Whether you’re a veteran or a virgin to the world of writing, Grammarly is one of those tools that can help improve your prose. Grammarly has got to be my favourite writing tool of all time. Even at the standard membership level the functionality is fantastic. I’ve lost count of the number of times Grammarly has saved my bacon when just as I’m about to submit an article I see the highlighted number at the bottom of my screen.
I have to admit that I’ve become obsessed with getting the G sign at the bottom of everything that I write that it’s taking me twice as long to post even a Facebook update. But, I do think that this is making me a better writer. Grammarly forces me to review everything I write, and that’s no bad thing. I continually have to think how to rephrase sentences to eliminate errors, and thus am expanding my vocabulary and understanding of the rules of grammar.
So, what do you get with the basic service?
- If you use Chrome and add the extension, then you get an online spell and grammar check as you are typing.
- Contextual spell checking.
- Access to the Grammarly Handbook. An excellent resource for the rules of grammar.
- Weekly reports. These show how many words you’ve written, your error rate, and the number of unique words you’ve used. The report also tells you how you compare to the other users of Grammarly.
What does the Premium service offer?
To be honest, when I saw what the premium service offered, I wasn’t sure that it was worth the subscription fee. I have been using a draft blog to write my articles, so I didn’t especially need the MS Word add-in. And, I no longer use Outlook as my mail program, I much prefer the flexibility and functionality that Gmail gives me. However, I did like the look of the additional error checking that was being offered, so I thought I’d give the premium service a whirl for a month.
- MS Word Add-in
- In-depth explanations of the grammar error. This function is exceedingly useful, as it allows you to understand your mistakes, and so educates you not to make the same mistake again.
- Access to the extended grammar-check function. Grammarly will provide correction for a further 250 grammar rules.
- By highlighting any word, Grammarly will offer a range of synonyms to use.
- A plagiarism Grammarly goes off and checks the web for sections of text that already exist.
First up, the MS Word add-in. It certainly isn’t as slick as the online version; I find it sometimes gets stuck on a misspelled word despite my having corrected it, and I end up having to delete and retype it. However, being able to utilise Grammarly’s functionality from within Word has certainly made my life easier.
There are a couple of things to note about the add-in; both the Ctrl-Z and auto-save functions are disabled. Ctrl-Z I can live with, but I’ve lost count of the times that the auto-save function has saved me from losing an article, so now I’m starting to obsess about saving my work.
The premium subscription also offers in-depth advice and corrections for my writing, and this is what I wanted to take for a comprehensive test drive. It’s like having a personal tutor sat by your side giving you a nudge every time you make a mistake, and then explaining why it’s wrong. I’m finding that rather than just scanning an article for the mistakes and correcting them I am now making far fewer mistakes because I understand why they’re wrong.
Is Grammarly for me?
I guess it depends on what type of writer you are, and what type of writer you want to be. There’s absolutely no reason not to sign up for the free version as it will improve your writing. And, if you’re happy with the way you write, and you’re not too bothered about the odd error, just stick with that. However, if you’re writing professionally, and you care about what people think about you then paying for the premium version is a good investment.
If you have used Grammarly or are still using it, then let me know what you think of it by commenting below.