I updated this Grammarly review in June 2017 to reflect how I and readers here use it today.
Do you know the fundamentals of english grammar?
Are you confident what you’re writing is error-free and easy to read?
Would you like a tool or grammar checker to help you proof-read your work?
I think you’ll agree with me when I say typos and grammar mistakes are embarrassing.
I recently discovered Grammarly, a grammar checker for proofreading articles, book chapters and blog posts.
I spent 30 days using Grammarly.
In this updated 2017 Grammarly review, I’ll explain how it can help you check grammar and spelling online, and if this grammar checker is worth it for writers and bloggers.
The Price of Grammarly
You can try Grammarly via a subscription that will cost you $29 per month. You can also pay for a quarterly (what I do) or annual subscription and get a discount on your subscription.
The premium version of this grammar checker will help you identify more grammar errors in your document than a traditional free grammar checker, and it provides detailed information about each error (i.e. it’s a study aid).
Grammarly offers discounts for quarterly and annual subscriptions.
How Easy to Use is Grammarly?
Here’s the deal:
You can use Grammarly Microsoft Office or an online dashboard that works much like Google Docs. Alternatively, you can install the Grammarly Chrome plugin.
You log in to the latter via a web browser.
On the dashboard of this grammar checker, you can open a new document and start writing. Or you can paste your work into this new document for analysis
After a few seconds, it underlines grammar mistakes similar to the Word. It also provides a detailed explanation about the reasons why you’ve made a mistake.
Alternatively, you can install an extension in your web browser or a plug-in for Word.
I didn’t use the Grammarly Microsoft Office plugin, as I use Scrivener for almost all of my writing.
Grammarly is a great grammar checker, here is the Grammarly Dashboard
How Accurate is Grammarly and How Can It Helps Writers?
When you click on an error, the grammar checker presents an explanation of the problem. All you have to do is click on the arrow to find out more.
It identifies possible solutions and explanations for your mistake.
Grammarly helped me identify:
- Confused prepositions
- Overuse of the passive voice
- Wordy sentences
- Repetitive words
- Common writing mistakes like misplaced apostrophes
- Spelling errors
It gets better:
After using this grammar checker on several articles and book chapters, I found out I’ve a bad habit of ending sentences with prepositions.
I’m also guilty of using the occasional squinting modifier (pictured below).
Yes, these are finer points of grammar but knowing my bad habits helped me tune up my writing.
The built-in grammar checkers in Word, Scrivener and Pages didn’t provide me with this insight, and over the past two years this grammar checker has helped me improve my writing skills.
Here you can see what happened when I put this post into Grammarly
Other Useful Grammarly Features for Grammar Checkers and Writers
Grammarly supports multiple document types, and you can identify each document as a blog post, as an article, as a business document and so on.
I didn’t find any great difference between the various document types beyond that Grammarly identified certain turns of phrase as formal or informal for various document types.
I contacted support about this, and while they were quick to reply, they said there isn’t a detailed knowledgebase of what the different document types do (pictured below).
Grammarly also has a plagiarism checker, which may be useful if you’re writing academic documents or reviewing a peer’s work.
I turned this feature on, but I didn’t find any issues in my documents (I guess I’m not plagiarising!). You can also change from British to American English (and back again!) by clicking on the Grammarly logo and then navigating to your profile (thanks to Inga for emailing in and pointing this out).
The Grammarly knowledgebase of grammar errors
Grammarly vs. a Human Proofreader
You might be wondering:
Can Grammarly replace a human proofreader?
In short, no.
Grammarly overlooked several mistakes, particularly in my fiction. This may be (<— there’s a squinting modifier!) because my fiction is more difficult to understand than my non-fiction.
It doesn’t always provide the context or feedback that a human proofreader offers.
You can use the Grammarly dashboard to send your work to a human proofreader for USD.02 a word.
I didn’t test this feature.
Whether or not you’re using Grammarly, take the time to either print out and proofread what you’ve written or give it to another person to check.
That means paying a professional proofreader if you’re writing a book.
Who is Grammarly Good For?
Grammarly is a good grammar checker if English isn’t your first language or if you don’t write that often. You can even change the preferences in Grammarly from US to British English and back again, a feature I use regularly.
It will help you check for grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes faster. The free and premium versions are useful for students who may have a batch of work they want to check, although be careful to check that you’re not violating any rules and regulations set by your university or school.
Here’s the thing:
You still need to take the time to learn the fundamentals of grammar.
If English is your first language, Grammarly is a useful tool because it teaches the finer points of grammar.
This grammar checker acts as another line of defense, which you can use to make sure your book, article or blog post is accurate and easy to read.
Should You Pay For Grammarly?
If you’re using Grammarly, you can take out a subscription of this online grammar checker and then decide if you want to upgrade.
In 2015, I paid for a three-month subscription to Grammarly as I’m working on a number of articles and chapters for a book. That was over two years ago. Now, I still use Grammarly to check early drafts of blog posts and articles and also to check book chapters for grammar mistakes. I also rely on the Grammarly Chrome plugin to check my emails, posts on social media and so on.
I still work with human proof-readers, but I value an extra set of (digital) eyes on my work.
The bottom line?
This grammar checker isn’t essential for every writer or student, but it’s a useful and affordable writing tool.
See How I Use Grammarly
- Excellent online grammar knowledgebase
- Another line of defense for authors who self-publish
- Useful for non-native English speakers and new writers
- You can switch between US and British english
- Some writers may balk at paying $29.99 a month for a grammar checker
- Not a replacement for a human proofreader or an education
Please let me know if you’ve questions about this Grammarly review or if you’re considering using another grammar checker in the comments section below.
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“Telescopes listening for signs of life in the universe, Voyager’s golden records (yeah, that’s definitely not a leap of faith lol), SETI – all these are a mixture of science and faith”
I’m with you on that one – my daily research is a leap of faith. I’m hoping that my line of research is actually going somewhere. But the science is science, and should be no matter what I hope.
“teachers and academic institutions are full of crap: the very fact that you can plagiarize yourself is ridiculous. If you write a paper for one class, you should be able to make a few modifications and turn in the same paper for another class, but no, that’s plagiarism – BS !”
On this topic, it’s something I’m learning myself. In science publications, the article that has been published by Nature or Science or any other journal belongs to the journal, not to the authors, legally. By submitting the article for review and publication, you are allowing the journal to protect your rights (by giving those rights to them). So if you want to talk about something you’ve already done, you have to cite yourself, or risk the anger of the journal.
In class, I assume it’s the same way: by turning in an assignment in my chemistry course, that paper will be “reviewed” by the professor and will become the property of that class. I can’t then turn around and submit that same or similar paper to an other class without first getting permission of both teachers – aka, citing my previous paper.
“the ONLY reason teachers get upset about plagiarism is because getting published is how they get promoted
They don’t want other people getting promoted from their hard work.
That’s a fair and valid point.
But nobody in the real world gives a shit about what stupid papers you’ve written. All they care about are actual results that make money or that you can do the job. Getting published accomplishes neither of these.
Getting published doesn’t make you a better nurse or medical doctor or pharmacist. Yet they are all required to do research and they pretty much have to be published to be hired because somehow this idea of research = competence has infected the real world.”
And this is the argument of yours I most disagree with (aside from the idea that “that’s just dumb”, and “that’s just stupid” are valid arguments). If you publish a paper in a journal, everybody else who publishes on similar topics cares what you’re doing. And so does the government or who ever else you convince to fund your research. The point of publishing is to communicate your research. Communicating your results is how people find out what you’ve been doing in your lab. And if nobody finds out what you’re doing, you can’t get funded for further research. No funding, no job. AKA, publish or perish.
We also publish because that’s how our peers can review our work – how well-reasoned it is, how clearly we can explain ourselves, and whether there are any flaws in our experiments or theoretical designs. In theory, peer review is how ‘bad science’ gets weeded out, so if you get published, that is a gold medal for doing good research (especially if you get published in a top journal).