my opinion, is a fantastic tool for almost any writer.
The free version is useful for anyone who writes short pieces of writing, from bloggers to students to people who send emails on a regular basis.
The Premium version is especially useful for anyone creating more professional, longer form content. However, if your document is intended for publication (such as a dissertation or book) or will be read by key stakeholders (such as a work document), I wouldn't put all of my eggs in Grammarly's basket.
I also recommend the premium version to anyone who is learning English as a second language.
It's very easy to make mistakes with the complexities of English, and Grammarly detects many (but not all) of them. It not only highlights errors but also suggests improvements and explanations, making it a useful tool for improving your written English.
Grammarly is well worth getting if you want to add an extra layer of checks to your writing or if you want to improve your writing by becoming more aware of common issues that weaken it.
Thank you for taking the time to read my Grammarly review. I hope you found it beneficial.
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