In this Antidote review, discover how this grammar checker compares against competitors and if it’s a good choice.
The best grammar checking software is crucial to any writer’s workflow. These tools can help you find and fix errors quickly and easily while improving your writing skills.
Antidote is an established, if lesser-known, grammar checker. Developed by Druide, the first version was released over 25 years ago.
Don’t let its age fool you. It’s actively developed and offers versions for personal users, businesses, and schools. I’ve used Antidote on and off for several years to check articles, blog posts, and even book chapters and compared it to popular competitors.
In this Antidote review, I’ll profile what sets it apart from competitors and if it’s a good choice for you.
$30 per month
$79 per year
$20 per month
Antidote comprises three applications: Antidote web, Antidote mobile and Antidote 11. You can buy all three as part of Antidote+.
- Antidote+ Personal costs $59.95 per year
- Antidote+ Family costs $99 per year
- Antidote 11 costs $129.95 per year
Customers can also opt for a monthly subscription at a higher cost. Antidote offers versions for schools and educational bodies but not for businesses.
Who Is Antidote For?
Antidote is useful for anyone who works with the written word, specifically English and French. It’s particularly suited for freelance writers, students, editors and proofreaders due to its reports and feature set. It’s less suitable for fiction.
Setting Up Antidote
The Antidote web app operates via a browser like Chrome or Safari. Users can also install an Antidote plugin for their browser via a Connector. However, it lacks the same number of browser extensions as Grammarly. The mobile version works on iOS devices only.
Users install Antidote 11 onto a Mac or Windows computer. It checks a document for grammar and spelling mistakes locally rather than sending a piece of writing to the cloud. It’s a good choice for users concerned about privacy and data security or with poor internet access. We used this version the most.
The local version requires a few steps to set up. Users must install Antidote Connectors for each app individually. I installed Connectors for Ulysses, Word and Chrome. It works directly inside the app in question and can check documents, emails, blog posts, articles or any other type of writing.
Ease of Use
I spent several minutes setting up Antidote locally and syncing it across my devices. I found the Antidote interface pleasing to use. It didn’t intrude much on the writing and editing process. It quickly and easily presented information in black and white via tooltips inside my writing apps. However, I didn’t install Connectors for every app, for example, my email app, and found the pop-up reminders annoying.
Writers who need more tools and context should use the dedicated desktop Corrector app rather than relying on the Connector. The Corrector app can open up the same writing document and save changes back to it. In other words, you don’t need to copy and paste.
I preferred using the desktop app over the web app. While using the latter, I experienced several copy-and-paste errors and formatting quirks.
Antidote supports LaTex and Markdown, a feature competitors lack. LaTex is a system for formatting documents for publication and typesetting using basic markup. I use Markdown more than LaTeX.
I’d love to see Antidote offer a citation manager as it would save time checking citations for formatting and style issues. Many proofreading software users rely on this type of software to check research papers.
Antidote has several useful writing reports. The style reports presents information about readability based on the Flesh-Kincaid score and other metrics.
It identifies long words, rare words, foreign words and abbreviations. It also reports on reading time, silently and aloud. These are all useful insights for improving the readability score of a piece of writing.
Interestingly, Antidote even has a billing report that proofreaders can use to calculate the cost of their services for a client based on words checked.
Antidote scans a document for common grammar mistakes and spelling errors in real-time once you click on the popup. The Antidote Corrector underlines language errors in red, typography (e.g. excessive spacing) in yellow, and style queries in blue.
It presents the correct version on a tooltip or pop-up box. Click on one of these for context and information behind the error. Then, accept or ignore the suggested changes. Alternatively, users can use the navigation bar to work through suggestions.
Antidote supports grammar and spelling checks in French, British, American, and Canadian English. It can also inspect a document for regional variations in terms and words, a useful feature for those working with different types of English.
The Antidote spelling and grammar checker caught more errors and mistakes than the inbuilt tools in an operating system and word processor. It also provided more accurate suggestions and context behind these suggestions.
Antidote offers custom dictionaries for improving accuracy. Users can add terms and rules to this dictionary with an explanation. For example, I sometimes write about cryptocurrency. Those writing about crypto regularly use the term HOLD, which stands for “Hold on for dear life”. However, a normal grammar checker flags this term as an error. So I added it to my Antidote dictionary.
Now, whenever I write the word “HODL”, the Antidote Corrector spots it’s a custom word and indicates so in a tooltip. You could add custom words specific to your company, products, services, research or publication. It’s possible to adjust these rules depending on the target audience or publication.
Antidote includes an in-built grammar guide, thesaurus and dictionary. The former contains over 520 articles about various grammar topics, including punctuation, syntax, semi-colon and apostrophes.
Learn more about the differences between grammar and punctuation.
This resource is excellent for proofreaders, writers and those who want to improve their English writing skills. Basically, you can look up any common grammar query inside the guide, and Antidote provides information about correct usage.
Antidote offers support for synonyms, antonyms and expressions. Click on an overused word to present different options to pick from. This feature is helpful during the revision process.
Interestingly, Antidote includes audio pronunciation of over 500 words with a Toronto or London accent. I haven’t come across this feature in other grammar checkers. I didn’t use it much, but I imagine it would be helpful for those learning how to write in English or French and also in schools.
Antidote Versus Grammarly
I compared the accuracy of Antidote to Grammarly by testing several blog posts and articles in both apps. The accuracy of Antidote is on par with its more widely-used competitor.
Antidote sometimes flagged potentially grammar issues that Grammarly ignored and vice-versa. These usually relate to questions of style like hyphenations (pictured).
Antidote’s biggest advantage over Grammarly is its pricing. Starting at $30, it’s cheaper than Grammarly, which costs $30 per month. However, you can’t access a free version of Antidote like the basic version of Grammarly.
Antidote’s ability to work offline without internet access is another selling point. I found the in-built grammar guide helpful and liked its ability to search for synonyms and antonyms.
However, Antidote lacks an AI-powered writing assistant like Grammarly. I always use this feature to revise and rewrite sentences at a click. It’s a time-saver for editors.
Antidote also lacks a dedicated plagiarism checker. Most good grammar checkers include this feature in their premium offerings, so it’s a surprising omission.
Although Antidote has a version for families, it doesn’t offer a version for collaboration within a business, meaning it’s less suitable for those who work with other editors and writers in different geographies.
For more check out our Grammarly review.
Why You Can Trust Us
I’ve written and published dozens of articles for newspapers, magazines and online publications, including Forbes, Copyblogger and Lifehacker. I’m also a USA Today best-selling non-fiction author, a trained journalist and a copywriter.
Software like Antidote forms a crucial part of my writing workflow. I use these tools regularly to improve my work and check work by freelance writers who publish content on this site.
How We Tested Antidote
For this Antidote review, I took out a premium subscription and tested its various writing tools, using a book chapter and some articles of several thousand words in length. I evaluated based on criteria like price, functionality and ease of use. Along with a team of writers, I regularly update reviews of writing tools like Antidote as these products evolve.
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Antidote Review: The Bottom Line
Antidote is an excellent grammar checker. It’s more affordable than some competitors, just as accurate and easy to use. It also works offline. The lack of a plagiarism checker and AI writing assistant will put off some users, though.
- Works online and locally
- Excellent grammar reports
- Supports English and French
- Reasonably priced
- No plagiarism checker
- Limited collaboration features