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Grammarly Review – A Paid & Free Spelling And Grammar Checker

Grammarly Review – A Paid & Free Spelling And Grammar Checker

If you are a writer, then you are going to see adverts for spelling and grammar checkers all the time. Your browser history usually indicates that you are a writer, and the subsequent adverts you see will often have a “Writers” feel about them. For me, Grammarly pops up quite a bit. I tried it in my earlier writing days when I used to write college/university essays for students. I then tried it again just recently after our research team had tried it out.

Not a great deal has changed in the many years since I used Grammarly last, except that the tool works on more devices, on more websites, and it is obvious that they have expanded the comments they give about the work you are checking. Is Grammarly something that I would suggest to others? I have made it very clear who should and should not use Grammarly in my review below.

What Does Grammarly Do?

Grammarly is a spelling and grammar checker that you may use on different web browsers and on different devices. At its core, it checks to see if you have spelled things incorrectly, and then suggests what the software thinks you were most likely trying to spell. It does a similar thing with your grammar. It looks over possible mistakes and suggests corrections.

Screenshot of the Grammarly software

What Grammarly Doesn’t Do

Contrary to the suggestions that online spelling and grammar checkers make, Grammarly does not do your proofreading for you. Grammarly’s most basic functions include suggesting possible spelling and grammar corrections, but whether you take those suggestions depends upon your own research and knowledge.

For example, if the Grammarly software highlights “Priciple,” then it is telling you it is probably incorrectly spelled. You need to change the word “Priciple,” but what do you change it to? Do you change it to “Principle” or “Principal? Do you even know the difference between “Principle” and “Principal”? You are going to have to do a little research to decide which spelling/word you are going to use, the Grammarly software is not going to make that decision for you.

Grammarly does not do your proofreading regarding your grammar either. For example, it may ask that you put a comma after the word, “However,” but such a comma may be inappropriate in a line such as, “….however much I deny it, I love him.” You will have to know your English, or you will have to do a little research to see if you should add the suggested comma. Grammarly may help you do your proofreading, but it doesn’t do it for you, and taking its every suggestion a spelling and grammar checker makes is a big mistake.

What Else Does Grammarly?

Like many spelling and grammar checkers, the software is not just looking for spelling and grammar mistakes. It also offers suggestions regarding your vocabulary. It suggests new words or more appropriate words, and may highlight where you have overused a certain word.

Like other spelling and grammar checkers, it gives you information on things such as confused prepositions, the overuse of a passive voice, overly wordy sentences and repetitive words. There are over 250 issues it will check for, from obvious spelling mistakes to the misuse of misplacement of apostrophes.

Grammarly – Pros

  • Like all spelling and grammar checkers, the Grammarly software does have the capacity to save you time when you are proofreading. But, if you really care about the quality of your work, then you should proofread it word-for-word anyway.
  • If you do not want to proofread and you are only looking for glaring errors, then Grammarly and most other spelling and grammar checkers will help speed things up significantly.
  • Grammarly has created versions of itself that may be integrated into other systems. Most notably, it has extensions you can install into different web browsers. There is also a desktop app, a Microsoft Office add-in, and so forth.
  • Grammarly catches errors such as comma splices, the misuse of words, possibly confused words, spelling mistakes, and grammar mistakes. The developers say that the software is able to catch up to 250 types of mistake.
  • The software is good for people learning English because it will help them identify confused words, incorrect sentences, and may help enhance their vocabulary by teaching them new words.
  • I will admit that Grammarly is easy to use. They do not bother you with stats that you cannot understand or stats that you do not really need. Most web-savvy people will be able to use Grammarly without any fuss and with minimal training.

Grammarly – Cons

  • They are going to charge you a fee for using the software with certain types of web browser. Plus, what is the catch regarding the free use of Grammarly on certain web browsers?
  • There are so many downloadable and online spelling and grammar checkers that it is hard to see why somebody would use this software. It doesn’t add anything significantly different to some free spelling and grammar checkers.
  • Catching possible errors in style, vocabulary, structure and grammar may be good for people learning English, but it is not ideal for a large variety of other writers. Many writers break rules because it gets their message across better, or because it makes their writing more interesting/attractive/fun to read. If writers were to follow the suggestions that Grammarly makes, it may make their work appear stale, clinical and overly academic.
  • They publish reviews of their own product on their own website. What is the point of that? Why do companies do things like adding testimonials and reviews of their own product on their own website? Who is going to believe such reviews/testimonials?

The Downside That Is Not A Downside

The downside that is not a downside (of the software) is the people’s (user’s) tenancy to follow Grammarly’s instructions. For example, the software may say that a user’s text has overused a passive voice. The user then goes about and changes his or her text to get the passive voice score down. As a result, the writer creates a bunch of oddly worded sentences to replace the ones that have a passive voice. Even if the sentences are not awkwardly put together, they are still out of sync with the flow of the paragraph. They may also be out of sync with the writer’s writing style.

I was going to mention this in the “Cons” section, but that would have been unfair since it is not Grammarly’s fault. There are users that use Grammarly and take too many of its suggestions. They go back and change their content too much. They may not make the text stale or clinical, but they do damage their writing. The writing is damaged because it is overly corrected, its flow has been damaged, its style goes from regular to “corrected” and back again, and it has corrected sections that do not seem to fit with the rest of the article in terms of writing style.

Fees And/Or Charges

Grammarly is now free on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox browsers. Otherwise, you have to upgrade to their premium version in order to use the Grammarly software. You may try a monthly subscription that costs $29.95 USD per month, a quarterly Subscription at $19.98 per month, or an annual subscription at $11.66 per month. If you want the quarterly or yearly subscription, you will have to pay for the entire term up front.

grammarly screenshot of spellchecker results

Should You Trust Grammarly Reviews

As with most reviews, including this one, you should use extreme caution and sexy skepticism because there is always a chance the writer is biased. It is highly likely in the case of Grammarly because they have a generous affiliate program, which means reviewers are rewarded if people click on their adverts and/or sign up for the Grammarly paid service. Grammarly also has an aggressive advertising campaign where they are happy to pay websites the things such as views and clicks.

Conclusion – Is Grammarly Right For Me?

Is it right for me personally…no. My opinion is not the main thrust of this review. I am not saying that the software is bad, I am just saying that I do not like it personally. I am not a big fan of spelling and grammar checkers anyway because they make writing stale and clinical. Yet, there are other reasons why I do not personally like Grammarly. I don’t like paying for something that I can get for free, especially when you consider that there are many online services that offer spelling and grammar checking for free, and your word processor probably has a free spelling and grammar checker too. In my opinion and nothing more, I think Grammarly is a waste of money and I will not pay for it personally.

Grammarly is ideal for people who do not have English as their first language. I want to say that it is good for people who do not have a degree in English, but that is not true because there are other spelling and grammar checkers that work just as well for people who do not have an English degree.

You can learn from Grammarly. The things you write incorrectly will be highlighted so that you may change or check them. If you keep making mistakes, you may do research into why you are getting it wrong and you may improve your writing skills as a result. I just worry that some of the suggestions are not good for your writing. They will make you a more clinical and less exciting or original writer.

Grammarly Is Suitable For…

  • High School kids whose parents have got too much money
  • People who are learning English as their second language
  • Essay writers who want an academic and clinical piece of work

Grammarly Is Not Suitable For…

  • Bloggers and article writers because it will damage your writing style
  • People in higher education such as college or University
  • Writers who are able to access free spelling and grammar checkers

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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