I’ve been a professional freelance writer since 1993. And I’ve been editing books articles and other content for the past seven years Because of that, I never thought that I would need a program such as Grammarly.
And when it comes right down to it, I don’t NEED a program like Grammarly because writing and editing come naturally to me. However, I recently decided to purchase Grammarly just to check it out to see if it would be helpful for other people. If you’re looking for an in-depth Grammarly review, you’ve found it. 🙂
What I found out is that this program is a good way for me to check the first and final draft of my work. Even though I write and edit professionally, I don’t always have my editing hat on when it comes to my content. Even when I do, I may miss mistakes in my writing that I would easily catch in other people’s writing. I also find it helpful to use Grammarly as one other little step in the process of checking other people’s work, in case I missed something in a previous edit.
For instance, sometimes my fingers go faster than my mind can keep up, and I may type “you’re” when I mean, “your.” Naturally, I know what’s right, but that doesn’t mean that I always do it! Grammarly does an excellent job catching contextual spelling errors.
I also have a tendency to be wordy, and this program doesn’t hesitate to point that out to me! With Grammarly’s help, I’ve often broken what was one sentence into two or three.
Enough about me. Let’s talk about whether or not Grammarly would be a good fit for you.
The short answer is most likely, yes. Regardless of whether you consider yourself a writer, or simply feel a need to write, this program can help you improve your writing, and help you catch big or small mistakes.
If you’re wondering if you should use Grammarly if you’re hiring an editor, I still say yes! The reason is that it’s all about the money. As an editor myself, before I give a quote to a potential client, I first evaluate the book manuscript to determine the level of editing it needs. I then base my quote on whether the book needs just proofreading, light editing or heavy editing. Grammarly can take a manuscript that needs heavy editing and turn it into something that needs just light editing, thus reducing the cost of editing.
In an Ideal World
In an ideal world, Grammarly PLUS a real, live editor is best. But the ideal world can be expensive and experienced “grammar police” charge a pretty penny. Shelling out the big bucks is an enormous problem for many authors, especially for those who are just starting out, and not exactly raking in the dough.
If that describes you, then hands down, I’d recommend that you purchase Grammarly. If you’re on an especially tight budget, you can buy just one month of use for $29.95, which is nothing compared to the cost of hiring a book editor. If you think you’ll need it longer term, there are quarterly and annual options, which reduce the monthly cost down to as little as $11.66 per month.
If you’re like me, you want to know all about a program before investing it in. Before you buy, consider what I really like about it, and a couple of tiny things that I wish were different.
Grammarly Works Great with Microsoft Word
Like it or not, Word is still the most common word processing program out there. It’s no doubt the most common program people use when writing books.
After I subscribed to Grammarly, I immediately installed the Grammarly add-on to Word. It happened so easily; I can’t even tell you exactly how I did it. All I know is that with a couple of clicks, there it was.
You can enable or disable it at any time. For instance, as I’m writing this post, I have it disabled because I don’t want to be distracted by corrections while I’m writing. Once I finish writing this post, I’ll click on “Enable Grammarly” (as pictured below), and the program will work its magic.
Grammarly Has Different “Rules” for Different Types of Writing
As you can see in the picture below, by default, “General” writing is selected.
When you click on the drop-down arrow, the following types of writing can be selected:
- General academic
- Case study
- Book/literature review
- Research proposal
- Research results
- Admission letter
- General business
- Business letter
- Business email
- Article/blog post
- Ad/website copy
- General technical
- End-user assistance document
- Technical documentation
- Marketing document
- General medical
- Regulatory writing
- Educational writing
- General creative
- Creative non-fiction
- Short story
- General casual
- Personal email
- Personal blog post
Grammarly can be Accessed Online
I prefer to use the Microsoft Word add-in because it is more robust, and I simply prefer writing in Word. But the great news is, if you don’t have Word, or don’t like using it, or for whatever reason, you don’t want to install the add-in, you can also upload your documents to Grammarly online, and check and edit them there. You can also copy and paste content from other places, such as your website and have it checked online.
This is a good option for you if you compose content outside of Word.
It’s Easy to Make the Changes that Grammarly Suggests
Accepting or rejecting a change is as easy as making a single click. In the image below you can see that Grammarly suggest that I remove the comma. If I click on the word, Grammarly automatically makes that change.
If I disagree with Grammarly’s suggestion, I click on the “x” to ignore the recommended change.
Grammarly Provides Instruction
Going back to the example where Grammarly suggests that I remove the comma if I’m not sure why it recommends that, I can click on the drop-down menu for an explanation.
Initially, it gives a brief explanation, but if I want to read more to get more in-depth information, I just click on “More” and it expands.
This is a great option because it helps you understand what mistake you may have made, teaches the basic principle, and gives examples. You can use instruction to improve your writing.
Grammarly Checks for Plagiarism
I don’t have this option enabled because I do all of my own writing, and of course, am not plagiarizing anything. But this is a great way to check work by a writer you hire. This can be hugely helpful since a big complaint that I’ve heard by people who hire writers is that it’s often discovered that the “bargain writer” has simply copied big chunks of Wikipedia articles and the like.
All of the above are good reasons to use Grammarly, but there are a couple of minor things that are important to consider.
Grammarly Doesn’t Yet Integrate with Some Popular Programs
It would be great if Grammarly integrated with everything I use, but it doesn’t. For instance, a Grammarly plugin for WordPress doesn’t yet exist. Obviously, there is a workaround in that I can compose my blog posts in Word, use Grammarly to check it in Word, and then copy and paste it into WordPress.
To be honest, I think it’s better to compose your posts in Word anyway so that you have a backup of all your posts rather than the only copy being in WordPress. But if you prefer to write your posts inside of your WordPress dashboard, you’ll have to copy and paste them into Grammarly, and then re-paste the corrected post back into WordPress.
Update: Dima left a comment on this post stating that you can use a Chrome app in WordPress. I tried it, and it does now work. There are still some programs that it doesn’t work with. For instance, I can’t use Grammarly in a Google Doc or in a Word doc in OneDrive. What I now do is write my content in Word in OneDrive and then use the “Open in Word” rather than “Open in Word Online” option for editing.
While I’d like to see more integrations, when you consider the huge number of different types of writing that Grammarly checks (refer back to the bullet points above), it’s obvious that they cater to a variety of writing styles, and it’s probably not practical for it to integrate with everything, so they chose the most common programs such as the desktop versions of Word and Outlook.
Grammarly Isn’t Human
It should go without saying that Grammarly isn’t human, but it’s an important thing to keep in mind because software simply can’t “think” to the degree that a human being can. When it comes right down to it, no computer program catches everything. It can’t determine if there are contradictions between information presented in one part of the book and information presented in another part of the book. It also can’t determine whether or not something doesn’t make sense, or is boring.
Because of this, if your budget permits, I recommend hiring a professional editor for your book. You can still use Grammarly to clean up your first draft before handing the book over to an editor. That can save you some cash since editors tend to charge based on either the quality of the manuscript or by the hour.
I definitely recommend it for checking blog posts, since it’s generally not cost effective to pay someone to edit blog posts.