After using a variety of online grammar checkers services for over a month, I think Grammarly is the best one available. Compared to the competition, it isn’t as buggy or slow, and it catches more errors and offers good suggestions for fixing them.
Grammarly is especially helpful if you have a pretty good handle on grammar and punctuation already and know what you’re doing. I’m not sure I’d recommend this program to English language learners, students or writing novices. It’s a useful tool that can find technical errors, but the program struggles to give significant feedback about content overall.
I ran Grammarly through a handful of tests and used the program in my everyday writing for over a month to get a sense of how helpful it is. The software finds comma errors with ease, which is one of the most common mistakes I saw as a writing instructor. It out-performed Microsoft Word in detecting and correcting errors, which, while not difficult to do, makes it worth the investment if you’re concerned about missing details in your writing.
For the tests, I devised a document that contained sentences with common English grammar mistakes as well as student-written sentences that contained errors or bad habits to avoid when writing. Grammarly scored a 60 percent detection rate, which, while not great, blew the competition out of the water; the next best score was 30 percent from ProWritingAid.
Grammarly has a free version, which is useful, but the service wants you to upgrade and is constantly reminding you about all the features you’re missing out on. While the free version corrects a few basic errors, it also hints that there might be more wrong with your work while you use it. Because of this, I wouldn’t recommend installing the program unless you plan to upgrade to premium.
Once you’ve signed up for the free version, Grammarly begins sending you emails for discounts on the premium plan, so I also recommend waiting for those before you upgrade to the full price option.
When you compose in a larger document, you have to enable a session to get feedback from Grammarly. You can then scroll through the doc to fix errors. In case an error confuses you, the system provides a short explanation for its suggestion. While helpful for someone well-versed in grammar and punctuation, these aren’t quite learning tools. They function more like reminders.
When you purchase the premium version, you get weekly status updates that let you know how you’re doing, which I thought was a nice feature. The updates tell you how many words the program checked as well as what your top errors were.
With Grammarly, it’s best to wait until you finish composing before you check for errors. Even though it is better at checking your work as you go than any other program, there’s a lag in its ability to register when you’re fixing typos on your own. As such, you’ll want to wait to click through the review rather than try to edit within the text box or digital document.
Grammarly works on Chrome, Safari and Firefox. One of the factors that makes Grammarly the best choice for an online grammar checker is how easy it is to use on different web apps and even in Microsoft Word. Unlike other grammar checkers, the application isn’t intrusive, and it appears in texts boxes online. Many of the other programs I evaluated made it hard to accurately identify the problem text, but Grammarly’s red underlining is easy to see and clearly marks where the error is.
When you’re in a text box, you need to click an icon at the bottom to get Grammarly to pop up so you can see details about corrections that need to be made. The site then redirects you to a suite where you can read the text in your email or message with more details and helpful input from the checker. There’s a short lag while the software analyzes your content, and it adds a few extra steps to your writing process. However, Grammarly’s helpful and correct suggestions trump the slight delay.
The service has an online hub where you can manage all its settings. You can compose and save documents within Grammarly if you’d like, and you can also install an application on your phone to check your writing on the go.
While I think Grammarly functions much better than its competition, its price tag is a little much. It costs just under $30.00 for the premium version every month. While I like sending my documents without typos, that’s not a small chunk of change for a beefed-up version of Word’s editor.
The cost of the service is lower when you pay upfront for longer periods of time. The annual plan is the best deal if you can handle parting with $139.95 upfront. You can switch to any of these plans whenever you’d like, so I recommend trying the monthly version for a while before committing to the quarterly or annual plans.
Grammarly lets you select American or British English, and you can select a writing genre. This is very useful because you use different voices when writing for different audiences, and it’s great that Grammarly can adapt to different types of projects.
The application also makes it easy to ignore its advice, which is especially helpful if the software gets something wrong in your document, which happens occasionally. In addition, you can add words to your dictionary. I found this feature useful when I used uncommon terms intended for an internal audience.
Registered subscribers can get 24-hour support from Grammarly’s site via a request feature. If you can’t find the answer you need on the searchable FAQs page, the system prompts you to submit a ticket. The service promises to respond to your concern within a day. When I submitted a help request on the site during business hours, it only took a half an hour to receive a response from the team.
From the homepage, you can create or upload documents and edit them directly. You can also add a Grammarly extension in Microsoft Word. While I found this grammar checker the least intrusive and buggy, there were times I had to wait for it to load, and sometimes it didn’t immediately register the changes I made within the document. I’d have to exit out of the app and reopen it to get a better sense of what I still had left to fix.
Grammarly is a nice tool that can help you avoid typos when working online. It’s not quite good enough to keep those who aren’t confident in their writing abilities from making big mistakes in their content. It also adds a few extra steps to your writing process, and there is a slight delay while the system checks your work.
As a professional writer, I found the more advanced checker useful, especially since I work on several different projects at once and generate thousands of words each week. I liked having another set of eyes on my work, and using the program gave me extra confidence before I sent my writing to my editor.
While it’s nice not to miss a comma in an email or while posting on social media, I’m not sure the program is worth its hefty price tag month-to-month, especially if you’re a novice looking to learn more about writing.