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Grammarly is an online editing program that detects errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word choice. As well as flagging errors, it also provides explanations for each suggestion so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not to accept the change.
Who should use Grammarly?
Anyone who writes content that will be read by other people should use Grammarly. It’s suitable for students, bloggers, freelance writers, businesses, and academics. Even professional editors will find some benefits to using it.
A professional editor’s honest review of Grammarly
When I first thought about writing a review on the Grammarly editing software, I thought I would have more negative things to say than good. However, my opinion has changed recently. They have introduced some new features that I find useful.
I’ll start with the bad points though because I would prefer to be upfront about any drawbacks.
The suggestions are sometimes outdated
Grammarly sometimes highlights things that are not necessarily errors or things that used to be frowned upon but are acceptable now like splitting infinitives or using a preposition at the end of a sentence. Ending a sentence with a preposition is not necessarily incorrect. It often makes sense in the right context.
It doesn’t pick up every error
Sometimes Grammarly misses errors like where you’ve spelled a word correctly, but it’s not the correct word to use in the context.
For example, in my first draft of this post, I wrote the following sentence:
“You choose the appropriate dialect depending on what part of the word you’re in, where your target audience is, or if you’re working with clients from different parts of the world.”
I meant to write world, but Grammarly didn’t notice that I had used the wrong word.
Go home, Grammarly. You’re drunk!
There have been times when Grammarly has suggested something so wrong that I’ve wondered if I can trust it at all.
Take this sentence, for example:
“Being your best self means being you.”
Grammarly wanted to change this to “Being your best self-means being you.”
Umm, why? Maybe the language was too flowery for Grammarly.
However, if you’re diligent about reading through each suggestion, you can decide not to accept the crazy ones.
A word of warning
If you have absolutely no idea about correct grammar or punctuation, then I would not advise that you rely on Grammarly. It will lead you astray sometimes, and you could end up with some embarrassing results if you just blindly accept all its changes. If there are any suggestions that you think might seem a little bit strange, a quick google should confirm it. I would still suggest that you hire a professional copy editor or proofreader if you’re writing anything longer than 1,000 words.
Now, on to the reasons why I think you should use Grammarly.
It lets you check for errors based on different English dialects
Grammarly allows you to check that you are aligning your spelling and punctuation to American, British, Canadian, or Australian English. You choose the appropriate dialect depending on what part of the world you’re in, where your target audience is, or if you’re working with clients from different English-speaking countries.
When I signed up initially, it included only American and British English. Grammarly has since added Canadian and Australian. This feature is particularly useful for me as an Irish person who lives in Canada and works with mostly US-based clients.
Microsoft Word add-in
You don’t have to copy and paste your document into the app to check for errors. You can download the Microsoft Word add-in and check for errors within Word, saving you time and effort in the process. It’s also a hell of a lot better than Word’s spell checker.
No more embarrassing typos on social media
My favorite feature is the Grammarly Chrome extension (also available for Safari and Firefox). You can use this to check your spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. every time you write anything on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even WordPress! It also hooks up to Gmail, ensuring you don’t make any embarrassing mistakes when emailing potential or existing clients.
I use social media to promote my proofreading business, so I want to avoid making typos and putting off any potential clients. When I’m posting on social media, I’m usually typing really fast and make more mistakes than usual. Grammarly highlights those errors for me so I can fix them before posting.
If you’re trying to promote your business, it’s so important to look professional on social media. Grammarly can help you with this!
Grammarly recently added a keyboard app for iOS so now I don’t need to worry about using my iPad to send an email or post on social media. I’m going to add this to my cell phone as soon as they launch the Android version. I’ve heard it will be launching soon.
Of course, I always check my writing for errors myself as well, but I think it’s no harm to have a second set of eyes. As an editor, I will be judged more harshly for any mistakes I make.
Grammarly can make you a better editor
Grammarly has made me a better editor. I chose to sign up to Grammarly when I first started my proofreading business because I was so paranoid about missing something. I was skeptical that computer software would be reliable though, so I would research anything it suggested that I didn’t understand. Grammarly explains any changes it suggests, so I would read these explanations and do outside research as well if I needed to. As a result, I improved my knowledge of grammar and punctuation rules even further.
I want to be clear though; I DO NOT use Grammarly to do the whole job for me. I read through a document several times myself first and use my knowledge and skill to find the errors. A well-trained human editor is always going to do a better job than a computer. However, I do use it as the last step before I send a document back to a client. Just in case I missed something small.
So, do I recommend that you use Grammarly?
All in all, yes, I do recommend that you sign up for Grammarly as long as you take note of the drawbacks.
You can sign up to Grammarly and use many of its features for free. There’s no harm in just trying it out. If you don’t like it, you can stop using it. I think you’ll want to keep using it for the Chrome plugin and iOS keyboard features.
Once you get a feel for it, you can decide if you want to upgrade to the premium account. You get advanced grammar checks, a plagiarism checker, and vocabulary enhancement tips with the premium account.
There is a discount for signing up for a full year, and I’ve occasionally seen them running a sale, so if you’re lucky you might get it cheaper! There’s even a 7-day money-back guarantee if you decide that the premium account isn’t worth the money.
To learn more, sign up for Grammarly for free!
Have you found any other useful editing tools? Let me know in the comments below.
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