A lot of writers tend to balk at the idea of using software to check their writing. Whether you write professionally, casually, for school, or even just writing emails, you think “I don’t need something else checking my writing”.
But here’s the thing: you probably do. No matter how proficient you are at writing, how masterful your grasp of the English language, or how many times you read over something, you’re still going to miss something. We all make mistakes, and we can’t always catch all of them. That’s where a grammar checker (or proofreading tool) can come in, as it can notice the mistakes we often miss.
And if you’re going to go for a grammar checker, Grammarly is probably the best out there. It offers the most features with the most ease of use, which is why it’s used by millions of people every day.
Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at all of the pros and cons of Grammarly, as well as the difference between the free and pro versions.
What is Grammarly?
Grammarly is a software that checks your writing for errors in spelling, punctuation, clarity, convention, and more. It is like having your own personal proofreader but on your computer.
This software is available as a browser extension, add-on, and even a mobile app, so you can use Grammarly on nearly any device.
Compared to similar tools, Grammarly goes above and beyond. It checks for more mistakes than any other software. It is capable of detecting differences in convention (say, writing “color” even though you’re using British English).
Grammarly can also provide feedback on its suggestions, so you know why something is wrong, rather than just being told it’s wrong.
For professional and casual writers alike, Grammarly can be a great service. For those who are great with English, it will help catch the mistakes that slip by you. And for those still learning, it will help you improve faster.
Why you should use a grammar checker
Using a grammar checker doesn’t mean you’re not good at writing, or that you’re dumb. All it means is you are making effective use of all the tools at your disposal, to help make your writing the best it can be.
If you write academically, software like Grammarly can help your work sound more informative, academic, and less clunky. For professional writing, it helps you appear more professional and have fewer mistakes.
Even for writing emails or social media posts, it can help make sure your point gets across clearly and concisely. No matter what kind of writing you do, a tool like Grammarly can be helpful.
Plus, you have nothing to lose by trying out Grammarly if you use the free version. It doesn’t require any fancy setup or credit card information, and you can get started with improved writing right away.
There are a lot of pros to using Grammarly. Many call it the best grammar checker out there, and for good reason. Here are some of its best features:
- Clarity: Grammarly will help your writing be more clear, so you get your message across more efficiently.
- Ease of use: Grammarly’s simple interface makes it incredibly easy to use. Nearly anybody could figure it out in under an hour.
- Catching mistakes: If all you want is something to catch the mistakes you miss, then Grammarly can easily do that. It will help keep your writing the best it can be.
- Appear more professional: With Grammarly’s help, your emails and business copy will sound more professional, so you appear more professional as well.
- Education: Grammarly Premium gives you education with every suggestion, so you can learn more about why something is incorrect. This helps you improve your writing knowledge for future use.
Of course, no software is without its setbacks. Although Grammarly’s pros heavily outweigh the cons, there are still some things you should be aware of:
- Price: Being such an advanced software, Grammarly is also the most expensive grammar checker out there. But remember, there is a free version.
- It doesn’t replace a human editor: Nothing can. But while it can’t give you all the feedback a person might be able to, it can certainly be much better than having nothing.
- Grammarly isn’t perfect: No software is. Sometimes its suggestions won’t be correct, and so you have to be mindful of that and think about each suggestion. But all in all, it’s right most of the time.
Grammarly’s free features
Many pieces of software like Grammarly have free versions that are severely limited versions of their product. They have most of the features cut, or can only be used for a limited time. Grammarly does neither of these: while it definitely has fewer features than the Premium version, it is still a very helpful tool and can be used indefinitely.
Grammarly’s most common use is catching spelling mistakes and small grammatical errors, and the free version can do all of that. It will catch errors in your spelling and punctuation and make you aware of them.
It also lets you choose which version of English you want to use, depending on where you or your target audience are. This also allows Grammarly to catch common mistakes, like spelling something in American English when you write in Australian English.
Whenever Grammarly catches an error, it will highlight it in red. You can simply hover over the highlighted section to see the feedback, and if you want to accept the change, just click on it.
You can also use the side menu to navigate through all the suggestions Grammarly has made for your text, instead of having to click on each one.
Grammarly doesn’t just provide help with small errors, though. It can suggest what words you might have meant when you misspell something.
It can also suggest replacement words to make a text more clear or formal. For example, replacing “good” with “beneficial”, if that is a more specific and fitting term for that sentence.
Grammarly also offers readability scores when working directly in the Grammarly editor. This score tells you how much effort it will take for someone to read your writing, and can be a good mark for what level of professionalism your writing is at.
Plus, Grammarly can pick up on tone in emails, so you know what your writing sounds like. This lets you make adjustments if you’re not getting the tone you’re looking for.
Lastly, Grammarly’s free version will tell you how many mistakes and suggestions the Premium version found. Of course, without upgrading to the Premium version, you can’t see these suggestions— except for the one or two free ones you will get every now and then.
Grammarly’s Premium features
The free version of Grammarly is already a very advanced tool, and much better than most other tools out there. But its Premium version contains all of its free features, plus many more, to turn it into software that can greatly improve the quality of your writing.
To start off, Premium detects more than just simple spelling errors and can look at errors in word order or sentence structure. But it also goes beyond grammar, to give you more suggestions to improve your writing.
It offers more word suggestions than the free version, including more substitutions. Grammarly Premium is often much more helpful for finding the most useful word.
The Premium version is also much better at detecting mistakes in context. Sometimes, a word or grammatical choice may be technically correct but doesn’t make sense in the context of your piece. It will help find these kinds of errors.
Grammarly Premium also checks for plagiarism, which is a big help. Sometimes, plagiarism isn’t intentional: with how much writing is out there, it’s inevitable that you will accidentally copy someone else every now and then. But Grammarly can help you catch these instances, so you can make your writing more unique.
One of the best features of Premium is the feedback. With Premium, you don’t just get told something is wrong— you get told why it’s wrong. This helps improve your writing knowledge and make your writing better long-term.
Lastly, Grammarly Premium allows for personalized feedback. Whenever you start a new document, you can adjust the settings to clarify your writing goals for that specific document, based on intent, intended audience, style, emotion, and domain.
Then, Grammarly can provide suggestions that help with this specific goal. It provides you a much more personalized way of getting your writing exactly where you want it to be.
The free version is, of course, free, and can be used indefinitely. But if you want all of the features Grammarly has to offer, you’ll have to upgrade to Premium.
Pricing for Premium starts at $11.66 a month if you pay annually, and goes as high as $29.95 a month when billed monthly. And if you want it for a business, you can get a business plan that allows for multiple users and admin features.
Grammarly: The final verdict
All in all, Grammarly is an incredibly powerful tool that can do a lot to help you improve your writing. It checks for small errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar, acting as a proofreader for your work.
It can also provide more advanced suggestions to improve clarity, sentence structure, and word choice. It makes your writing more clear and effective.
Grammarly can also provide personalized feedback, so you get the best support possible with each document you write. It can even go so far as helping you achieve the tone you want, and make sure your writing is right for your desired audience.
So no matter what kind of writing you do, Grammarly can really help you. And if you aren’t sure about it, start with the free version. You have nothing to lose, and once you start using it, you probably won’t want to stop.