L.A. Kennedy

Beyond the story

Pros and Cons of Grammarly

What is Grammarly?

Grammarly is a widely used online grammar checker. It corrects spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. In addition, it enhances your vocabulary by identifying and correcting contextual errors. Another advantage is the tool helps to improve your writing style and makes your written word more engaging and effective. Other useful areas where Grammarly contributes are correcting improper word placement, modifying article use, and enhancing your verb-to-adjective agreement skills.

Think of Microsoft Word’s spelling and Grammar checker, but with a focus on the green wiggly lines and a better explanation of why they are there. It’s been rated by Top Ten Reviews as gold and is influencing discussions around the importance of grammar in careers.

Main features of Grammarly are:

  • Comma splice
  • Comma usage
  • Integration with Gmail
  • Integration with social media
  • Missing articles
  • Misspelled words
  • Outdated spelling
  • Repetitive words
  • Weak adjectives

PROS:

  • Real-time grammar correcting
  • Highly accurate. This grammar software doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes. Occasionally, it can misunderstand what you’re trying to say or put a comma where you don’t necessarily need or want one, but overall, it has a high rate of accuracy
  • Using Grammarly is pretty easy, it’s very simple and intuitive to use.
  • You can run through the errors, one by one, choosing to change or ignore, with each grammar rule explained as you go.
  • There is no question that Grammarly is a lot more thorough than anything you will find in Word’s grammar checker. It can pick out commonly confused words, like ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ or ‘affect’ and effect’. It also explains either in long or short form (your choice) what the grammar rule is that you have potentially broken.
  • Grammarly can run in your Word program or run it in your browser. (I’m a fan of using it to check my emails, before sending. Autocorrect can be a botch.)
  • You also have the opportunity to learn with Grammarly. Every time you review a document it tracks the type and frequency of errors to build up a picture of your weaknesses. On your dashboard, you can see an average score for your work, and access a personalised handbook with detailed explanations of the grammar rules that you personally get wrong most often.
  • The site offers specific advice for six categories: Casual writing, Business writing, Creative writing, Technical writing, Academic writing, General writing. This feature could use a little more polish, but it holds a lot of good advice.

CONS:

  • There is a download available for a plugin for Microsoft Word, but there’s no version available for Word for Mac.
  • You need to have a pretty good grasp of grammar and structure to decipher the explanations and then decide if they are actually applicable to your writing. The error spotting is sometimes speculative, meaning there is still quite a bit of work to be done on your part.
  • Grammarly does not spot all misuses of correctly spelt, but misplaced words, and sometimes does not recognise poorly constructed sentences.
  • Although there is a free version, it is minimal. The free version provides Grammar and spelling checks, but does not include: Checks punctuations grammar, context, and sentence structure, vocabulary enhancement, genre-specific writing style checks, plagiarism detector (checks over 16 billion web pages).
  • Aggressive advertising. This company wants you to upgrade – they really want you to upgrade.

Alternatives:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Scrivener
  • Pages
  • Freedom
  • Google Docs
  • Evernote
  • FocusWriter
  • FastPencil
  • Hemingway App

Overall, I find Grammarly to be a useful tool for what I’m using it for. I like the tips and hints, suggestions, and learning where I struggle most. For the right person, Grammarly can be a useful tool. The downside, English is a living and fluid language, rules change and Grammarly doesn’t appear to keep up with the changes.

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