Originally published at https://ideapod.com/grammarly-review-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/
If you’re someone interested in improving your grammar, spelling and general writing skills, the chances are that you’ve come across Grammarly lately.
Described as a “free proofreading and editing tool”, Grammarly is a software program that flags mistakes and helps make sure your writing is clearer.
But can Grammarly – which bills itself as the “world’s most accurate grammar checker” – really improve your writing?
I used Grammarly for 30 days to find out exactly how it works. Keep on reading for everything good, bad and ugly about Grammarly (along with screenshots and extra tips).
How Grammarly worksOnce you create your free Grammarly account, I recommend taking the tour of the Grammarly editor. It quickly helps you adjust the settings so the feedback you get is relevant to your writing goals.
After the tour, create a new document and paste your writing in here. You then tell Grammarly the context of your writing, which changes the suggestions they make.
You’ll then be shown where changes should be made, as you can see below.
Click on the words underlined in text and you’ll see their recommended changes.
You can toggle between “spelling”, “grammar”, “punctuation” and “conventions” on the right-hand side.
I found the best way to use Grammarly was to paste article drafts into a new document so I could quickly work through the suggested changes.
It’s important to note that Grammarly Premium provides a more detailed explanation of changes required than in the free version. This would be particularly helpful to non-native English speakers who don’t just want their grammar checked, but also want to improve their English.
Grammarly also provides useful insights about your writing based on character and sentence length, vocabulary and readability, and reading time.
Here’s what you’ll find when you install the Grammarly extensionThere’s a nifty feature I discovered while using Grammarly.
You can install the browser extension. This means that Grammarly will show suggestions while you’re using the web.
For example, Grammarly automatically checked my text while I was typing an email, as you can see below.
This happens anywhere there is a place to input text.
It’s a useful addition to the free version of Grammarly and importantly doesn’t get in the way of your browsing experience.
How easy to use is Grammarly?I’ve used many different software applications to improve how I write for Ideapod. Grammarly is by far the easiest to use.
Installing the software onto my PC was trouble free. It took only a few clicks to add the browser extension (in my case to Firefox).
Once it’s installed, there’s not much more to do. I love how Grammarly works in the background checking everything I’m writing. Check out my articles on Ideapod. I think you’ll be hard pressed to find grammatical errors (let me know in the comments if you do!).
How much does Grammarly cost?Grammarly is free to use, and to be honest I've found the free version to be adequate for my needs. You can upgrade to Grammarly Premium for the following prices:
- Grammarly Premium monthly subscription costs $29.95 per month.
- Grammarly Premium quarterly subscription costs $19.98 per month, billed as one payment of $59.95.
- Grammarly Premium annual subscription costs $11.66 per month, billed as one payment of $139.95.
The benefits of Grammarly PremiumAs I mentioned above, as someone who writes regularly, I've found the free version of Grammarly to be very useful. It's probably all I need.
However, I decided to try Grammarly Premium to see what the benefits were for myself.
Here’s is a list of the extra benefits:
- Advanced checks for punctuation, grammar, context, and sentence structure
- Vocabulary enhancement suggestions
- Genre-specific writing style checks
- Plagiarism detector that checks more than 16 billion web pages
As a somewhat professional writer, I have found the additional suggestions provided by Grammarly Premium to be useful but not necessary.
However, I’m going to continue using Grammarly Premium for the content submitted by writers. It’s provided a number of useful suggestions, and the insights help me to evaluate the quality of writers. Although Ideapod writers never plagiarize material, running their articles through the plagiarism detector provides some additional comfort.
If you’re not a native English speaker, then I’d highly recommend upgrading from the free version of Grammarly to the paid version. The additional tips are like an advanced English class.
How does Grammarly compare to a human proofreader?In researching this article, I reached out to Brendan Brown from The Expert Editor. They're Australia's leading professional proofreading and editing company. They also edit all of Ideapod's eBooks and longer articles.
I asked him about the ability of machines to proofread documents, compared with real humans. Here’s what he had to say:
"Software tools like Grammarly are really efficient for people who write emails and articles on a regular basis and want to get feedback quickly. You can't really beat the instantaneous checking that it provides. However, I wouldn't recommend Grammarly if you're writing a book-length manuscript or an academic paper. These software tools will likely miss the more subtle errors, and they don't understand the deeper context of the document. If you're serious about your writing and need it to be flawless, I would always recommend going with a human proofreader."This makes sense to me. I'm using Grammarly for my emails and articles, but I'll keep on using The Expert Editor for the eBooks and longer articles we're writing.
Who should use Grammarly?I think the free version of Grammarly is useful to just about anyone, even those with advanced English skills.
However, I would particularly recommend it to non-native English speakers.
When you’re a non-native English speaker, no matter how advanced you are, errors creep into your writing. Whenever articles are submitted to Ideapod by non-native English speakers, it takes more work for us to edit them. The quality of the content is of course just the same, but it takes longer to get the article ready for publication.
Grammarly is hands-down the most effective tool to remove the majority of these errors.
Here are some people that could really find Grammarly useful:
- Content writers, marketers, and copywriters
- Professionals who wish to create grammatically accurate emails, presentations, or social media posts.
- Digital company owners, moderators, and any individual who wants to check content for plagiarism.
Grammarly compatibilityGrammarly's versatility in working alongside other platforms is one other perk that I like. And this is something you will find particularly useful if your work involves using different kinds of software.
Furthermore, it works wherever you are. You can use it as a desktop application or as an extension on your browser, which could be great if you’re constantly writing emails.
Grammarly is also available as a mobile app. The keyword app allows Grammarly to instantly correct whatever you type on your phone. If you do most of your business correspondences or other work-related writing on your mobile phone, you can now say goodbye to basic grammatical errors.
Grammarly can be used as:
- Google Chrome Grammarly web application (which works similarly as Google Docs)
- Microsoft Office add-in
- Google Chrome plug-in (works best for new users)
- A desktop app for Windows and Mac
- Mobile app for iOS and Android
Is the premium version worth it?There is nothing that can beat human proofreaders. And only humans can definitely understand the context of what you are trying to write.
But would you use something that gets rid of all the annoying common grammar mistakes? Yes, definitely. This is why the free version is great.
The question is, would the premium version even be better?
I believe the answer is yes… if you don’t mind paying for it. The premium version offers a whole lot of features that would absolutely help you save time and make your writer grammatically better. It’s a reliable tool that will help you micromanage the basic parts of writing once you get a handle of the program.
If you do writing professionally, and you can afford to spend a little on proofreading tools, I would say that the premium version is the best one out there.
However, if you are a writer on a budget, then I would say that the free version offers what you basically need - check errors in spelling and grammar, things you would usually miss.
The issues I had with GrammarlyAs much as I've found Grammarly to be a useful addition to my process of writing, I've encountered some challenges using the software.
The first issue is that the Grammarly browser extension slows down my typing when using the web browser.
I’m a pretty fast typer at around 80 words per minute, and I’ve got a decent computer with a fast processor (to handle my video editing). Yet when I type, Grammarly is checking every word for errors. The result is that some letters don’t make it to the screen, resulting in more errors for me to correct afterward.
To get around this, I’m going to switch off the browser extension and instead use the PC software program, pasting my drafts directly into a new document to check for errors.
Ideally, I would have liked to keep on using the browser extension without needing to go through this extra step of pasting my articles into the software program.
The second issue is the aggressiveness with which Grammarly prompts you to upgrade from the free version to Grammarly Premium. There are always options to click through to the premium version as well as regular emails prompting me to upgrade.
The third issue I have is with the price. It’s certainly a valuable tool. However, is the premium version worth $29.95 per month? It’s probably worth it for professional writers and authors. But there’s not enough value for regular people like myself. I’ll happily stick with the free version.
Conclusion:Overall, I highly recommend the free version of Grammarly to most people. So many people underestimate the importance of editing their work. We're becoming more reliant on email over time, and having a professional editing tool checking everything before it goes out is a fantastic way to improve your professionalism.
I think Grammarly is particularly useful to non-native English speakers, and they would get the most value out of Grammarly Premium.
However, I wouldn’t recommend Grammarly as a substitute for getting your books or similar manuscripts edited by a professional human editor. Grammarly will likely misinterpret the context.
Finally, it’s worth noting that this article was edited by Grammarly. Have you found any errors? Grammarly helped me fix 11 errors, and 1 error still remains which I decided didn’t need to be fixed. Can you find it?
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