This Grammarly review was updated in June 2018 to reflect how readers and I use this grammar checker today.
Are you looking for an accurate online proofreading tool that works?
Are you confident what you’re writing is error-free and easy to read?
Would you like a tool or grammar checker to help you proof-read your work?
I think you’ll agree with me when I say typos and grammar mistakes are embarrassing.
I discovered Grammarly, a grammar checker for proofreading articles, book chapters and blog posts.
I spent 30 days using Grammarly…before taking out a Grammarly Premium subscription.
Now, in this updated 2018 Grammarly review, I’ll explain how it can help you check grammar and spelling online, and if this grammar checker is worth it for writers, bloggers and non-native English speakers.
You can also claim an exclusive Grammarly discount below.
Please note, I focused mostly on Grammarly Premium for this review.
How Grammarly Works
Once you create a Grammarly account for free, take a tour of the Grammarly editor, which was updated in 2018.
It shows you how to get feedback on your writing quickly, make your writing clear and adjust feedback to your preferred writing style.
Then open a new document and set a goal for your writing.
You can set writing goals based on your:
- Intent e.g., inform, tell a story or describe
- Audience e.g., general or expert
- Style e.g., formal or informal
- Emotion e.g., mild or strong
- Domain e.g., academic, business or technical
When you're ready, simply paste extracts of your writing for proofreading, grammar checking and catching spelling mistakes. Or you can write directly in Grammarly and then paste your work into your writing app of choice.
After a few seconds, this proofreading tool underlines grammar mistakes similar to what you see in Word. Grammarly Premium also provides a more detailed explanation than the free version (or Word) about why you made a writing mistake.
This is particularly useful if you're a non-native English writer or if you want to improve your knowledge of English grammar.
However, you should still exercise judgment before deciding what to fix and what to leave.
Grammarly also works by providing insights about your writing based your:
- Character and sentence length
- Vocabulary and readability score
- Reading time and so on
The Plagiarism Detector
Grammarly features a plagiarism checker, which can be useful if you’re writing academic documents or reviewing a peer’s work.
I turned this feature on, but I didn’t find any issues in my documents (I guess I’m not plagiarising!)
I know a number of other writers who have pasted their work into Grammarly only to find their work was plagiarised elsewhere.
This feature might also appeal to college students who are concerned about citing too heavily from their sources.
How Easy to Use is Grammarly?
If you can post on Facebook, you can use Grammarly Premium or the free version.
Thanks to the apps for Windows, Mac, the web and even mobile, it takes only a few minutes to make this grammar checker part of your writing workflow.
Here's my workflow.
- Write a draft in Scrivener or IA Writer
- Paste my draft into Grammarly Premium for Mac
- Self-edit based on Grammarly's feedback
- Send the draft to an editor if it's a longer piece of writing
It takes me only a few minutes to check my articles, and there are no technical headaches.
Where to Use Grammarly
I will explain my workflow for the purposes of this Grammarly Review, but don't worry too much about what I do. Instead, focus on how you write!
Grammarly works wherever you are: online or desktop.
It's even available on mobile devices.
You can use a number of different proofreading apps including:
- Grammarly for MS Office
- A Grammarly Chrome web app that works much like Google Docs
- A Grammarly Chrome plugin (this is the easiest option for new users)
- Grammarly for Mac
- Grammarly for Windows
- Grammarly for iOS
- Grammarly for Android
Early in 2018, the Grammarly team also updated their apps for desktop, Mac, iOS and so on.
They also improved their user experience and added a number of additional features like writing insights and setting writing goals.
I don't use the Grammarly Microsoft Office plugin that much, as I use Scrivener and a number of other writing apps for almost all of my work.
Instead, I prefer finalising my writing elsewhere before pasting into Grammarly for a final check. However, if you write in Word, the Grammarly Word plugin is useful.
My preference is the Grammarly for Mac desktop app and also the Grammarly for Chrome web app. I also use the Grammarly Chrome plugin to check shorter pieces of writing, like emails and potentially embarrassing social media posts.
How Much Does Grammarly Cost?
- 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 try Grammarly for free.
Grammarly Free Vs Premium
This free version contains most of the features of Grammarly Premium apart from an advanced grammar checker, a plagiarism detector and some vocabulary enhancement suggestions.
In other words, the free version of Grammarly is ideal for writers and bloggers with a minimal budget for writing tools.
If you're wondering what do you get with Grammarly Premium, it provides detailed information about each of your grammar mistakes. It also provides additional writing insights and an ability to set writing goals. It also finds and fixes more mistakes than the free version.
You can take out a premium monthly, quarterly or annual subscription and claim discounts for each type of subscription. I currently pay for a quarterly premium subscription as this strikes me as a nice balance between affordability and managing my expenses.
If you want a 20% discount on top of these prices, I've negotiated this Grammarly discount for you.
How Accurate is Grammarly and How Can It Help Writers?
When you click on a grammar error in your writing, the grammar checker presents an explanation of the problem. All you have to do is click on the arrow to find out more.
It identifies possible solutions and explanations for your mistake.
Grammarly helped me identify:
- Confused prepositions
- Overuse of the passive voice
- Wordy sentences
- Repetitive words
- Common writing and grammar mistakes like misplaced apostrophes
- Spelling errors
- Lengthy sentences to edit down
It gets better:
After using this grammar checker on several articles and book chapters, I found out I’ve a bad habit of ending sentences with prepositions.
I’m also guilty of using the occasional squinting modifier (pictured below).
Yes, these are finer points of grammar but knowing my bad habits helped me tune up my writing.
The built-in grammar checkers in Word, Scrivener and Pages didn’t provide me with this insight, and over the past few years this grammar checker has helped me improve my writing skills.
The Grammarly knowledgebase of grammar errors
Grammarly vs. a Human Proofreader
You might be wondering:
Can Grammarly replace a human proofreader?
After writing this Grammarly review, my answer is no.
Grammarly overlooked several mistakes, particularly in my fiction. This may be (<— there’s a squinting modifier!) because my fiction is more difficult to understand than my non-fiction.
It doesn’t always provide the context or feedback that a human proofreader offers.
You can use the Grammarly dashboard to send your work to a human proofreader for USD.02 a word.
I didn’t test this feature as I work directly with an editor and a proofreader.
Whether or not you’re using Grammarly, take the time to either print out and proofread what you’ve written or give it to another person to check.
That means paying a professional proofreader if you’re writing a book.
By all means, rely on Grammarly for shorter pieces of writing.
How Effective is Grammarly for Proofreading English?
A number of non-english writers emailed me asking this question…
Readers of this post also left a number of comments below looking for more information.
I live an hour outside Dublin and British english is one my native languages (alongside Irish).
I sometimes write articles in British english. I also write in American English, depending on the website or blog audience.
There are subtle differences between both types of english.
I've sprouted a few grey hairs reading scanning early drafts looking for instances of “realise” and “realize” or “centre” and “center”…
So, I really value Grammarly's ability to proofread and grammar check documents for both types of english, and I use this feature often.
Still, you will need some understanding of english to use or write in Grammarly.
Here's the bottom line for non-english native speakers:
If English is your first language, Grammarly is a useful tool because it teaches the finer points of grammar.
Grammarly is still a good tool if English isn’t your first language or if you don’t write articles, blog posts or emails that often but…
Please remember, it's an aid for learning english grammar rather than a teacher of english.
Who is Grammarly Good For?
Grammarly is useful for writers, bloggers and anyone who wants to draft an accurate email or social media post. It's also good if you don't write in english that often.
It will help you check for grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes faster. It will also help you self-edit your work by providing insights about your readability score, word-length and so on.
Grammarly Premium is useful for students who may have a batch of work they want to check. i.e. take out a subscription for a month, check your work and then cancel if you need to.
That said, be careful to check that you're not violating any rules and regulations set by your university or school.
For most types of writers, this grammar checker acts as another line of defence. You can use it to make sure your book, article or blog post is accurate and easy to read.
Should You Get Grammarly Premium?
If you've read this far into this Grammarly review, my answer is yes but…
If you're a writer on a budget, install the free Grammarly Chrome Plugin and test it for yourself.
(Don't worry, they also offer free plugins for other browsers.)
That's what I did!
I spent months using the free version without issue in 2015, before writing this Grammarly review.
That was over four years ago and I was a writer with almost no money to spend on his craft or on online proofreading tools.
Eventually, I paid for a three-month subscription to Grammarly Premium as I was writing a number of freelance articles and chapters for a book. I also had a modest budget to spend on tools.
Today, I still use Grammarly Premium to check early drafts of blog posts and articles and also to check book chapters for grammar mistakes.
I also rely on the Grammarly Chrome plugin to check my emails, posts for social media and so on.
It will help you check for grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes faster. You still need to take the time to learn the fundamentals of grammar.
That said online proofreading tools are great but…
I value an set of digital eyes on my writing, but I still work with human proof-readers, particularly for book chapters and longer articles.
See How I Use Grammarly
Please let me know if you’ve questions about this Grammarly review or if you're considering using another grammar checker in the comments section below.
This post contains affiliate links meaning I earn a commission if you sign up.
What about Other Proofreading Tools?
After I published this Grammarly review, several people emailed me asking what about Whitesmoke and Ginger and how they compare to Grammarly? So in this video, I compare these tools against Grammarly and also against Word's inbuilt grammar checking tool.
Common questions about Grammarly
Is Grammarly safe?
I’ve used Grammarly for over three years, and I’ve never had any issues with my documents or writing.
Can Grammarly be used in Word, Google Docs, Scrivener, etc.?
You can use Grammarly in many common writing applications directly. If a plugin isn’t available, I suggest downloading the desktop app and copying your writing across to check for grammar issues.
Can Grammarly check plagiarism?
Yes, Grammarly can identify issues in your work and also inform you if your writing was plagiarised elsewhere.
Will Grammarly work on a Mac?
Yes, I use Grammarly all the time on an iMac and MacBook Pro. I’ve also used Grammarly for iPhone.
How does Grammarly Premium work?
Grammarly Premium works by identifying additional grammar issues in your writing. These are sometimes a matter of style. It also provides more context behind your potential mistakes and is a useful tool for learning english and line-editing. If you’re unsure or on a tight budget, try the free version of Grammarly. I used this for a few months before upgrading.
What about Grammarly vs. Ginger, Grammarly vs. Whitesmoke, Grammarly vs. Prowriting aid?
Good question. I wrote a detailed comparison of the best grammar checkers
What is the Grammarly cancellation refund policy?
If you try Grammarly Premium and don’t like it, you can contact Grammarly support and get your money back without issue, within a ten-day period.
How can I get Grammarly Premium for free?
You can’t! However, the free version of Grammarly is useful so use that. When you’re ready or can afford to upgrade, I offer a Grammarly discount.
Is Grammarly a reliable grammar checker?
Grammarly helped me find and fix issues in my writing that Word missed (see the video). However, if you’re writing a book or a longer article, I recommend working with a human proofreader too.
Is Grammarly mobile friendly?
Yes, Grammarly offers apps for iPhone and Android.
Want a 20% discount off Grammarly?
Join the insider list and I'll send it straight to you
Grammarly Review 2018: The bottom line
- Ease of use
Grammarly Review 2018: The bottom line
Grammarly is a useful and affordable writing tool that belongs in your toolbox. It'll help you find and fix errors in your writing fast and it's easy to use too.
- Excellent online grammar knowledgebase
- Another line of defense for authors who self-publish, as well as bloggers and writers
- Useful for non-native English speakers and new writers
- You can switch between US and British english
- Some writers may balk at paying $29.99 a month for a grammar checker
- Not a replacement for a human proofreader or an education