At least 50% off from FlexSub

Subscribe Now

Everyone makes mistakes in their writing, including professional writers. Even after you've mastered the fundamentals, searching for higher-level grammar and style nuances can be exhausting. Grammarly, which bills itself as a writing assistant, can assist in these situations. This writing app provides real-time suggestions for spelling, grammar, and style changes and can even edit for specific genres. Grammarly's paid subscriptions are a little pricey, and the service does not work offline, but its support for many platforms and ease of use make it well worth the cost.

Improving Grammar (Almost) Everywhere

Grammarly costs $29.95 per month, $59.95 per quarter, and $139.95 for the entire year. If this price appears to be too high, keep in mind that Grammarly frequently offers subscription discounts. You get customised checks for different document types, a plagiarism filter, and a function to help you diversify your vocabulary for the price of admission, among other benefits. Grammarly also has a free version that checks for critical spelling and grammar mistakes. Grammarly's Business tier costs $15 per month per member and is billed annually.

Grammarly has native desktop clients for both Windows and macOS, as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, as well as a Microsoft Office add-in (now on both Mac and Windows platforms). Grammarly is also available as a mobile keyboard app for Android and iOS.

Grammarly also works with Google Docs and Medium, two other popular writing platforms. The Google Docs integration recently gained new features, which I'll go over in more detail later. To get Grammarly's full Google Docs experience, you must still use the Chrome Extension.

Grammarly should be added to Apple's iWork Suite, as well as LibreOffice or OpenOffice for Linux users.

Getting Started and Security

Grammarly compares your writing to its database of content and style errors, as well as data collected anonymously from its daily active users. The disadvantage of this real-time model is that Grammarly requires an internet connection in order to function. Grammarly highlights critical errors in red (spelling and basic grammar) and advanced errors in other colours (style and best practises) when used, though the latter feature is only available to premium users. Hovering over any of the highlighted words or phrases brings up the option to either directly fix the error or read a more detailed explanation of the error.

I like how the descriptions are written in simple language and use sample sentences to demonstrate errors. It's more detailed than the built-in grammar chequers in Google Docs and Office 365, though the latter's is rapidly improving. I also find Grammarly's error count, which appears at the bottom of every document, to be an effective way of indicating how much editing work remains.

You should be aware of the potential privacy and security risks associated with any software that monitors what you type. For example, Tavis Ormandy, a Google security researcher, reported a vulnerability in how the Grammarly browser extensions handle authentication tokens in 2018. Grammarly fixed the problem shortly after the release, noting that the vulnerability only had the potential to expose data saved in the Grammarly Editor.

Even though Grammarly handled the response well, you should still be cautious when using software that can view and modify your input. However, Grammarly differs from a keylogger in a few key ways. Grammarly, for example, asks for your permission to access what you're writing and visually indicates when it's working. Grammarly is also "blocked from accessing anything you type in text fields marked "sensitive," such as credit card forms or password fields, according to a company representative. I still recommend that you disable Grammarly for such sites in case they are not properly configured, as well as for sensitive legal documents. It's worth noting that Grammarly's bug bounty programme on HackerOne is open to the public, and that Grammarly keeps a page about its security practises, including encryption (Grammarly uses the SSL/TLS 1.2 protocols to secure connections and AES-256 to secure data at rest).

Grammarly's Apps

I installed the Grammarly desktop app on my Windows 10 machine and had no trouble signing in. The app looks great and the layout is very functional; I especially like the dark accents and minimalist icons on the side panel. Users can either compose text directly in an editor or import an existing document.

Grammarly claims that if you simply copy and paste text from a Word document into the app, it will only retain bold and italic formatting, lists, links, and headers. During testing, I discovered that it also retained underlined text. Use the import tool to add the document if you want to keep the full formatting of the text (including paragraph spacing). While working in the Grammarly editor, you will not see any formatted text, but the document will retain all of its original formatting when exported.

You could just write directly in the Grammarly app because the editor now includes formatting tools for bold, italics, underlines, headings, links, and lists (both numbered and bulleted). However, it's probably easier to continue writing in Word or Google Docs and use the Grammarly tools that are specific to those platforms.

Click the Profile icon within the desktop app to make changes to your personal dictionary and switch your writing language between American, Australian, British, and Canadian English. Grammarly is currently only available in English, so it will not supplement language learning software unless you are attempting to learn English. The right side of the window within a document contains tabs for spelling and grammar errors, premium writing checks, a plagiarism checker, a human proofreader option, and an overall writing score based on these factors. As previously stated, the writing score is useful for quickly assessing your writing progress and determining how much revising you still need to do.

Goals and Performance are two other features that are available. When you import a new document, Goals appears; it assists Grammarly in adjusting its edits based on the context of your writing. You can, for example, specify your intent (inform, describe, persuade, or tell a story), audience, style, and emotion. Premium users can select from a variety of writing domains, including Academic, Business, and Creative. The Performance popup displays general information such as word count and reading time, as well as vocabulary and readability metrics. These metrics are calculated by comparing your results to those of other Grammarly users, and the Readability score is based on the Flesch reading-ease test. Both additions make Grammarly more useful at a higher level than simply checking for errors.

A consistency check is another feature available to premium Grammarly users. Grammarly will essentially scan your document for and offer to correct inconsistent styling of dates, abbreviations, times, and capitalizations. Consider this feature to be a more advanced find-and-replace function with the added benefit of automatic detection. Grammarly was quick to detect these types of errors, suggest fixes, and implement the changes in a single action during testing.

For instance, I typed the date, May 1, three times: May 1, 1 May, and May 1st. Grammarly recognised each variation and offered me the option of converting each instance to one of the three formats. The editor, on the other hand, failed to notice that May 1 and 5/1 were equivalent, nor that 5/1/19, 5/1/2019, and 5/1 should be standardised (although it did recognise that these phrases were repetitive when present in back-to-back-to-back sentences). Grammarly's detection is quite useful, so I hope it expands in the future.

Web and Program Add-Ons

On the web, the Grammarly plug-in checks everything you write in real time, from emails to taking notes. The extension highlights errors with underlines in the same way that it does on other platforms, and you can click on each word to learn more about the error. Please keep in mind that if you use a content management system, Grammarly may insert code into the source text at the location of the error. Inconsistent or unnecessary code on any page is never a good idea, so you should disable it on such pages.

Grammarly's most recent update enhances the user experience in Google Docs. Grammarly's clarity, engagement, and delivery suggestions (the latter two are only available to premium subscribers) have been added to the Set Goals module, in addition to a new dedicated sidebar. These features are only available through the Grammarly extension for Google Chrome; if you use the Grammarly extension for other browsers with Google Docs, you will only get inline edits.

The Microsoft Office Add-in can be found in the Office Ribbon for both Word (Mac and Windows) and Outlook (Windows). You can change the types of issues that appear in your current document, such as spelling, punctuation, and style errors. Grammarly appears as a sidebar window and displays errors in the context of the document. Details can be found by clicking on the specific corrections. Although opening Grammarly previously disabled Microsoft Word's revision tracking and Ctrl + Z shortcut, both features now work with the add-in active in our testing.

A Useful Companion

During testing, I found myself using Grammarly quite frequently. You could argue that Grammarly encourages lazy writing, which is partially correct, because some people will use its thorough checks without bothering to learn from the insight it provides. It is well suited for people who are actively looking to improve their writing, but it also caters to users who are unaware that they require assistance. Grammarly's true value is in highlighting your most common errors and assisting you in avoiding them in the future. In my testing, I occasionally found the real-time edits distracting and disabled Grammarly so that I could finish typing a thought without being interrupted. Grammarly may be more useful as a final check for errors and inconsistencies during the revision stage of your writing process.

I couldn't tell much of a difference between Grammarly's free version and the built-in spelling, grammar, and style checker in the latest version of Microsoft Office. Both correctly identified spelling mistakes, convoluted phrases, and improper grammar usage. Grammarly's advanced editing checks, which help you clean up all of the sloppy grammar tidbits, suggest alternatives to commonly used words, and provide contextual edits for clarity, are extremely helpful. Grammarly, for example, is a stickler for removing unnecessary commas. Another obvious advantage of Grammarly is that it can be used in more places throughout your workflow.

Both Grammarly and Office occasionally make incorrect suggestions, demonstrating the importance of paying attention to edits rather than just accepting them mindlessly. For example, it suggested I include an article in a few places where one was not required. However, some users may object to the lack of a "Accept All" button for some of the more basic spacing and comma usage errors. Even grammar authorities like AP, Merriam Webster, and Oxford disagree on some rules like hyphenation and capitalisation, so no grammar-checking tool is perfect. Grammarly, for example, advised me to capitalise the word "kanban" because "it appears that the word kanban may be a proper noun in this context," even though Merriam Webster and Oxford do not.

Grammarly Insights is an email that Grammarly sends each week that summarises your writing activity. This gave me some useful information, such as the three most common errors I made, as well as metrics that mostly correspond to what the desktop editor's Insights tab shows. It also displayed some interesting statistics, such as the number of words it checked and the number of unique words I used.

Grammarly Improves Your Writing

Grammarly's greatest strength is its thoroughness when it comes to spelling, grammar, and style suggestions. Grammarly's premium version is a luxury at $29.95 per month, but writers of all types can benefit from incorporating it into their workflow. Although we would like to see an offline mode, recent enhancements such as improved Google Docs support and the launch of Grammarly for Word on Macs make the service easy to recommend.

At least 50% off from FlexSub

Better, flexible and cheaper subscriptions for a wide range of services in just a click of a button.

Get started now