It’s happened to the best of us. We eagerly draft up a new blog post or pop off a Tweet, and long after it’s been made public, we catch it: a horrific typo. Whether we used the wrong form of “its” or “their,” or we misspelt a common word, grammar or spelling mistakes can be embarrassing in the best of circumstances. What do you need? Something that can help you catch typos before you leak them out into the world.
There's seemingly millions of proofreading programs out in the world today, but Grammarly's one of most popular. Is it for you? Let’s take a look.
Grammarly features a desktop app, a Chrome extension, and an in-browser program. All are free to use though to get more out of the program beyond basic spell and grammar checking, like advice about sentence structure and active/passive voice, you’ll need to swing for a premium account.
The free version is, however, fairly substantial by itself. We found that Grammarly was able to catch everything from extremely obvious typos (like misspellings) and even minor goof-ups like a misplaced comma. Many of the typos that Grammarly caught and corrected were ones that Microsoft Word missed. Contextual spellings, which a lot of grammar programs miss, were usually found by Grammarly, though it’s not perfect.
The in-browser checker AMI and the desktop app allows users to upload documents in order to review them or simply copy-paste into the on-screen editor. If you’d like to use Grammarly directly in Microsoft Word, you’ll need to swing for premium. There is, unfortunately, no Grammarly extension for other popular writing apps like Pages or Google Docs but uploading documents or copy-pasting should have you covered.
What Premium Offers
Premium, of course, offers plenty of bells and whistles for serious users. While pricey (you can either opt for a $29.95/a month plan or go for a one-time payment of $59.95 for a four-month plan or $139.95 for an annual one), you do gain access to features such as a plagiarism checker, customized checks for different styles of writing (essays, emails, articles, and more), and Microsoft Office-friendly features.
Whether it’s worth the cost for you depends on how heavily you plan on using the program. If you’re a serious writer or a non-native English speaker, you may get a lot of use out of premium, especially when it comes to improving your writing style.
The Chrome Plug-In
But one of Grammarly’s best features is free, and it’s the browser extension available for any Google Chrome user (and clever Vivaldi/Opera users who know how to install Chrome apps on their browser).
This is where Grammarly shines. It is able to help proofread emails, Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, and more. Grammarly often caught more typos and grammatical errors than Chrome’s own spell checker during our trial. It was easy to use and set up, working well within WordPress, Facebook, and many other sites we tested it out with. Unlike other grammar checkers or extensions. Grammarly was content to hang out in the background and intrusions were minimal.
Overall, we found that Grammarly was one of the more comprehensive spelling/grammar checkers on the market. The free version has plenty to write home about. But, the premium version has merit if you see yourself getting a lot of use out of Grammarly’s premium features. The price is steep. However, serious writers or bloggers may be able to justify it to themselves as a work expense. While Grammarly is no substitute for always reviewing your posts, it provides a valuable second look.
Come for the spell checker, stay for the browser extension.