As a seasoned writer and editor, I understand the value a human editor can add to a business.
However, I use Grammarly daily to edit anything I write on my blogs.
I already have a solid grasp of grammar and English standards, but even for the most professional writers, the typing errors and minor mistakes manage to seep into a draft.
What exactly is Grammarly? Is it worthwhile? Can it take the role of a human editor?
In my Grammarly review, I answer these questions and more.
This is a lengthy review since I wanted to be as thoroughgoing as possible. Don’t forget to bookmark this page if you don’t have the time now to read all.
Let’s dive right in.
My Personal Experience With Grammarly
Concerning my personal experience with Grammarly, I have initially used the free tool but later shifted to the premium version.
Through the course of moving to a paid version of Grammarly, I wanted to be entirely sure about the accuracy of the tool.
Of course, as a writer, I wanted Grammarly to specifically help me with finding sentence fragmentation, punctuations, flow, and more.
When you’ve spent money on an editing tool to make your writing flawless, it’s natural to question its accuracy and consistency. Here’s a summary of my personal experience using Grammarly.
Grammarly detects the majority of errors and makes recommendations to enhance the quality of your writing. It is exceptionally accurate and outperforms most grammar/spellcheck software.
You can even comprehend your poor writing tendencies with its weekly reports. This feature helps in enhancing your writing and editing skills. I sure found out about shortcomings in my writing, such as:
- Extended use of passive voice
- Using long phrases
- Finishing sentences with a proposition
- Squinting modifiers
In addition to fixing errors in the text you’re working on, the application enhances your writing abilities.
But, not everything is good in the editing paradise. There are specific issues with Grammarly too…
After using Grammarly for over three years, I have come to understand that even though Grammarly is a sound editing tool, one should not entirely rely on its suggestions.
It is still an AI-backed software that has a lot of catching up to do before taking the place of a human editor.
As human editors, we are better judges of the tone and choice of words.
For writers, context is the driving force of their content.
Grammarly’s algorithm struggles to understand the context, which starts a string of inappropriate suggestions. Human editors use their judgment to ignore such suggestions and edit the document as per the context.
Grammarly isn’t flawless, but it can detect many errors in your work and provide various recommendations to help you improve your writing.
It is NOT a substitute for the human eye.
On that note, let me share an anecdote with you.
A few months back, I started working with a client who had a distinct guideline outlined for the writers. I followed the guideline and completed the first article. Before submitting it, I decided to run it through Grammarly. I made the edits recommended by Grammarly.
After submitting the first draft, I received a long list of edits marked by the editor of the website. And some of those errors were grammatical. Nothing can give more anxiety to a writer than suggestions about the grammar accuracy of their write-up. I checked the recommendations of the editor, and to my surprise, they were legit. I felt betrayed by Grammarly.
Instead of applying every recommendation popping up in Grammarly, I went back and made all those edits by myself. I again ran through the second draft on Grammarly, but I was mindful of only accepting recommendations around spellchecks and punctuations this time.
The second time worked like a charm, and my draft passed through the editorial check on the client’s website. I learned my lesson of not following Grammarly blindly and using my own judgment to accept a recommendation made by the algorithm or reject it.
Although I had one scarring experience with Grammarly, I would still call it one of the best Grammar checkers and editing tools on the market. You need to have a decent understanding of the English language to use Grammarly as per your requirement and reap the benefits. It does save a lot of time, and at least 6 out of 10 recommendations made by the algorithm are right.
Why you need a writing tool
Here’s a disclaimer, I’m not a Grammar Nazi. I don’t go around correcting someone’s grammar or writing skills unless my job requires it.
The editor side of me understands the importance of clarity and accuracy. Of course, chat-friendly language may seem like a weapon to eliminate grammar rules, but in professional settings, nothing takes you down faster than bad grammar. When you write a professional email, copy, or message, you need to ensure that you follow the correct sentence structure and grammar. And that’s why it is essential to use a writing tool to reduce the chances of making an error.
Here’s why you need a writing tool:
- Clarity: If your message isn’t clear, your readers will struggle to comprehend the point you’re trying to convey in any form of writing, from blogs to tweets.
- Persona: Your work conveys a sense of who you are to the reader; why take a risk coming across poorly owing to language errors when this may be simply evaded?
- Perfection: Using a grammar checker improves the overall quality of your work. It takes very little time, helps and enhances your writing, and ensures that you reach your audience with the appropriate style and tone.
A robust grammar checker tool is extremely useful for authors to use to confirm that their work is coherent and flawless independently. Grammarly, while significant, is not without flaws. But it is better than all the other tools on the market.
I’ll go over some of Grammarly’s benefits and drawbacks so that you can gauge if it is the best among the rest.
The dangers of investing in writing aid
Here’s one thing that I want to make clear. Grammarly can enhance your writing, catch errors, and make some great recommendations, but it can’t do all the work for you.
As a writer, you will still need to spend a substantial amount of time assessing the document back and forth and making sure if the tone of the language is according to your target audience? You can’t just leave everything on the AI-backed tool and expect it to turn your mediocre work into something stellar magically.
One of the dangers of investing in a writing aid like Grammarly is that writers often become too lazy to do some heavy-lifting to improve their original work. I know some writers who rely entirely on Grammarly and can’t even think of writing their article in any other tool like Notepad. Somewhere, too much dependency on writing affects a writer’s confidence as they can’t gear up to write independently.
Yes, it will make it more crisp and clear. But for that, you need to have your basic material sorted and written well. It can only take it up a level. Suppose your original document is heavily compromised in terms of quality and valuable information. In that case, Grammarly won’t magically fix it like Hermione fixes Harry’s glasses in the first installment of Harry Potter. Grammarly won’t “Oculus Reparo” your writing like magic.
If you are investing in Grammarly Premium, you cannot presume the tool to do all the heavy lifting.
What you will learn
Grammarly is not your token proofreading tool that detects spelling and grammatical errors; it is much more than that because of its remarkable skills to make your work flawless.
It could be difficult for non-native English speakers or even native speakers to find the best words to describe something. Even the best of writers could face the issue with limited vocabulary. This is where Grammarly comes in super handy. It quickly suggests better synonyms for dull words.
Grammarly’s vocabulary augmentation tool assists writers like me in finding correct synonyms to my existing repetitive phrases and infusing my text with so many wise words that I can’t readily recollect when writing. The built-in vocabulary enhancement tool truly helps in improving the content quickly.
When you turn on this feature, it quickly analyses your content for repetitive and standard terms and proposes better alternatives.
You may be familiar with the term “plagiarism.” Plagiarism, often known as content theft, has recently become a significant issue in the writing industry.
Websites that utilize plagiarized or duplicated material often get penalized by search engines such as Google and Bing.
But in the vast world of the internet, how will you know if another website has duplicated your article?
Well, there are dedicated tools called Plagiarism Checker that scan your content and tell you if it has been duplicated or you have duplicated someone else’s existing work. Although standalone tools like Copyscape are some of the most trusted plagiarism checkers out there, Grammarly also offers a decent plagiarism detection tool in its editor.
You can enable the plagiarism checker feature in your Grammarly Premium editor to thoroughly scan your content. It does a pretty decent job highlighting the plagiarized parts of your content, giving you a chance to change it and create original content.
Alongside highlighting the copied content, it also lists the source to compare the duplication level. This feature also helps in attributing your sources to avoid plagiarism.
Here’s a tip: If your content shows more than 5% plagiarized, you should take quick action and edit your content to make it unique.
Look for the “Plagiarism” option on the right side assistant sidebar in your Grammarly Premium editor to enable this feature. After clicking, it automatically checks the entire content and highlights copied content.
Best Grammarly Features
Let’s check out some other amazing features that you get with your Grammarly Premium account:
- Rectifies grammatical, spelling, and punctuation mistakes
- Consistency in formatting is ensured.
- Stimulates the use of organic word selections to increase readability.
- Constructs phrases that are short and readable.
- With a single click, it converts complex phrases into simple, intelligible sentences.
- Organizes lengthy lists into bulleted points for better readability
- Uses impactful words to increase the impact and value of each statement.
- To promote the optimum reading experience, it replaces redundant, dull parts with more fascinating ones.
- Detects tone to ensure that the content converts precisely what the writer wants
- To make the writing seem all the more confident, it removes confusing wording and superfluous qualifiers.
- Uses less harsh or cruel alternative language in writing to make content more respectful.
- Preserves the right amount of decorum (tone)
- Supports the formation of a style guide for corporate writing that assures concise, uniform, and brand-friendly writing.
- Checks your copy for duplicate material and provides source links for proper citation and attribution.
- Supports third-party integrations with browser extensions, allows add-ons for MS Word, MS Outlook, Google Docs, Android/iOS keyboards, and native Windows and macOS applications.
Who is Grammarly not for?
The free version of Grammarly is a helpful tool, and it is preferable to have a second set of eyes review your writing. It will detect considerably more spelling and grammatical errors than a standard free checker.
For a writer or a working professional, or maybe even a budding entrepreneur running on a tight budget, try installing a Grammarly free version and test how effective it is for your work. Although better than other free tools, the free version lags several effective and professional features found in the Premium version.
Grammarly Premium outperforms its free counterparts with its plethora of features and built-in tools like plagiarism detector.
Let us get this clear if you don’t require a lot of content editing and written communication is not the central part of your job profile, then you will do just fine with the free version of Grammarly.
However, if you are a writer or a working professional who requires heavy content editing, then the free version won’t suffice for you. You will need Grammarly Premium to produce error-free and compelling content that’s unique and per your target audience.
Grammarly Premium will also enhance your writing style and explain your mistakes so that you can learn better.
6 Places you can use Grammarly
You may be wondering if you need to copy and paste whatever you type into a text field to check your work because that would be highly inconvenient.
Grammarly knows the value of being compatible with different platforms. The editing tool is available on different platforms and in various forms. But keep in mind that it is an internet-based tool, so you’ll need to be connected to the network when you use it in any form.
Let’s check out different ways to use Grammarly:
- Using the Grammarly website
The primary approach is to copy and paste your work into the Grammarly online tool, i.e., the website. To do so, go to the dashboard and select ‘New.’ You will be redirected to a blank page in an editor.
Copy your text into the editor and wait just a few seconds for the algorithm to do its job. The software evaluates and rectifies your writing in a matter of seconds.
If you already have a document, you may easily upload it to the site. Just choose ‘Upload’ rather than ‘New,’ select a document from your desktop, and Grammarly will evaluate the document like a regular editor.
- Using the Desktop App
If you’d rather check your writing on a desktop app, you may download the Grammarly app for Windows or macOS.
Just visit the download page on Grammarly and choose your preferred platform (Windows/macOS). After downloading the app, just follow the directions to install, and start using the app as you use any other editing app. It is a more centralized way to streamline your editing work. The Grammarly app has a great UI too.
- Using the Browser extension
A browser plugin is one of the simplest ways to use Grammarly. You can find a link to the Grammarly extension on the official website, or you can simply search for the Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store. Just open the Chrome Web Store and search for “Grammarly,” and install it.
After installing the Chrome extension for Grammarly, it will automatically analyze your writing when you start typing in any text field on Chrome, including Gmail, social media websites, Google, and more.
- Using the Microsoft Office add-in
You may also use Grammarly as an add-in within Microsoft Word. You can use the add-in on both Windows and macOS. Here’s how you can do that:
- Open Microsoft Word document on your desktop.
- Click on the Insert menu
- Now, click Get Add-ins or Store.
- Search Grammarly and press Enter.
- Click on the Add button next to Grammarly
- Open Word document again and find the Grammarly tab in the toolbar and click Open Grammarly.
When the add-in is enabled, it will evaluate your text as you write.
This is how I usually use Grammarly. It was a breeze to set up and use. However, keep in mind that you must be connected to the internet to use it in Microsoft Word.
- Using the Grammarly Keyboard
Grammarly also features a dedicated keyboard app for Android and iOS platforms. You can install it from respective app stores and make it your default keyboard.
Once installed, it will check every text you type on the keyboard and make suggestions for grammatical errors and synonyms. It’s great for catching those pesky typos, and the clever predictions help you type faster.
- Using Grammarly for iPad
Grammarly for iPad is known as “Grammarly Keyboard” on the App Store. This keyboard app functions as a plagiarism detector and a spelling and grammar checker for devices such as the iPad Pro. Grammarly for iPad is available for free, with in-app purchases for those who want additional features. Just download Grammarly from the Apple App Store onto your iPad and start typing without typos.
What’s Inside Grammarly?
Grammarly is a free software application (but you can upgrade to a premium version for better features). The software can assist you in checking for the following writing errors:
- Spelling mistakes
- Errors in grammar
- Issues with readability
- Plagiarism issues
- Tone of Writing
Grammarly is a powerful application that corrects the text as you type, roughly comparable to the spell-check tool in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. The extensive editing features found in Grammarly are one of the best on the market, and you can significantly benefit your writing by using them.
Let’s take a deeper look at a couple of Grammarly’s features.
Correcting Grammar and Punctuation
Grammarly is most recognized for identifying grammatical and punctuation errors, as the name implies. The available feedback varies from basic to expert. Grammarly detects and corrects over 150 grammatical mistakes, including:
- Errors in spelling and punctuation
- run-on sentences and weak sentence structure
- Errors in the passive voice
- sentences that are too lengthy
It does more than simply detect errors; it also makes real-time suggestions for improvement and explains why these modifications are essential.
Checking Spelling Errors
Grammarly serves as a spell checker as well as a grammar checker. While most writing applications (Microsoft Word, Scrivener, etc.) include this function, it’s far simpler to check your spelling mistakes alongside grammar, especially as you make more changes. Grammarly’s spell-check is faster and more reliable.
It comes in handy when you have set your English to US English or UK English. Grammarly easily distinguishes between UK English spelling and US English spelling, and you get instant suggestions to make your document stand correct with the target audience.
When you upgrade to Grammarly Premium, the tool gets an additional feature that detects plagiarism. The plagiarism detection software is quite comprehensive, matching your content with billions of websites on the internet.
Grammarly will assist you in identifying duplicated material by scanning and comparing your text to the 16 billion online pages in its library.
Grammarly’s most useful feature is that it allows you to edit and proofread your work consciously. It lists valid reasons to prove a grammatical error and how to fix it. As you start to make editing improvements, the tool will encourage you and raise your total editing score.
The advantage is that your writing will progressively improve with time, much like having a personal writing tutor.
Advanced Editor Settings
Among many other online editing software, Grammarly has the most advanced settings for its editor called “Goals”. It gives more control to the writer to choose their editing suggestions and streamline their editor as per their line of work. Here are some of the critical elements that you can find under Goals that set the flow of your writing.
- Audience: Your audience is crucial in deciding how your content is conveyed. When your audience is an expert in the subject, using jargon and highly technical business terminology may be beneficial. However, when they are the general public, it may be quite problematic. You can choose your audience in the editor, and Grammarly will make suggestions according to it.
- Formality: The distinction between formal and casual writing may greatly affect any essay, project, proposal, or maybe even email. You must understand when and when not to use specific phrases and terminologies. You can choose between formal and informal in Grammarly, and it will help edit your documents seamlessly.
- Domain: You also get to choose your domain or niche in the editor. You can choose any – Creative, Business, Casual, Or Academic.
- Tone: You can also choose the tone of your content. You can pick between different tones or choose more than one. The tone options available in the editor are – Friendly, Confident, Analytical, Joyful, Optimistic, Neutral, or Respectful. This feature helps you in deciding how you want readers to perceive your writing.
- Intent: You also get to decide the intent of your writing. What are you trying to achieve from your content? Do you want to “inform,” “describe,” “convince,” and “tell a story,” the algorithm then works to align its suggestions as per your selections.
Grammarly Business is a version designed to assist businesses with many employees. It is an excellent solution for small/medium businesses, marketing teams, online publishers, and anybody who works with others through written communication.
To put it another way, it’s not only for writers and content creators.
Digital publishers with multiple websites utilize Grammarly Business to work with authors and editors.
Similarly, if you own a small business, your team may use Grammarly Business to work on projects such as protected content, ebooks, or even a guide.
It can be used to change the sales content on your website or to double-check a series of messages before mailing them to clients.
Grammarly Business is particularly beneficial for business owners who deal with team members from various cities or nationalities.
Concerning payment structure, Grammarly Business costs $12.5/month for an annual subscription. A single Business account can add up to 150 team members. You get an admin panel, team statistics, and a slew of additional features with this account.
Grammarly Pricing and Plans
One of my favorite aspects of Grammarly is that it is completely free to use. Grammarly’s free version has no limitations, which means you may use it eternally without any deadline.
However, you’ll need to upgrade to Grammarly Premium to access all of Grammarly’s features that we explained in the former sections of this article.
Here are the current price plans of Grammarly Premium subscription:
Annual: $12 per month ($144 one-time payment for 365 days)
Quarterly: $20 per month ($60 one-time payment for 3 months)
Monthly: $30 per month
Now that you know how much Grammarly costs, you must be wondering if the free version is suitable or should you invest in Grammarly Premium? Well, before we get to the verdict, why not check some of the alternatives for Grammarly.
Is Grammarly safe to use?
People seem to be anxious (rightfully so) about the privacy of their work saved on Grammarly.
Grammarly saves your content on its servers so that it can be proofread, but if you erase the content from your profile, it is also wiped from the server. All through the process, your work stays yours.
Grammarly had a few problems with data security and bugs in 2018. However, their staff responded promptly and resolved the issues raised in all reports.
All of their privacy conditions can be accessed here for those who are interested.
Grammarly isn’t your only option for an online grammar checker. Although it is undoubtedly one of the most popular online editing software with a solid user base of over 10 million users worldwide, there are other alternatives like Ginger, Whitesmoke, and ProWritingAid.
The Grammarly alternatives are full-featured with tools for checking grammar, punctuation, and spellings, much like Grammarly.
How does Grammarly stack up against them? Is it a good idea to use them? When it comes to grammar-checking bots, is there a clear victor?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of these alternatives.
- It offers a few more features that Grammarly lacks, such as a translator that can translate your writing into 60 other languages. You could, for example, write in French, then translate to English and analyze spelling and grammatical errors.
- You’re given your own dictionary. You can instruct Ginger that you don’t want specific words to be mistakenly recognized. This is especially handy if your narrative has unique names or technical language.
- Grammarly costs $139.95 for an annual subscription, whereas Ginger costs $89.88.
- Despite Ginger having comparable features to Grammarly, it is less user-friendly and has an unappealing design.
- Instead of showing grammatical errors directly, it requires users to hover over them to see. This functionality makes the entire editing process slower.
- It lacks a dedicated app for Mac and also missed out on the Microsoft Word add-in functionality.
- It integrates with all the key platforms and has dedicated desktop apps for Windows and macOS. It also has extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera.
- Helps in writing professional papers. It includes templates for thank-you letters, sympathy letters, and apology letters.
- Grammarly costs $139.95 annually, whereas WhiteSmoke costs $79.99 annually.
- Concerning the user interface and speed, it’s not as advanced as Grammarly. It’s more complicated to use.
- It focuses on improving your writing as well as fixing spelling and grammatical errors. It accomplishes this by looking for problems like sentence structure, stereotypes, redundant words, overused phrases, and a lack of sentence length variation.
- It gives a thorough assessment of writing that focuses on the “larger picture” concerns. For larger works of writing, such as books or essays, this might be a useful tool.
- ProWritingAid’s style suggestions might help with all types of complex writing.
- The Premium version costs $60 annually, while the Premium+ (with plagiarism checker) costs $70 annually.
- It’s not as user-friendly as Grammarly. It lacks the same advanced functionality of spell-check and grammar check as Grammarly.
- It loads the user with too much information. The suggestions are better for those writing books but not as much for daily content editing.
- It is limited to be used as a Chrome extension.
Grammarly Review: The Bottom Line
Grammarly isn’t flawless, and it’ll never be able to take the position of a human editor. However, it performs admirably for the purpose for which it was created.
So, should you use it as your primary grammar editor?
Grammarly, in my opinion, is a valuable tool for every writer and working professional.
Anyone who creates content pieces, such as bloggers, students, or those who send regular emails or have written communication, would benefit from the free version.
The Premium edition is especially beneficial for those who create more proficient, lengthier content. Suppose your content is meant for publication (such as a thesis or books) or viewed by key stakeholders (such as project documentation). In that case, you will benefit significantly from the Premium version.
Of course, your own judgment will play a key role in keeping the content natural and error-free on a contextual basis.
I would highly recommend Grammarly Premium non-native English writers. It will help you in creating content that sounds closer to the native level. With Premium, you will also be able to select the type of English you want to follow – US English, UK English, Australian English.
With the complexities of English, it’s easy to make mistakes, and Grammarly detects many (if not all) of them. It not only flags the errors but also proposes changes and offers explanations, which makes it a helpful tool for enhancing your English writing skills.
The Verdict: Grammarly is indeed one of the best editing tools on the market. It makes substantial enhancements in the way a writer works and helps them to improve their writing skills by giving robust suggestions. Get Grammarly Premium to make significant improvements in your writing and ensure that it does not end up flawed.