It’s been a while since I reviewed Grammarly – about three years, to be exact. In my last review, I concluded that Grammarly was a great tool for new writers and those writing English as a second language. Would anything change this time round?
Getting Started with Grammarly
Grammarly is a web-based tool, which also integrates with programs like Microsoft Word and Outlook.
The main Grammarly interface is a page where you can paste the text you want to check for grammar errors. You can also upload a document into the interface. The two middle buttons on the top menu allow you to review the text for grammar and spelling errors or to check for plagiarism. When you’re finished, you can use the next two buttons to copy or download the corrected text.
I decided to test Grammarly on a blog post – my recent review of Scrivener. After pasting my draft into the checking window, I used the drop down menu under the review button to select “blog post” as the style, then I pressed the button. Grammarly took under a minute to check the 1400+ word document and gave me a score of 65/100, with 43 issues found. I then worked my way through these to see if I agreed.
What Grammarly Found
Issues highlighted included:
- A missing article – Grammarly didn’t like the use of “content” without an article (something content marketers might have a problem with) – in fact, the tool generally disagrees with me on proper article use.
- A missing comma – I agreed and corrected it by clicking on the green comma beneath the explanation. Grammarly also found another missed comma but incorrectly identified a third instance which was part of a colloquial expression.
- A repeated word – I’d typed “cheat cheat” instead of “cheat sheet”.
- A British expression – where I said “wrapping my mind round” instead of “around”.
- A couple of redundant words – two “actuallys” and a “generally” that needed to be omitted.
One thing that mystified me was that in spite of selecting “blogging” as my preferred style, the Grammarly web tool appeared to test for formal language. That’s probably why it marked all my contractions as errors. Overall, though, it did a creditable job.
Just for a rounded picture, I also tested Grammarly on a piece of academic writing: an excerpt from my Masters thesis. The tool found two errors and gave a score of 78 (which seemed low given that the text was mostly correct).
I also used Grammarly’s plagiarism checker. It correctly identified my text as 100% plagiarized (because it was already live on my site) but incorrectly identified the source, citing a website that had syndicated my content. Still, it did the job, and seemed to work just as well as Copyscape, my usual plagiarism checking tool.
Grammarly in your Browser
Finally, one thing that IS different since my original review is that Grammarly now provides a browser extension for checking spelling. It’s an unobtrusive tool which doesn’t slow down the browser and pops up when it spots a potential error. I love it, because it cuts down on the number of typos when leaving blog comments or writing social media posts.
Overall, I still believe Grammarly works best for writers who need a little extra help with grammar, sentence construction and writing. In contrast, experienced writers can benefit from finding and eliminating some of the verbal tics that characterize their writing. With 3 million plus people using it, the tool is worth a try. You can take it for a spin from the Grammarly home page or check out the Grammarly video.
Have you tried Grammarly? What did you think?