Grammarly Review: Can This Grammar Checker Improve Your Writing?

By | April 4, 2016

Grammarly review: Can Grammarly Improve Your Writing?

…because even we wordsmiths need a little help.

Last week I received a message in my email from Grammarly, one of my writing and editing tools:

“Happy Grammarversary! 1 year has passed since you first joined Grammarly. See below for a special reward to commemorate this day!”

So, after one year of using Grammarly, I thought I would share my experience and recommendations in this Grammarly review.

How Grammarly Works

Grammarly follows me around my computer, the Web, into email, tracks my writing errors, and makes suggestions. I’ve set Grammarly to check American English, but you can also select British English.

I drag the app into my toolbar and it automatically marks my writing errors whenever I am writing anything online. It shows up everywhere! Even sometimes when I don’t want it to! Here are some of the places it shows up:

  • Twitter
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
  • blogs and comments

For this Grammarly review, I’m sharing some screenshots of some of my initial tests when I was deciding whether or not Grammarly was worth it for me.

grammarly then-than

The app page says it works better than a word processor, and I’ve found that to be true. Just look at the screenshot above. My word processor doesn’t catch the then-than mistake. Grammarly even gives you an explanation of the error. Look at this preposition suggestion:

grammarly prepositions at vs or
Cool, huh?

I use Grammarly as an add-on extension in Chrome. It’s also available for Firefox. I can also use the online app version of Grammarly and either write or copy/paste into the text field. I haven’t found the need to use the online app as Grammarly seems to follow me everywhere. Besides, it’s rather inconvenience to open the app and copy/paste text just to do a grammar check. I would rather spend the time proofreading myself.

But you can also add Grammarly as a Microsoft Word plugin. Why would you want to add another grammar checker to Microsoft’s spelling and grammar check? Well, I’m working off the principle that “two sets of eyes are better than one.” Adding my own set of eyes makes three.

Grammarly Tracks Your Progress

Imagine my surprise when I received an email reporting my writing stats after using Grammarly for a few weeks. Grammarly has sent me an email report weekly for the past year. Here, I’ll show you how I’m doing.

grammar Grammarly stats

Look at that! I wrote 23,467 words in one week!

grammarly mistakes made in one week

Uh oh. I made 299 writing mistakes during the reported week. Well, I admit I don’t proofread emails and I often click Send too quickly. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Seriously, from what I can gather from the reports, Grammarly includes errors that I make while typing, even if I then correct the errors. I must admit, knowing that Grammarly will send this report, I pay more attention to the first draft. This could be good or bad, depending on your writing and editing philosophy. But at least for emails and online comments, it’s good for me. I write more carefully, because I don’t want Grammarly reporting all of my mistakes to me! I’m a bit competitive in that way.

 

unique grammarly vocabulary stats
At least my vocabulary is “unique.”

Grammarly Review: What I Love

When I’m writing anything for publication, of course, I proofread myself carefully. But we all slip up, including me. Grammarly highlights my spelling and grammar errors and offers suggestions for how to fix them.

Have you ever typed its when you should have typed it’s? or your when you should have typed you’re? Even though as writers we know the difference, we can hurriedly overlook such errors.

Grammarly has also helped me identify my particular problem areas. From the weekly reports and error checking, I’ve become more aware of my writing style and my writing peculiarities. For this Grammarly review, I took a screenshot of a rough draft manuscript I had received. Here’s what Grammarly reported:

Grammarly review report of errors

You’ll note that commas appear to be a weakness of this writer. That’s useful information when you want to improve your writing. In this draft, the “incorrect spacing with punctuation errors” notation was due to a large number of ellipses incorrectly punctuated. Grammarly gets an A+ from me for this feature alone.

Here’s what I really love about Grammarly: even when I’m writing comments online, for example in a Linkedin discussion, Grammarly is there! And on this blog, pub.ink.

Hey! Grammarly just caught an error in this blog post! But you’ll never see it. I just corrected it.

Grammarly Review: What Grammarly Doesn’t Do

Grammarly does not replace human intervention. I still need to carefully proofread my work. We’ve all learned from using Microsoft Word’s spellchecker that no machine can ever replace the English grammarian.

Grammarly won’t automatically make changes for you. Grammarly will offer the correct spelling or options from which to choose.

While Grammarly Premium does help identify problems with sentence structure, style, vocabulary, and word choice, it can’t make the best choice for you. But I appreciate that Grammarly highlights some potential problem areas, allowing me to quickly see where I need to improve.

Grammarly misses errors. In fact, in tests for this Grammarly review, I found that Grammarly makes more mistakes and misses more errors when sentences contain many grammatical errors.

Look, it’s not perfect. You still need to proofread and edit yourself and pass your final work through an editor.

If you are a non-native English speaker/writer, Grammarly can help you immensely, but don’t rely on it completely. Always pass your writing through a qualified editor.

How To Get Grammarly for Free

You can use Grammarly for free. No, it’s not a trial, it’s FREE. The free version offers basic spell check and finds problems with pronoun use, and other critical grammar errors. The its and it’s problem I have? Grammarly’s free version kept me on track. I found it pretty robust.

An annual subscription for Grammarly Premium costs $11.66 per month. I pay that much for my word processor subscription, and the grammar checker in my word processor doesn’t even come close to Grammarly’s editor. My word processor certainly doesn’t pick up my its and it’s problem. And it doesn’t follow me all over the Web and into my email.

Here’s the link to add the FREE Grammarly app.

I suggest you definitely add Grammarly’s free version to your writing toolbox. What have you got to lose? Just a few mistakes!

Try it out and tell me what you think in the comments below.

Check out Grammarly for Dogs on Facebook for some fun doggy humor. Tyson posted this image:

Grammarly review

 


 

I like Grammarly so much I decided to become an affiliate. If you decide to purchase Grammarly premium, please use my link. It won’t cost you one cent more, but I’ll get a percentage of the purchase price. I only recommend products I trust and personally find useful.

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