As a writing instructor, ProWritingAid is the online grammar checker I’d recommend to my students. The software looks for common problems in writing structure, though it missed some of the smaller punctuation errors that Grammarly fixed. Still, it provides substantial feedback you can use to improve your writing assignments or creative projects.
It was hard to measure how ProWritingAid’s grammar checking abilities stacked up against those of other programs because it works a little differently – it looks for structural problems as well as grammar and punctuation errors. The system highlighted and flagged more problems in samples of student writing than any other software, but it didn’t catch as many small punctuation errors in the sentence tests I ran.
I tried both the free and premium version of this product. I liked the premium version’s add-on features, but didn’t feel like I was missing out when I used the free online tool. This was refreshing after using Grammarly’s free version, which inundated me with emails suggesting I upgrade to access important features.
One of ProWritingAid’s drawbacks is that it doesn’t edit while you compose. It asks you to upload your text after you’ve already written and read through your work once or twice. Then, it analyzes patterns in your writing, checking for repetition and overuse, clichés, and alliteration, which are all tendencies editors want their authors to avoid. It also makes sure your sentences aren’t too long, too short or too similar so there’s enough variety to keep your reader engaged. In addition, ProWritingAid is useful if you’re a creative writer because it highlights common problems that can keep your dialogue from moving at a good clip and slow down your readers.
The software’s feedback isn’t as cut and dry as that of other writing checkers. Since most grammar checkers prioritize editing punctuation over giving comprehensive document feedback, they make it easy to accept changes. However, ProWritingAid doesn’t give succinct suggestions – it just highlights problems to bring them to your attention. I think it’s worth warning you that not all the edits ProWritingAid suggests are necessary or even good, so you need to evaluate which ones to include in your final document.
I tried the plagiarism feature on student assignments submitted to state universities, and the checker didn’t flag anything as copied, which may be a problem if your school has a standard no plagiarism policy. The software did alert me to copied material when I pulled text from the Top Ten Reviews site to see if it worked.
If you want text editing software you can use in your email accounts or on social media, you should look elsewhere. ProWritingAid doesn’t fully integrate with web browsers, and it’s too much work to copy and paste everything you write into the program’s composition suite – this software is designed for longer documents like novels, reports or essays. However, the site does have add-ons for Microsoft Word and Google Docs (though it calls the Word version an “add-in”) that let you use many of its tools while working in your preferred composition suite.
You can adjust a variety of settings in the preferences section on the program’s website. For example, you can select different tools to apply to your work, though the site warns that adding additional checks without removing others may make your customized report too complicated to read. I recommend selecting only a few and tackling one problem at a time. You can also search for specific problematic tendencies you have as a writer by typing text into the website’s User Patterns section. I also thought the option to adjust the frequency settings to check for repeated phrases was nice, especially when working on long documents.
ProWritingAid’s help and support team is very responsive. When I asked questions about the software, I received answers within a few hours via email. Like most sites, it would benefit from having a live chat support option so you can have your questions answered right away.
It would also be nice if there was a search bar on the FAQs page, as it would make it easier to use. A contact phone number would also be helpful in case you’d like to speak with someone directly to work through problems you might encounter.
At only $3.33 a month, I think that ProWritingAid is worth the investment. However, you might want to stack it with a more traditional grammar checking software that can catch small punctuation and grammar errors.
ProWritingAid is a great way to unearth problematic tendencies in your writing. This program isn’t designed to rewrite your content, but it can point out things you might’ve missed. If you’re looking for a program to clean up grammar and punctuation errors before you hit submit, you’ll want to stick with the much more expensive Grammarly because it catches more of these problems and can be used as you work online or within documents.