Advanced learners of English who use the language daily frequently struggle with grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary.
We often find ourselves:
Furthermore, both native and non-native speakers alike can experience a lack of inspiration while writing and use several simple words over and over again.
Such issues can slow you down, frustrate you, or even have a serious impact on your performance at work or school. If writing in English is part of your everyday job, Grammarly may be the tool you are looking for to get some help.
Grammarly is an online grammar checker, designed to proofread your written work and look for all different types of mistakes you might have made.
At its core, Grammarly checks if you have made any spelling errors (or accidental typos), have used grammar properly (e.g., maybe you incorrectly conjugated a verb), or if your punctuation is in place.
This multifaceted system takes only several seconds to detect your mistakes. The errors are highlighted in the text and divided into separate categories on the right-hand side of the dashboard. You can review them in order or pick and choose between different categories or sections of your article.
When it comes to these basic features, Grammarly is really helpful both for students and teachers. Firstly, this system notices minor mistakes in spelling and punctuation that are sometimes difficult to detect. In addition, it also reminds us of the rules we constantly break (but shouldn't).Consider this example:
Here, Grammarly did the following:
Importantly, Grammarly solves all those dilemmas with prepositions very easily. As the example below shows, the system highlights the incorrectly used preposition and suggests a correct one. You can accept the change with a click of your mouse, and it will be applied immediately.
Furthermore, a feature called "Conventions" checks for dialectisms (words or phrases found in a particular dialect), capital letters, spaces before or after punctuation, number formats and so on.
Grammarly does not only help you improve your spelling, grammar, and punctuation, but it also works on boosting the readability and uniqueness of your article. That said, the system will highlight words and expressions that are not necessarily incorrect but would sound better if phrased differently.
Grammarly performs this task in response to:
For example, there is no need to define everything as "interesting" when there are so many synonyms. Grammarly has a built-in thesaurus for this purpose. I find this tool extremely useful whenever I am facing a writer's block.
Grammarly is not a huge fan of the passive voice. The system will automatically highlight all instances where you chose the passive voice, and suggest that you consider the active voice instead.
Sometimes, these suggestions make sense. However, other times, particularly when you are speaking about specific locations (e.g. "The building is located in…"), you might find these suggestions irrelevant.
With Grammarly, you will quickly discover that you are probably using many more words than you need to. If you are working with strict word counts, this feature could be a lifesaver. In any case, concise texts are more readable, regardless of who your audience is.
You can see here that (thanks to Grammarly) I managed to cut four words out of this phrase, and still retain the same meaning.
In addition to identifying words that everyone uses way too much, Grammarly also takes note of any words you use too many times in your text. This built-in feature saves you a lot of time you would spend browsing through online dictionaries. With Grammarly, you can make your vocabulary richer in a matter of seconds.
Even though ending a sentence with a preposition is not incorrect, Grammarly is aware that doing so might make some readers feel like it is poorly written. For this reason, the system always recommends you rephrase your sentence, and it gives you clear examples to help you with the process.
I often get confused about where to put my modifiers. Sometimes, this comes at the cost of splitting the verb, and other times, the whole meaning of the sentence can change or become unclear. Grammarly helps with that by spotting the misplaced modifier and recommending a correction.
Evidently, for every identified error or suggestion, this grammar checker offers a brief explanation of what the problem is and why it might be better to write it differently. You can extend the text box to gain access to a few examples by clicking on the three dots tool (which says "More") in the bottom right corner.
Other features include:
It is particularly useful if you are working on an academic piece, or reviewing someone's work. You should be aiming to keep your plagiarism score as low as possible, and use citation when needed.
When you click on "Insights", the system presents a nice overview of your document. In addition to the word count, Grammarly also approximates how much time on average it would take to read the document or to present it.
This tool also checks how many rare and unique words you have, which contributes to the overall readability score. The score is a determined by the level of knowledge of the English language needed to read your document successfully.
Foreign words which are not commonly used in English will not be recognized by the system and will be identified as incorrect. However, you always have an option of adding new words to your dictionary if you think you will use them again.
Grammarly also gives you an opportunity to arrange for a human proofreader to check your document. You will be charged extra for this service.
There is a big difference between writing in an informal style and a formal style. If you let Grammarly know which style you are using, for what audience, and what your main goal is, the system will adjust its suggestions accordingly.
Although the tips the system gives regarding wordy sentences or synonyms are supposed to change, I haven't noted any differences.
The standard way of using Grammarly is through an online dashboard where you can upload the document that needs to be checked and then download it again to your computer once you are done.
You can also work directly on Grammarly so that any mistakes you make are corrected on the spot.
A more practical way would be to download the Grammarly App for desktop (works for both Microsoft and Mac OS), or to add it to your Microsoft Office as a plugin.
You can also install Grammarly as a Safari, Mozilla, or Chrome plugin. This will not only help you with the documents you submit to the online platform but will also check your chat boxes on different websites, your emails and social media posts. That way, you can be error-free even when you're chatting with your friends.
If you are satisfied with the free version, which only checks your typos, punctuation, and basic grammar, then Grammarly is completely free.
However, the other features described above, such as vocabulary, readability, and plagiarism check, come with a cost.
The major problem about Grammarly is that it is a bit overpriced. If you are looking for a month-long subscription only, this will cost you $29.95.
Sometimes, Grammarly sends good deals to your inbox immediately after your free registration, so you can pay half of the sum above.
If you are confident that Grammarly is something you will need for the entire year, the $139.95 worth annual subscription is probably your best choice.
In addition, Grammarly has a unique deal for businesses, where three or more people can use the package for the monthly price of $10 per person.
So let's consider the pros and cons of Grammarly.
Grammarly is not cheap. Unless you write every day to make a living, or use it in school intensively, Grammarly might be a bit on the expensive side, even with the best deal.
In my opinion, the free version can definitely cover your basic needs, and it suffices to ensure your articles and emails won't have most typos or grammar mistakes.
In conclusion, Grammarly is not meant to replace a human proofreader. I recommend that you always double-check every suggested change instead of accepting all of them, otherwise you can put the quality of your article at risk.
Nevertheless, this tool is most useful for all non-native speakers (or even native speakers) to solve those eternal dilemmas about prepositions, articles, or punctuation.
It is definitely a good resource for all bloggers and writers who might need a little help to make their articles more readable.
Finally, Grammarly is also an excellent pool of resources any of us could use to improve our language skills.
Thank you Maja for your detailed review and insights! Grammarly indeed seems like an invaluable tool for English teachers and learners. That is why we decided at Really Learn English to become an affiliate and officially recommend it to our readers.
If you are considering giving Grammarly a try, please do so via our affiliate link: