What's the best grammar checker you can use in 2018?
Or are you looking for a review of the best grammar checker software?
As a writer who loves tools, I've tested some of the most popular proofreading tools and best grammar checkers for writers, bloggers and authors.
In this post, I'll explain what's the best proofreading software and grammar checker software in 2018 and what you need to know about each one of these tools.
I'll also review Ginger and Whitesmoke in detail.
How I Tested Tools for This Best Grammar Checker Review
For the purposes of this best grammar checker review, I wrote a 600-word nonfiction article on the go in Word. It contained a number of grammar and spelling mistakes.
Word's grammar checker found most of my mistakes, but it missed a few grammar mistakes, including a missing word in a sentence.
I purchased the premium version of each tool and pasted the article in question into the relevant app for Mac or Chrome.
Then I compared how each proofreading tool treated the article in question.
I've used the free and premium versions of Grammarly since 2015, and I'm most familiar with this tool. I use Grammarly to proofread and grammar check social media updates, emails, blog posts, articles and even early drafts of book chapters.
This online proofreading tools works via a Chrome plugin, a Chrome web app, a desktop app for Windows and Mac and various mobile apps.
The free version of Grammarly is ideal if you're a writer on a tight budget. You can install a plugin for your browser and use Grammarly to immediately check your emails, social media updates and anything you write online.
Grammarly Premium is useful if you want to improve your knowledge of English grammar as it provides more writing insights and the reasons behind common grammar mistakes.
- Grammarly Premium monthly subscription costs $29.95 per month.
- Grammarly Premium quarterly subscription costs $19.98 per month, billed as one payment of $59.95.
- Grammarly Premium annual subscription costs $11.66 per month, billed as one payment of $139.95.
You can also send extracts of your work straight to a human proofreader within Grammarly for between 0.02 and 0.12 of a cent a word depending on how quickly you want the document returned.
Grammarly Test: The Results
Grammarly identified the grammar and spelling issues in my article in a sidebar.
I fixed them one by one by scrolling down. It also caught and fixed the grammar issues that Word ignored.
Grammarly provided context to each mistake, which is useful from the point of view of becoming a better writer.
It also recommended adding some commas in sentences that Whitesmoke and Ginger ignored.
I've reviewed Grammarly at length. If you're interested, read my full Grammarly review.
- Easy to use thanks to great user interface
- Features a powerful grammar checker
- Great writing insights
- Grammarly Premium is expensive for new writers
- No personal dictionary like Ginger
Ginger Software Review
An Israeli startup created Ginger in 2007, making it one of the more established grammar checkers on the market.
Like Grammarly, Ginger offers free and premium online proofreading software.
The quickest way to get started is by installing the Chrome plugin. You can use this plugin to check as you write in Gmail and so on.
Fear not, you can install a plugin for almost any browser and even for more advanced tools like Slack.
Ginger software also offers apps for Windows and iOS. Additionally, you can use a keyboard for Android.
Alternatively, you can paste extracts of your work into their web app.
Ginger reveals the character count, word count and number of sentences for your writing. It also helps you find and fix synonyms for commonly overused words like make.
Ginger identifies grammar issues by highlighting them in blue.
Like Grammarly, Ginger Premium offers more context to grammar mistakes and identifies more issues than the free version.
How Much Does Ginger Software Cost?
- A Ginger monthly subscription costs $29.96 per month
- A Ginger quarterly subscription costs $19.98 per month, if you pay up front
- A Ginger annual subscription costs $12.48 per month, if you pay up front
At the time of writing this best grammar checker review, Ginger was offering a discount of up to 40% on its premium plans. You can also avail of a 7-day, 100% money-back guarantee.
Ginger Review: The Results
For the purposes of this Ginger review, I used the Chrome grammar checker app. Unlike Grammarly, Ginger doesn't offer a Mac desktop app yet.
When I pasted my 600-word article into the Ginger web app, it copied the formatting of my document, putting headings in bold and so on. Grammarly and Whitesmoke don't do this.
So kudos to Ginger!
Like Grammarly, Ginger identified all of my grammar mistakes quickly including what Word missed. Ginger was less insistent about fixing my inconsistent comma usage however.
Interestingly, Ginger Premium missed a spelling mistake in one my headings, although this was because of a formatting issue, which I explain in my video review.
I also had to hover over each grammar mistake with my mouse rather than reviewing them in a sidebar. This meant I spent more time correcting my grammar mistakes.
It's a small gripe, but I'm a little obsessed with workflows.
Other Useful Ginger Features
Interestingly, Ginger can translate extracts of your writing into 60 other languages including Spanish, German and even Yiddish.
Sure Google Translate also does this, but being able to check a document for grammar issues and translate from within one app is useful.
A Ginger Premium subscription also includes a personal trainer who provides video grammar lessons and tests for improving your English.
Again, this feature should appeal to those learning or writing in English for the first time.
This makes Ginger grammar checker ideal for non-English native writers—you could write in Yiddish, translate to English and then grammar check your writing all within Ginger.
You can also add words that you don't want to identify as mistakes to a personal dictionary within Ginger. I could see this appealing to fiction writers with unusual character names for their stories. I wish Grammarly would add this feature.
- Free version of Ginger is relatively powerful
- Useful for non-English native speakers thanks to a personal trainer and translation features
- Personal dictionary a nice addition
- Hovering over mistakes slows self-editing somewhat
- Some accuracy issues depending how a document is formatted
The company Whitesmoke was set up in 2002, and they sell affordable online proofreading software by the same name for Mac and Windows.
You can use Whitesmoke to check your articles for grammar mistakes, punctuation issues and more. It's useful for writers and non-English speakers on a tight budget.
Whitesmoke works in almost all browsers including Chrome, Safari, Opera and Firefox, depending on what version you subscribe to.
Whitesmoke also offers online proofreading apps for iOS and Android. You will need internet access for it work.
Whitesmoke Essential is a type of online proofreading software that's compatible with your web browser only.
Similarly, Whitesmoke Premium (what I tested) offers additional support and apps for Mac, Windows, Gmail and MS Office.
Whitesmoke is the cheapest of the online proofreading software that I've featured in this review. In 2018, like Grammarly, the company updated its user interface.
Other Useful Whitesmoke Features
The version of Whitesmoke I tested for this best grammar checker review features a translator, although it supports eight languages rather than 64 (no Yiddish!).
Whitesmoke also offers a number of templates for writing projects like cover letters, grant proposals, thank you messages and so on.
How Much Does Whitesmoke Cost
- Whitesmoke Essential costs $6.59 per month, billed as one payment of $79.08.
- Whitesmoke Premium costs $9.99 per month billed as one payment of $199.88.
- Whitesmoke Business costs $17.95 per month billed as one payment of $215.40.
Unusually, Whitesmoke doesn't offer monthly subscriptions.
You can save more money if you buy a three-year subscription, at the time of writing this best grammar checker review.
- Affordable, provided you don't mind paying yearly
- Relatively easy to use
- Suitable for businesses
- User interface lags behind Grammarly and Ginger
- Slightly slower than Ginger and Grammarly
Total Score: 4/5
Prowriting Aid Review
Since writing this grammar checker review and recording the above video, I received several questions from readers and commenters about Prowriting Aid.
So I tested this grammar checker for this review well.
Like the other Grammar checkers featured in this review, you can download a desktop app for Mac and Windows or install a plugin for your browser. Prowriting Aid also offers Word and Google Docs plugins.
There's even a Scrivener integration! Prowriting Aid also features a web editor where you can paste text and check for grammar and spelling mistakes. Alternatively, you can upload a document containing your writing.
How Much Does Prowriting Aid Cost?
Prowriting Aid offers a two-week free trial. Thereafter, prices start at $50 per year. This makes Prowriting aid the cheapest grammar checker in this review.
Prowriting Aid: The Results
When I pasted my text into Prowriting Aid web app, it kept the source formatting including my choice of colours and fonts. The grammar checker underlined grammar mistakes, spelling issues and other suggestions.
At first, I found the various types of reports overwhelming, but they quickly made sense once I clicked through each suggestion or mistake.
I particularly liked a feature called Echoes. This feature identified places where I over-used turns of phrase and other words. It also identified some clichés in my writing. This struck me as particularly useful for fiction writers who want to improve the quality of their sentences.
The version I tested only supports British and American english, so it's less ideal if you write in more than one language or you're learning english.
Prowriting Aid also took longer than Grammarly and Ginger to identify these mistakes and the user interface wasn't as polished.
Anyone who wants to write for the web should try and write for eight or ninth grade audience (a Flesch reading score of above 70%).
The good news is Prowriting Aid will also help you figure out the readability of your articles based on the Flesch Reading Score.
Why is this talk of readability and Flesch scores important?
Well, web readers have a shorter attention-span than those consuming print (look squirrel!). Tailoring your writing for this audience is easy to achieve with Prowriting Aid because you can simplify it.
Although the WordPress plugin Yoast also contains this feature, it's useful if you write outside of WordPress.
Say What About Scrivener?
The desktop version enables you to open Scrivener files directly in Prowriting Aid, fix typos and other grammar issues and then save back to Scrivener.
This is a clever feature, but I prefer to run the final exported books file from Scrivener through a grammar checker before moving to Vellum for self-publishing. I also only use Scrivener these days for long-form writing and instead rely on IA writer for producing articles like these.
In short: your mileage may vary depending on your writing workflow.
Still, if you're are on tight budget and can't afford the other premium grammar checkers in this review, Prowriting Aid represents a good choice. It's also useful for fiction writers and those who use Scrivener a lot.
- The most affordable grammar checker I reviewed
- Relatively accurate
- Lots of nice features for self-editing
- Suitable for fiction writers and Scrivener fans
- Slower than Grammarly and Ginger
- User interface lags behind other grammar checkers
- Less useful for with english as a second language
- No mobile version
What's the Best Grammar Checker in 2018?
Please remember, always work with a human proofreader for longer pieces of writing like a book chapter or long article.
Having worked on a translation project for a large company, I'd also caution against solely relying on software to translate your writing from your language of choice to English.
Grammar checker software, much like book editing tools, is useful, but I don't consider them a replacement for common sense or a set of human eyes. Instead, these products are just one of many that belong in your toolbox.
All of these grammar checkers will help you get the job done and fix issues in your writing.
Now, I use Grammarly the most out of these proofreading tools. I prefer its applications and user interface—but that's down to my tastes only. I also don't need to learn English.
I was impressed by the translation features of Ginger and would recommend this to writers who want to learn English. I also found its personal dictionary useful.
Whitesmoke and Prowriting Aid both appealed to me as they are very affordable types of online proofreading software, which are suitable for writers on a tight budget.
Well, many new writers email me to say they can't afford to pay for Grammarly Premium. It's hard to fault useful proofreading software that costs less than $7 a month.
In short, test the free versions of these tools and then decide which fits best with the way you work—or write.
Have you got questions about this best grammar checker review? Please let me know in the comments section below.
I've negotiated 20%+ discounts for Grammar, Whitesmoke and Ginger. If you'd like one, subscribe below and tell me what grammar checker you want a discount for.
Get your 101 writing prompts today
Need help getting started writing? Use these proven writing prompts. I'll also send you practical writing advice and more as part of my newsletter.