I’ve been told that I’m a good writer, but I question my abilities on the regular. In our Grammarly review, we’ll look at all the ways this tool helps everyone become better writers.
While I think “good writing” is, for the most part, subjective, I have been on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to my work.
I’ve thought, “Oh, boy, now that’s a Pulitzer-winning 200 words, right there.”
And I’ve thought, “I can’t do words good.”
No matter who you are or what you write, though — whether you’re writing an email to Grandma, or pitching an article to Forbes — you want to avoid grammar and spelling errors.
Writing is a form of communication, after all — and if your writing is bad, it won’t get your message across.
Fortunately, there are editing tools to help you out.
What Does Grammarly Do?
Grammarly’s mission is “to improve lives by improving communication.”
They go beyond spelling and grammar, ensuring that everything you write is clear, engaging, and professional. Or casual. Or friendly. Or whatever you want it to be.
Premium Grammarly users are stressing less over their writing, and are developing stronger writing skills. No matter what you’re writing, Grammarly will help you self-edit like a pro with style-specific corrections and suggestions.
Grammarly wants you to feel heard and understood — the essence of communication.
Founded in 2009, Grammarly says their “values inform everything” — from who they are as a company and a team, to what they build and present to the world.
And with over 20 million people across the globe using Grammarly’s AI-powered products, Grammarly is well on their way to achieving all they set out to do.
How Does Grammarly Work?
When you use Grammarly, you can choose between a wide range of tools:
1. Grammarly’s Text Editor
You can use Grammarly’s text editor as a central place to write online. From there, you can experience the full benefits of their product, and customize the types of writing suggestions you see.
2. Native Grammarly Apps
If you prefer not to write in your browser, Grammarly’s native apps will bring the corrections and writing tips to your desktop. Write within the app, or import your files, and Grammarly will work its magic. Make your changes, and export a new and improved document with all original formatting still in place.
3. Grammarly’s Mobile Keyboard
The keyboard is especially great for those of us who sometimes have to work from our phones. Grammarly’s mobile keyboard offers suggestions directly through your device, reducing silly typos and embarrassing autocorrects.
4. Grammarly Browser and Email Extensions
Grammarly’s browser extensions provide corrections and suggestions on basically any website that has a text box — including Google Docs, Medium, Twitter, LinkedIn, Squarespace, and WordPress sites. Grammarly’s tone detector for Gmail is one of my favorite features.
Grammarly’s text editor and native apps also offer plagiarism check, and an option to send your documents to a team of experienced proofreaders for an extra fee.
You can customize your writing goals with each new document to ensure the tone and style you’re aiming for is coming across in your writing. Of course, you can choose your language preferences too, and add your own words to your Grammarly dictionary.
Some other handy features of Grammarly’s text editor and native apps:
- See the estimated read-time of your documents
- Get word, character, and sentence counts
- Learn your document’s reading score based on the Flesch Reading Ease test (Tip: Aim for 8th grade)
- See the vocabulary diversity of your documents
If you find yourself scratching your head at a writing suggestion, Grammarly offers an online handbook to help you brush up on some basic grammar rules.
How do I love Grammarly? Let me count the ways:
- Grammarly helps you learn while you write
- It doesn’t just correct your spelling and grammar — it gives suggestions on how to improve your writing, and explains each recommendation
- Checks for style, and offers tips to refine your tone of voice
- Provides definitions and synonyms for overused words
- You can create unique goal profiles based on each document’s style
- It’s convenient, with a wide range of access and usability
- There are three premium plans available: monthly, quarterly, and yearly
- Automatic updates! — no need to repurchase or download new software
- They offer Grammarly EDU and Grammarly Business accounts
Okay, nobody’s perfect:
- The free version is limited — you’ll only get spelling and grammar corrections
- A premium subscription is pricier than some competitors’ plans, and there’s no option for a lifetime subscription or one-time purchase
- There is limited functionality within Google Docs — but wait a second, because there’s an easy work-around…
How To Use Grammarly Premium in Google Docs
One turn-off for me initially was that I couldn’t access Grammarly’s premium features within Google Docs. As a freelance writer, I need Grammarly to work everywhere.
Here’s how to use Grammarly’s premium tools in Google Docs:
- When you’ve finished writing, download your document as a .docx file
- Import your file into the Grammarly native app
- Fix it up, make all the changes you need
- Export the edited file
- Import the edited file back into your Drive (delete the old document, so you don’t get mixed up)
- To make additional revisions within Google Docs, open the new file from your Drive as a Google doc. You’ll find all formatting still in place, and all changes applied from the Grammarly app.
Who Are Grammarly’s Competitors?
ProWritingAid is more of a style-checker than it is a grammar tool, and can integrate with Google Chrome, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and more. The free version scans only the first 500 words of your document, which isn’t very helpful, considering that ProWritingAid is said to be best for long-form content. ProWritingAid offers 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, or lifetime premium plans.
In my opinion, Grammarly and ProWritingAid are the iPhone and Android of the grammar-checking-software-world. You’re either in one camp or the other — and once you’re there, you probably won’t leave.
Ginger claims to correct grammatical mistakes and proofread as a human would. Ginger offers a free version, but of course, the premium version offers more functionality with context-specific grammar checks, a Microsoft Word add-on, a built-in plagiarism checker, a “sentence rephraser,” and a native app.
Some users report that Ginger is a bit behind in terms of usability, but that the quality of corrections, feedback, and writing suggestions make up for the user experience.
Whitesmoke is compatible with various browsers and devices and offers a built-in plagiarism checker. Whitesmoke also checks for spelling and grammar errors, sentence structuring, punctuation mistakes, and writing style.
Whitesmoke doesn’t offer a free version — they offer 1- or 3-year plans, and have options for businesses, as well.
The Verdict: Is Grammarly Worth It?
I use Grammarly every day, so yes, I believe it’s worth it!
Grammarly does what it says it will do: it catches spelling and grammar mistakes, offers tips and suggestions to make your writing easier to read, helps you self-edit and improve your content, and functions where and when you need it.
If you type words, use Grammarly to check them.