PRODUCT REVIEW

No-BS Grammarly Review: Worth It or Skip It?

Daniel Midson-Short
June 30, 2020

Not everyone is a writer.

And the English language isn’t exactly simple.

That’s where a service like Grammarly comes in.

  • Is Grammarly Worth it?
  • Is it really the ultimate grammar, spelling, and plagiarism checker tool?
  • Or is it just another overhyped, expensive premium tool?

We’ve been a paying premium user for over three years, using it on a daily basis. So that’s what we’ll answer in this hands-on, in-depth Grammarly review.

Our Verdict

After reviewing over 20 different grammar and plagiarism tools, Grammarly is the clear winner across both categories.

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Grammarly Best All-Arounder

$11.66 per month
93
overall score
Accuracy
86%
Database
95%
Price
95%
  • 86/86% accuracy
  • 16+ billion database
  • 150k word limit
  • 5 device limit
  • 1-hour response
  • Only English
  • Higher-priced

Grammarly Premium Review: Video Overview

You’ve probably seen the ads. You might have heard your peers or coworkers mention it. It seems like over the past few years that Grammarly has exploded in popularity.

Although the Grammar checking tool has been around for over ten years, the constant improvements have made it an incredibly useful writing aid.

There is a lot of confusion about what Grammarly can do and how it helps to improve your writing. For anyone who writes for work, for school, or even shares posts on social media, Grammarly can teach you to be better.

In-Depth Grammarly Review

In this Grammarly review, we will take a look at some of the benefits of Grammarly and how it stacks up against other writing tools. We’ll also look at the benefits of Grammarly Premium versus the free version, and whether it’s worth upgrading.

grammarly review

What is Grammarly?

Grammarly is a grammar checking, proofreading, spell checking, and plagiarism checking tool all rolled into one. Most people will probably gain value from using it as a grammar checker, but there are a ton of extra features that can improve your writing.

The desktop app and browser extensions offer unique ways to use the Grammarly software with all your writing.

If you are a blog writer, content writer, student, or author, you will benefit from using Grammarly. It will help you better understand a lot of those confusing grammar rules. The easy to use tool will catch spelling mistakes, grammar errors, punctuation mistakes, plagiarism issues, and more.

Better than just spotting mistakes, the Grammarly software (and online Grammar Handbook) provide detailed explanations of your grammatical errors, so you slowly become a better writer while using it.

With both a free and paid version, it’s a no brainer to Grammarly for free, and once you understand the extra benefits to potentially upgrade to Grammarly Premium version.

What Does Grammarly Do?

Grammarly is a freemium software product (meaning you can upgrade to a paid version for more features). The tool can help you check for several types of writing errors:

  • Spelling errors
  • Grammatical errors
  • Readability issues
  • Plagiarism problems
  • Writing Tone

Similar to a spell check in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, Grammarly is a correct-as-you-go tool. If you like to edit as you work, the browser extension app can be useful. If you prefer to do all your editing at the end, you can copy and paste your document into the Grammarly online editor.

Let’s look at a few of these Grammarly features in a bit more detail.

Grammar and Punctuation Checker

As the name suggests, Grammarly is best known for detecting grammar and punctuation mistakes. The feedback offered ranges from basic to advanced. Grammarly corrects over 150 grammar errors, including:

  • spelling and punctuation errors
  • poor sentence structure
  • run-on sentences
  • passive voice errors
  • wordy sentences

Better than just finding mistakes, it also provides real-time improvement suggestions and teaches you why these changes matter.

Spell Checker

As well as focusing on Grammar mistakes, it doubles as a spell checker. While this is a feature in most writing tools (Microsoft Word, Scrivener, etc.), it’s much easier to check your spelling errors alongside grammar, especially as you make more changes.

Plagiarism Checker

If you upgrade to the Grammarly Premium version, the tool also detects plagiarism. The plagiarism tool is incredibly thorough, comparing your writing to billions of web pages.

Writing Style Coach

Perhaps the best feature of Grammarly is that it will also help you self-edit your work. It provides examples of why something is a grammatical mistake, and how you can improve it. As you begin to make changes, the tool will give you words of encouragement and increase your overall score (more about score later).

The benefit is that over time your writing will naturally improve, just like having a real-life writing coach.

How Much Does Grammarly cost?

Grammarly is a freemium software tool, which means you can use the free version forever, and gain some benefits. The browser extension tool, the desktop app, and the web browser tool work only require a Grammarly account.

Of course, like most free tools, whenever you use the tool, Grammarly will encourage you to upgrade to gain full benefit.

Grammarly Premium ranges in cost from $12 a month (if you purchase an annual plan) up to $29 a month (if you choose to pay month to month). There are also occasional discounts that Grammarly offers if you opt-in for their email newsletter when you sign up.

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A great feature of Grammarly is that it can be used in many ways:

  1. On Grammarly online editor by uploading or pasting your files into the web browser dashboard
  2. As a Chrome browser extension
  3. As a Microsoft Word extension
  4. As an Outlook app for Microsoft Office
  5. By downloading the Grammarly desktop app for Mac
  6. As a Grammarly extension for Google Docs
  7. As an app for your iOS or Android device

Is Grammarly Worth It?

There are a ton of grammar checking tools on the market today. Some are entirely free, and some cost money. But each has its pros and cons.

Grammarly is rated as one of the best grammar software tools for a good reason. The Grammarly extension and the desktop app are both invaluable tools to have as a writer. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main benefits of Grammarly.

1) Setting Writing Goals

Both the web-based and desktop app from Grammarly is simple to use.

By visiting www.grammarly.com, you can sign up and sign in. Within a few minutes, you can try Grammarly for free. After confirming your email, you are all set up, and Grammarly takes you to the dashboard.

Once inside, you will see the option to upload a new document.

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For a new document, you can paste in copied text or upload a file to be checked.

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As soon as you upload or copy and paste your document into Grammarly, it will give you a list of goals to choose from. These goals give Grammarly a better sense of what kind of writing you are doing, and who the audience is.

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Your intent helps Grammarly decide which mistakes Grammarly will flag or ignore. The tone helps the tool to change certain words to make a piece more friendly or formal.

You can also tell Grammarly who this content is for:

  • General
  • Business
  • Creative
  • Casual
  • Academic
  • Technical

After you’ve chosen your writing goals, Grammarly will then scan the document for improvements. The software is impressively fast. In around ten seconds, you will begin seeing results.

2) In-Depth Recommendations

One of the best features of Grammarly is the detailed explanations for changes. Most grammar checkers simply tell you what to change. Grammarly tells you why it should be changed.

Even small errors such as spelling mistakes have an explanation that helps you understand.

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In this example, the software flagged the words “come back” and suggested they should be one word based on the context. It not only explained why it gave this suggestion, but it gave many examples of similar words to understand better.

The Grammarly Handbook online also delves into more detail to help you understand how to catch them yourself.

3) Clear Explanations Tailored to You

Grammarly’s proofreading highlights several problematic sections and gives reasons as to why each is a problem.

It breaks down the feedback into four categories:

  • Correctness – spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Clarity – makes writing easier to understand
  • Engagement – makes writing more exciting and effective
  • Delivery – helps to make the right impression on your reader

Each issue is always presented in an easy to understand format.

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The issue is always highlighted on the left. Grammarly then explains the right of the screen.

Each correction will have an example showing both correct and incorrect grammar. On the bottom of each correction, you can let Grammarly know that you’ll address this issue, or that it is not relevant or helpful. On the top right, you can choose to ignore it by simply deleting the suggestion.

4) Word Suggestions

Finding the best word choice can be confusing, especially as a less experienced writer. Grammarly is a lifesaver in this regard. It offers suggestions for better vocabulary, clarity, and correctness.

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This is where Grammarly sets itself apart from the simple spellcheck tools in writing programs like Microsoft Word or other writing apps. The more you use Grammarly, the more you will find your word choice expanding and improving.

5) Conventions

Most good writers understand conventions. They write in a certain way so the reader can figure out what we’re trying to say. Conventions can include spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and sentence structure.

In the past, writers and editors had to rely on style guides. Grammarly now offers all of these grammar rules built-in.

Here’s a perfect example:

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The Grammarly Chrome extension will also help these issues in emails and social media posts.

6) Formality

Formality goes beyond a formal or informal tone. It has to do with some of the unwritten rules that exist within the English language. Many of these ‘rules’ are learned in school or apply only to business or academic writing. Yet, if they are left unchecked, some people will get distracted by them in your writing.

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An example that Grammarly catches is ending a sentence with a proposition like “with.” Other examples are not using “and/or” in a formal writing piece, or starting sentences with a coordinating conjunction like “and” or “but.”

While these formality rules may not matter for all types of writing, it’s great that Grammarly catches them and suggest changes.

7) Writing Clarity

Just like with the spoken word, your writing has an underlying tone. Especially in business writing, conciseness and clarity help to show it. Weak and or unclear language can soften a message or display uncertainty.

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Removing words like ‘just’ or ‘really’ help to make writing more precise and definite.

Overusing certain words can become obvious to a reader and appears repetitive and lazy. Grammarly identifies overused terms and giving you suggestions on how to change them up.

With this feature, Grammarly helps both novice and professional writers sharpen their craft.

8) Passive Voice

A passive voice in your writing lowers the clarity. It makes sentences feel weaker and more confusing. Unfortunately, most spellchecking tools will not notice passive voice mistakes.

Grammarly is advanced enough to detect passive voice in writing. Any time it is detected, it shows an alternative and explains how you can improve your sentence structure.

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To access the passive voice checker does require Grammarly Premium, but it is a valuable tool to have working for you.

9) Human Proofreading

If you are still not feeling confident about your piece after using Grammarly, there is an extra step that is offered (for an additional cost).

Rather than only using AI, Grammarly human proofreading. Grammarly alternative has a professional editor review your writing. Depending on how quickly you need the piece reviewed, Grammarly will give you an estimate directly in the same document you are reviewing.

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Who Should Use Grammarly?

When thinking about using a grammar checking tool, it can be hard to decide if you should buy a premium tool. It seems like it is a tool only for professional writers, authors, or content creators.

However, thanks to the excellent free Grammarly tool, it is well worth trying for most people who write blog posts, emails, proposals, essays, reports, and even social media posts.

Should everyone use Grammarly? The short answer is yes. It is fighting the good fight against grammatical mistakes and weak writing. The Grammarly browser extension helps you as you write your daily emails and social posts, and makes you into a better writer.

How can professional writers use Grammarly? The benefits of the Premium version of Grammarly are clear for anyone who writes for a living.

For students, the plagiarism tool alone is a lifesaver and reduces the risk of accidentally copying someone else’s work.

Is Grammarly hard to use if you aren’t a writer? Not at all. If you can copy and paste text into a word document, then you can use Grammarly. The explanations for improving writing mistakes are easy to understand and help you become a better writer.

Grammarly Vs. Online Writing Tools

If you are willing to invest in grammar software, then you are spoilt for choice. On the market today, there are many competitors, including ProWritingAid, Whitesmoke, and Ginger, to name a few.

Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but all do the same job of checking grammar.

How does the Grammarly premium compare to other online writing tools?

When comparing ProWritingAid to Grammarly, the advantages of the paid version are that it will allow you to connect all the devices you own. In comparison, Grammarly only provides 5 for paid customers. The ProWritingAid Premium version doesn’t have limitations or word count restrictions, where Grammarly caps to 100 documents or 50,000 words in 24 hours. ProWritingAid also allows you to purchase a lifetime license, which can prove to better value over the long-term.

If you are considering WhiteSmoke, the most significant advantage over Grammarly is the availability in 55 languages. This feature makes WhiteSmoke perfect for international users or second language students. WhiteSmoke also offers video training tutorials and is slightly less expensive than Grammarly.

If you’re looking at Ginger instead of Grammarly, the pricing is affordable, and it also offers language support for over 60 languages. However, the biggest drawback is no plagiarism detector, which puts it behind Grammarly if you need to check originality.

Not all grammar tools have the marketing power that Grammarly has, so they may fly under the radar. But thankfully, most of them offer a free version to test, and that means you can see which works best for you.

How does the free Grammarly tool compare to other free online writing tools?

Any free version of a grammar tool will have limited functionality. When compared to writing free tools such as ProWritingAid, Whitesmoke, Ginger, Citation Machine, and Scribens, Grammarly stands tall.

Based on extensive reviews, ProWritingAid and WhiteSmoke are the best Grammarly alternatives and provide comparative style corrections.

Where Grammarly excels is in the ease of use, and the instructional aspect. It is simple enough to change a grammar mistake, but Grammarly helps you to understand why.

What types of devices and programs is Grammarly compatible with?

Grammarly is compatible with all modern web browsers: Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. The browser extension works with most modern browsers as well.

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The Grammarly desktop app is also available for Mac or PC, and it’s compatible with: Windows 7, Windows, 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. It also works with macOS 10.9 (Mavericks) and higher.

Writing Well with Grammarly

It’s easy to ignore grammar mistakes and think they don’t matter in your daily work. But strong written skills show confidence, intelligence, and help to persuade effectively.

If you install Grammarly, you will see results within a few weeks, even with the free version. If you decided to upgrade to the Grammarly Premium version, you are gaining access to some of the best grammar checking software available today.

Over ten years, the Grammarly tool has kept improving and enhancing the experience for its users. The Grammarly extension and desktop app now give different ways to strengthen your writing and grow your writing skills.