A Grammarly Review – How To Write Better In English

Summary

While it does take a little while to get used to how Grammarly operates, it does an excellent job of finding errors with your English writing.

I had a long article that I had already grammar checked with a couple of different tools. I thought it would be an excellent article to test out Grammarly with. Much to my surprise, I checked it using Grammarly premium, and it found almost 200 more problems.

Most were good finds (lousy grammar) which needed to be corrected. Among other issues, correctly spelled words, used in the wrong context, is still bad grammar.

Out of the 200 problems it found, I left only about 10 Grammarly recommended issues unchanged.

Overall rating :  4.5 / 5

Pros

  • A pleasant surprise is how big a help Grammarly is with regular online entries such as forum replies, web emails, etc..  
  • It catches a lot of grammar issues. More than my standard tools.
  • Suggested different words where appropriate.
  • Offers to check for multiple sentences together and whether or not they make sense.
  • Checks for punctuation errors.
  • A free version is offered with basic spell checking and critical grammar issues.

Cons

  • Month-to-month pricing for premium is not inexpensive.
  • Plagiarism checking is only included with the premium version.
  • Some web form text boxes may not be compatible with the Grammarly browser extension.

Why Is Grammar Important? 

In today's world of technology, it's become more prevalent in our rush to write something on the internet to simply forget about proper grammar and spelling habits.

All of us have probably seen a local news website with spelling mistakes, in a rush to get the headline posted. It looks unprofessional.

While grammar is most important to professional writers, students, and businesses, it also says something about you personally when using lousy grammar. People look down on it.

Think of all the different places online where you write something these days: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gmail, Instagram, and many other sites. Proper grammar in your writing increases your online credibility. Especially for the people who do not know you.

The Grammarly Browser Extension

The easiest way to get started using Grammarly is by installing its browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari.

Most people writing online do so from within one of these four browsers. Letting the Grammarly browser extension check your writing is the quickest way to improve it.

1.

The Grammarly icon appears in your web text box:

Grammarly Chrome Extension
2.

Spelling errors result in a red icon with a number for the count of errors found. Click the "SEE MORE IN GRAMMARLY" text link to pop the mistake into the Grammarly editor to get further details:

Grammarly Chrome Extension
3.

Additional details about the error found will be given. In this case, it's a spelling error that is easy to see:

Grammarly Chrome Extension
4.

In this case, you would click the green button to accept the spelling correction. You are then presented with a text link that brings you back to your original screen. Click this link to return with the corrected text:

Grammarly Chrome Extension
5.

After returning to your original screen, you'll see your corrected word, and the Grammarly icon will once again be green, indicating no further problems.

Grammarly Chrome Extension
6.

With grammar checks that are not clearly determined, Grammarly adds a yellow dot and/or count to its icon:

Grammarly Chrome Extension
7.

In this example, it was a capitalization warning. Something that I did accept the correction for:

Grammarly Chrome Extension

My Grammarly

My Grammarly is your workspace. There are two different ways to access this: web-based and a native app for Windows. Both work pretty much the same way, and the documents you check are synced between the two methods.

My Grammarly provides a way to create a new document, check it for Grammar issues, and then keeps a copy of it for redundancy purposes.

The Business version of Grammarly provides team sharing functionality, so I'm guessing that this interface is expanded to allow passing documents between different team members, etc. These features are something I do not need at this time.

Web-Based My Grammarly

1.

Grammarly is accessible from your browser the same as many other browser extensions: An icon to the right of the browsers web address.

Clicking this icon pops up a box giving you two different options: Either create a new document or go to your Grammarly Home or rather "My Grammarly."

Grammarly My Grammarly Web Document
2.

If you select the My Grammarly option, then you can see your previous documents along with an icon to create a new document:

Grammarly My Grammarly Web
3.

At the first popup box, if you click on the new document button instead of the "My Grammarly" button, you are then presented with the screen below. It's basically blank, a new document with which you can either begin typing or copy the text from your original editor and paste it into the Grammarly editor.

I usually write using a web-based editor, but for technical reasons unknown to me, Grammarly is not able to access it directly via the browser extension. I had opened a support request with Grammarly where they indicated it was a known issue that the developers were working on. For now, though, I would need to paste the text into the Grammarly editor to use for checking, and it's really quite easy:

Grammarly My Grammarly Web Document
4.

After you paste in your document, you'll be presented via a popup Window some questions to answer regarding the context of your article. This includes:

  • Intent: Choose one of Inform, Describe, Convince, or Tell A Story.
  • Audience: Choose one of General, Knowledgeable, or Expert.
  • Style: Choose one of Formal or Informal.
  • Emotion: Choose one of Mild or Strong.
  • Domain: A drop-down box pops up, allowing you to select one of Academic, Business, Technical, Creative, or Casual.

Based on your selections in this window, Grammarly checks your document accordingly:

Grammarly My Grammarly Web Document
5.

After your Goal selections, you then see your document with color high-lighted words and sentences. To the right of your text, you'll see another panel of Grammarly alerts or grammar issues that you need to address.

Grammarly My Grammarly Web Document
6.

Due to the inability to show all the detail from a full desktop screen in one image, I've selected three different versions of the screen. On a standard full screen, all three are side by side, easily visible.

6a.

Main Document

Your original text appears here. The dark red indicates a spelling error and that the box in the Grammarly alerts pane is currently displaying additional information on. The lighter red highlighted words are other spelling errors, but the alert is not open yet for these.

Grammarly My Grammarly Web Document
6b.

Grammarly Alerts

This pane sits alongside your main document. It gives you additional information on each of the highlighted words in your text.

You can navigate through these by either clicking on the highlighted word in your text, in which case the corresponding alert details open up. Or you can click on the alert, opening up the details and the editor will navigate to that word in your text.

Grammarly does not change any of your text automatically. You are presented with options, and in most cases, you simply need to choose one of them.

You can also see on the screen some of the problems associated with the yellow highlights. In this case, it could be choosing a synonym, adopting a completely different word, changing punctuation, etc..

Grammarly My Grammarly Web Document
6c.

Summary of Alerts

The third and final pane contains a summary of the different alerts. Each of the aggregated sub-totals is also a text link, which when click acts as a filter on the alert details shown in the second pane.

If you need to see only spelling errors, then click on spelling and that is all you will see highlighted in your document. These kinds of tools make it easier to edit and improve your text.

The "UPDATE GOALS" icon is another link that, when clicked allows you to change your initial goals values set.

The "PERFORMANCE" ranks your documents statistics against other Grammarly users with the same goal settings.

Grammarly My Grammarly Web Document

Native Windows App: My Grammarly for Windows

The Windows App for My Grammarly looks pretty much the same as the web-based versions. Since it operates much the same, there really is no need to details the steps involved.

I could see the Windows Application version being useful for offline editing, etc. It also has the "native" application function and feels instead of a web-based one.

Grammarly My Grammarly Windows

Grammarly for Microsoft® Office

Grammarly also provides an add-in installation for Microsoft Office. This add-in integrates with both Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook.

The Grammarly Word add-in works much the same way as the browser extension and native application versions. Included below is a summary of errors found in the Word document in a similar kind of presentation:

Grammarly Word Add-in

Grammarly Plagiarism Checker

With the kind of article I write, there are zero benefits to plagiarism. It only hurts me. I need to write unique content for the web. Having this kind of check is helpful so that I don't accidentally do it and suffer the results.

I can see that a plagiarism checker like this could be invaluable for teachers and students. Students especially are more interested in getting the job done in the number of words needed. Getting caught plagiarizing will most likely hurt their grades.

I could not find a lot of details on exactly how Grammarly's plagiarism checker works. What they say is it compares your text to over 16 billion web pages and academic papers stored in ProQuest's databases. That's certainly a lot of content to compare your writing against.

Grammarly Support

As mentioned earlier, I had a legitimate need to use their support services regarding their Chrome browser extension. It did not work as expected. They agreed but did not have an immediate solution. The workaround using My Grammarly's document import feature was acceptable to me.

At the time, I was still a "Free member," so I did not know what kind of support I would receive? Needless to say, I was satisfied. Their support personnel must have been in a different part of the world as each question from me did not get a response until the next day. That's normal with global companies these days.

Grammarly Handbook and Tips

Another exciting Grammarly feature, which is entirely free, is their Grammarly Handbook, or Tips. It's called a Handbook from their home page footer hyperlink but on the web page itself it's called Grammar Tips.

“Find answers to all your writing conundrums with our simple guide to English grammar rules.”

Grammarly

How many times have you had a grammar checker highlight words for you, without clearly explaining why? This online guide helps to explain these English language peculiarities.

Grammarly Grammar Tips

A big one for me is Passive Voice. How many times has Microsoft Word or another editor told you that your words are Active Voice and needs fixing?

Reading through some of this discussion helped me to understand better why it's not best to write that way. Although there appears to be much debate on the issue as not everyone thinks it's terrible. Personally, I do feel it's better for my kind of writing not to use it.

Grammarly Grammar Tips - Passive Voice

About Grammarly

One of the things that impressed me is just how big of a company Grammarly is. This is not some small company product. They have millions of users. Their products are licensed by more than 600 leading universities and corporations. They are an Inc. 500 company with offices in San Franciso, New York, and Kyiv.

Grammarly tools can be incredibly useful for those whose primary language is non-native English. Many of the English language oddities can easily be missed. It becomes evident that English is not your native language. Start using Grammarly today!

What is Grammarly Premium?

For this review, I did use Grammarly Premium. Not everything I've shown is included in the free version of Grammarly, especially the plagiarism checker. However, spelling and critical checks are included in the free version so I would strongly suggest you give it a try.

Once I understood how it worked, I was very impressed with the number of issues it found with my writing. I thought I had my documented reasonably well cleaned up using two different grammar checkers. I was surprised to see the number of issues that still needed fixing.

Side-by-Side Comparison of Free & Premium Accounts

Feature

FREE

PREMIUM

Critical grammar and spelling checks

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

Take Action: Keep It Clean and Write Your Heart Out

“Grammarly Premium is a perfect fit for those who always aim to reach the next level, whether they're at work, at school, or in pursuit of other ventures.”

Grammarly

Your Weekly Writing Update

Grammarly also sends out a weekly email entitled "Your Weekly Writing Update." Most likely this is to keep in touch with their customers, especially those who have not upgraded to premium. It's a creative way of staying in touch, though, ensuring customers will open the email and read it.

What it contains is statistics on how you have used Grammarly. These are stats almost anybody would want to see:

  • Productivity: You were more productive than 98% of Grammarly users. i.e., 45,157 words checked.
  • Mastery: You were more accurate than 51% of Grammarly users. i.e., 669 alerts shown.
  • Vocabulary: You used more unique words than 98% of Grammarly users. i.e., 2,754 unique words used.
  • Top 3 Mistakes
Grammarly - Your Weekly Writing Update

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