You know, negative reviews don't always help? When I started blogging regularly a few years ago, I opted not to give Grammarly a try because I heard some people say it was useless. Some people, the actual users? I don't know. I can't remember. Online language translators could often come up with hideous results, and perhaps I wasn't quite ready to trust any AI-based tools in general.
It was only a few months ago I decided to use Grammarly, and it quickly became my friend. English is my second language after all. I decided to get the premium version. A little annoying, a bit too obsessive with punctuations, but it still helps me a lot. The plagiarism checker is a bonus, and I'm pretty happy with it. I want to say I'd recommend it to any bloggers and content writers, but not everything seems to go fantastically well...
Where To Use Grammarly
#1 On Your Browser
I use Grammarly document online. Sign in to my grammarly.com account, start typing in a blank document and when finished, copy the whole text and paste it onto my WordPress content builder (I use Thrive Architect).
A blank page of Grammarly is saved in my browser's favorite bar, so I don't actually have to sign in every time, I can access to a blank template by one click.
This may be obvious, but Grammarly is in plain TXT format, so it's also useful when copying some quotes from another webpage or wherever and pasting it without worrying about the different font size/style, etc. On the other hand, when you copy the text and paste it onto your own document, you need to do re-formatting. Space between paragraphs, bullet points, etc.
You can upload your existing file onto your Grammarly account. Supported file types are; Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), OpenOffice (.odt), TXT and RTF. It doesn't support Apple Pages.
You can also download your finished Grammarly document, but only as the TXT format.
#2 Mac App
Grammarly app is available to install on your Mac. Your app is automatically synced to your web account, and your document is saved every now and again, so the moment you open your app, the document you were typing on your browser a minute ago is there.
But the app is just identical to the web version, I don't see the point in using it. Plus, the app uses up a lot of CPU and makes my 2-year old Mac dramatically slow down, so I don't use it.
For Windows user, Grammarly for Microsoft Office is available, that must be handy when you're creating Word document.
#3 Browser Extensions
Grammarly browser extensions are useful. I have it installed on my Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Also available for Edge.
When the extension's installed, it automatically detects your misspelling or poor-quality phrases (premium version) as you write your social media post, forum post, website comment, etc.
It's supposed to work on your WordPress editor, but unfortunately it doesn't. With the latest version of WordPress (5.1), it works on a header box, but as soon as you change it to paragraph text, it stops working. It also works when replying to a comment, that I find useful.
Grammarly Free Version
The free version corrects critical grammar and misspelling for you.
If English is not your second language like me, perhaps it's worth giving it a try. I didn't start to learn to speak English until I was around 20-23, and I forever have a problem with definite articles ("the") and indefinite articles ("a"/"an").
Grammarly will alert you of the wrong phrase on the spot as you write, and come up with a suggested/correct phrase. You click it, and the correct phrase will replace your wrong phrase.
Same with the spelling check - instead of merely highlighting a misspelled word, it will come up with a suggested/correct word, so it will save you time from googling to find out the right spelling.
You can set your English preference from the choice of American, British, Canadian or Australian.
Although I'm from the UK but my Mac is in US English for convenience, because I have more customers, contacts and site visitors from the USA than anywhere else in the world. Grammarly helps me with words that confuse me every time, such as jewellery (UK) or jewelry (US), diarrhoea (UK) or diarrhea (US) and so on.
Grammarly Premium Version
Firstly the premium version allows you to set your writing style, and it suggests different words and expressions accordingly.
For example, if you set your goal (writing style) to "Business" and "Formal" but write "You know this, right?"... It will tell you to remove "
,right?" because it may sound unconfident.
Critically incorrect grammars and misspelling that are available with the free version will be highlighted in red. And other advanced suggestions will be highlighted in yellow. It will suggest a lot more; a different word when you've repeated the word that you used in the previous sentence or a different sentence structure when passive sentences have been overused.
Very strict with punctuations. I sometimes feel it's too obsessive, but that's their call! For example;
It does often make wrong suggestions though. If you think Grammarly's suggestion is wrong, you can click "Incorrect Suggestion".
I somehow thought this "Incorrect Suggestion" facility might report back to Grammarly and eventually improve the system, but sadly it doesn't seem to be the case.
Firstly I type "Normally, you don't have to do this." Grammarly highlights the word "Normally" in yellow tells me to use either the word "Usually" or "Typically" instead because the word normally is often overused.
So I click "Incorrect Suggestion". Now if I write any sentence that starts with "Normally, you" Grammarly will not warn me again. But if I write "Normally, he..." or "But normally, you..." the same suggestion will pop up again. So it's not as intelligent as I thought (just yet!)
One of the HUGE advantages for me is to find synonyms. All you have to do is to double-click any word in a document, and it will come up with synonym suggestions. I no longer need to use Thesaurus!
I find Grammarly's plagiarism checker very useful. Although I'm aware that there are a bunch of other good plagiarism checker tools out there, this is a nice bonus. It checks a document against "billions of" websites, will highlight plagiarized sentences in purple, and find out how many % of the content is copied from which website URL.
Just today, someone forwarded me his "original" article to publish on this site as a guest post. All I had to do is to upload the document onto Grammarly and click "Plagiarism" button. Within less than 60 seconds, it told me over 80% of the content was an exact copy from other sites. It's a shame about this person, but thanks to Grammarly for the excellent job.
It May Let You Write Faster?
Because I can't trust my own grammar, before I got this tool my writing style was always to stop and question every sentence as I wrote. Plural or uncountable? Should this follow by "that" or "which"? Does this paragraph make sense? Now I can (sort of) rely on Grammarly to take care of that part. I actually find myself writing much faster than I ever before. But I'm only talking about my own experience and you might not agree with this.
Grammarly Review - Summary
I know it may be far from perfect, but see it as one of my essential tools for blogging. I first decided to try the premium version for a month, used it every day and was more than ready to pay 12 months in advance, which is the best value at just over $11 per month.
If you haven't tried Grammarly, try the free version (free forever!), and see how you feel.