PROS / Ginger highlights grammar and spelling errors in real time as you type in web-based applications, including social media and blogs.
CONS / It cannot find errors in punctuation and does not explain the reasons behind errors. It does not identify plagiarism.
VERDICT / Ginger's online version offers some great strengths, such as real-time corrections as you write in web-based applications, and it speaks your text, but there are a few glitches to be worked out in this developing online grammar checker.
Ginger online grammar check is a contextual grammar and spell checker that works in web-based applications and word-processing software such as Microsoft Word. The online version is great for social media. It finds your grammar, usage and spelling mistakes, whether you're writing in Facebook's Status window, Twitter's Tweet field, LinkedIn's Share window, in blogging applications or on other sites.
This online grammar checker has strengths but scored lowest in our Accuracy tests. That dragged down Ginger's overall ranking on our lineup. The product has several glitches and drawbacks that prevent it from performing to its fullest potential. For example, it does not work in the Firefox browser, though developers say it will. And while Ginger found errors in Facebook and LinkedIn, it did not function in Google Docs and displayed glitches in Twitter.
Despite its drawbacks, Ginger has great potential. One built-in tool can read your text aloud. That's a great benefit for anyone learning English. Ginger speaks word for word, and has good pronunciation. It sounds a bit like Apple's Siri. The voice is easy to grow accustomed to, so you can use it to learn pronunciations. We tested it a couple times and found some glitches. The first time, it read only about 200 of our 300 words. We couldn't get it to continue. The second time, the highlighted area that moves through the text with each spoken word was out of sync. The spoken words were ahead of the highlighted words. Still, this will be a great tool once the glitches are worked out.
Another developing strength is Ginger's mobile version. It currently works on devices with the Android operating system. You download a Ginger keyboard app and switch it with your own virtual keyboard. Full functionality, to point out mistakes as you write, is only available on Android 4.1. On other Android versions, you must type your text and click Ginger It to see the corrections.
There are two components to Ginger: the proofreader, which you download free and install on your computer, and the Ginger Coach learning center, an online service for which you pay. While other online grammar checkers charge an annual subscription, Ginger's cost is a relatively low one-time payment, or you can pay a small monthly subscription fee.
You can drop a limited amount of text – 600 characters, or about 125 words – into the small proofreader and it will highlight errors. However, the Ginger online version handles any amount of text, and points out mistakes in real time, as you write in applications through your web browser. It's the preferred method of grammar correction.
The Ginger Coach keeps score of your grammar proficiency by tallying an ongoing score, along with a breakdown of your spelling score and grammar score. It tallied our scores when we wrote in Microsoft Word. However, it failed to tally our score when we wrote in Facebook. A few glitches need to be worked out.
This grammar checker also keeps track of items you need to work on and gives you practice exercises. You simply correct errors pointed out by Ginger and practice sentences that reflect those mistakes are presented in the Ginger Coach.
One section focuses on words that split and merge, such as everyday or every day, and sometime or some time. You can practice common proper nouns and auxiliary verbs. It has a section on correct word usage, participles, spacing, consecutive nouns, sentence capitalization and differences in U.S. and United Kingdom English.
When using Ginger, press F2 and a large bar appears across the top of your screen showing a sentence with a mistake and the possible corrected sentence. You can skip the mistake or hit approve to have the error fixed in your text. In addition to pinpointing grammatical errors, the online spell check highlights spelling errors. After you skip or approve spelling and grammatical errors, the next one pops up in the bar to let you go through the entire text one mistake at a time. You can make all your corrections consecutively in the large bar, or correct them in your text by moving your cursor over a highlighted error and clicking on the correction that appears.
A few drawbacks to Ginger include that it does not find errors in punctuation, sentence structure or numbers usage. It doesn't identify passive voice or plagiarism, and it does not explain the reasons behind errors. The company does not offer telephone support or live chat.
Ginger scored low in our Accuracy test, but the strength of its online version is that it highlights mistakes in real time as you write in online applications, including social media, blogs and other sites. Another strength is its verbal text reader. It's a great boon to non-English speakers who are learning the language. In addition, this online grammar checker offers the Grammar Coach learning center that tracks your mistakes and offers practice for improvement, as well as a mobile version. Ginger is remaking itself, so there are some glitches to be worked out in its services, features and tools. Nevertheless, this product has great potential.