Want to make sure your writing is error-free and easy to read?
An online grammar checker and proofreading tool like Grammarly can help avoid embarrassing typos and grammatical errors.
But is Grammarly the most accurate grammar checker? Is it worth paying for?
Let’s find out.
- ✓   Excellent online grammar knowledgebase
- ✓   Useful for non-native English speakers and new writers
- ✓   You can switch between US and British english
Please note, this Grammarly review contains affiliate links meaning I earn a small commission if you sign up. However, you can claim an exclusive 20% discount. I only ever recommend products I use and trust.
A few years ago, I discovered Grammarly, a grammar and spelling checker for proofreading articles, book chapters and blog posts. As an author and a Forbes contributor, I use it regularly for proofreading my work – and it works like a charm.
Here’s what I’ll cover in this updated Grammarly review:
- What Does Grammarly Do?
- Who is Grammarly Good For?
- How Grammarly Works
- The Plagiarism Detector
- Is Grammarly Easy to Use?
- Where to Use Grammarly
- How Much Does Grammarly Cost?
- Grammarly Free Vs Premium Vs Business
- How Accurate is Grammarly and How Can It Help Writers?
- Grammarly vs. a Human Proofreader
- How Effective is Grammarly for Proofreading English?
- Should You Get Grammarly Premium?
- See How I Use Grammarly -NEW
- What about Other Proofreading Tools?
- Common Questions About Grammarly
- Grammarly Review: The Bottom Line
Please note, I focused mostly on the premium version of Grammarly for this review. That said, you can watch videos where I show the differences between both versions and cover some of the latest updates.
What Does Grammarly Do?
Grammarly is a writing tool that helps you check for several types of errors.
Grammar and punctuation
It detects grammar and punctuation mistakes – basic to advanced. It also provides real-time suggestions and guidelines on how to correct these mistakes.
It’s also a robust spell check tool that keeps your writing mistake-free.
Grammarly detects plagiarism, by comparing your writing to billions of web pages across the web.
It will also help you self-edit your work by providing real-time insights about your readability score, sentence-length and so on. This is extremely helpful for adapting your genre-specific writing style for a particular audience.
Who is Grammarly Good For?
Grammarly is useful for both native english speakers and those who don’t write in the english language that often. People who use Grammarly include:
- Content marketers and copywriters
- Any business professional who wants to draft an accurate report, presentation, email or social media post.
For new writers and professional writers, this grammar checker acts as another line of defence, even if they are native english speakers.
Plus Grammarly offers settings specific to Canadian English, American English, British English, Australian English and more.
You can use it to make sure your book, article or blog post is accurate and easy to read.
The premium version is also useful for students who may have a batch of work they want to check.
You can 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.
How Grammarly Works
Once you create a Grammarly account for free, take a tour of the Grammarly editor, which was updated recently.
Grammarly is a great grammar checker, here is the Grammarly Dashboard
It provides you with helpful suggestions on your writing quickly, making your writing clear and precise.
Adapting Grammarly to Your Style
You can adjust Grammarly’s feedback according to your genre-specific writing style – informal, formal and so on. When you open a new document, 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
Grammarly delivers insights based on these goals.
Using the Tool
There are several ways to use the Grammarly software to review your work, and you don’t need any technical know-how to do it. Here are the most common ones :
Copy and paste your entire article, book or extracts of your writing into Grammarly for proofreading, grammar checking and for a spell check.
By clicking on ‘Import,’ you can also upload a Microsoft Word document into Grammarly.
You can actually use Grammarly as your primary writing app, by writing directly in the tool. As you type, Grammarly will automatically start pointing out errors. Once you click on the “Correct with Assistant” button, Grammarly will show you the errors.
Windows users can also install a Grammarly plugin on MS Word, which will help you detect errors as you write. This plugin isn’t available for MS Word in Macbooks.
A few seconds after you incorporate your text, this proofreading tool underlines grammar mistakes similar to what you see in Microsoft Word.
Grammarly Premium also provides more detailed suggestions than the free version (or Word) about why you made a writing mistake such as errors in sentence structure.
This is particularly useful if you’re a non-native English writer or if you want to improve your knowledge of English language grammar rules. There’s a Grammarly handbook filled with grammar tips if you need more help.
However, you should still exercise judgment before deciding what to fix and what to leave.
Grammarly offers you tools to provide insights about your content such as –
- A basic grammar checker tool for active/passive voice, wordiness and punctuation
- An accurate spell-checker
- A vocabulary tool along with a readability score
- Reading time estimations
- Sentence structure analysis
One of Grammarly’s new features analyzes the Flesch reading level ease of your text – it estimates what level of education a person needs to read your content easily.
The Plagiarism Detector
Included in your Grammarly account, is a plagiarism checker, which can be useful if you’re writing academic content or reviewing a peer’s work.
Bloggers and content marketers find this very useful. It allows them to check if they have inadvertently copied text from their research sources and then forgotten to edit their content to make the text original.
This feature might also appeal to college students who are concerned about citing too heavily from their sources.
Is Grammarly Easy to Use?
If you can post on Facebook, you can use Grammarly Premium or the free version. It’s that simple!
Thanks to the apps for Windows and Mac, the web Grammarly extension and even mobile ones, it takes only a few minutes to install Grammarly and make this real-time grammar and spelling 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 text
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!
Some of the Grammarly apps I used for this Grammarly review
Grammarly works wherever you are: they have desktop apps along with a Grammarly extension for your web browser.
It’s even available on mobile devices.
You can use a number of different proofreading apps including:
- Grammarly MS Office add-in
- A Grammarly Chrome web app that works much like Google Docs
- A Grammarly Chrome plugin (this is the easiest option for new users)
- Grammarly desktop app for Mac
- Grammarly desktop app for Windows
- Grammarly for iOS
- Grammarly for Android
Early in 2018, the Grammarly desktop apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and so on were updated.
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 Microsoft Word, the Grammarly Word add-in can be useful.
My preference is the Grammarly for Mac desktop app and also the Grammarly for Chrome web app.
I also use the Grammarly Chrome extension to check shorter pieces of writing, like emails and potentially embarrassing social media posts.
The company offers you a specialized Grammarly keyboard for mobile devices so you can apply the tool to your writing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GMail, and other web pages and platforms you type on.
With this, you can enable Grammarly checking on most apps on your phone automatically – which makes creating mistake-free text and documents a breeze.
The best part about this is that the Grammarly keyboard tool is free!
How Much Does Grammarly Cost?
Here are the Grammarly pricing options as of this year:
- 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 could always try Grammarly for free in case you want to test it out first (Like I did!).
Grammarly Free Vs Premium Vs Business
The 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 in the pop-up box.
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.
Recently, Grammarly introduced a business version of their software. In addition to the features provided on the premium model, the business edition of the Grammarly software includes features like –
- Admin and user management controls for privacy and security of your team’s work
- Priority 24/7 email support
- Centralized billing
- Monitoring tools for checking engagement trends
Grammarly for business costs $15 per member per month and could be a viable option if you’re a team in need for a grammar and spell checker tool.
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How Accurate is Grammarly and How Can It Help Writers?
When you click on a grammar error in your text, the grammar checker tool presents an explanation of the problem. All you have to do is click on the arrow to find out more about the suggestions.
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
- Any other grammar rules that I may have overlooked
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 Microsoft 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.
Here you can see what happened in the pop-up box when I pasted this post into Grammarly.
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 creative writing and 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 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 text.
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 and suggestions 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 a document 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. There’s a Grammarly handbook with helpful grammar tips to assist you if you’re having trouble with the language.
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.
Should You Get Grammarly Premium?
If you’ve read this far into this review of Grammarly, my answer is yes but…
If you’re a writer on a budget, install the free Chrome browser extension and test it for yourself.
(Don’t worry, they also offer free Grammarly web browser extensions for other platforms like Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc.)
That’s what I did!
I spent months using the free Grammarly online editor without issue in 2015, before writing this review of Grammarly.
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 the premium version to check early drafts of blog posts and articles and also to check book chapters for grammar mistakes.
I also rely on a Grammarly web browser extension like the Grammarly Chrome plugin to check my emails, posts for social media and so on.
The Grammarly online editor will help you check for grammar, punctuation and spelling 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 a set of digital eyes on my writing, but I still work with human proof-readers, particularly for book chapters or a longer document.
See How I Use Grammarly -NEW
In this original video, which I recorded several years ago, I explain how Grammarly can help writers and review some of its key features. I also talk about the differences between the free and premium version.
Grammarly has changed a lot since then.
In 2019, Grammarly published several updates that can help you proofread a piece of writing more efficiently. These include:
- Rich text formatting and editing (useful for copying and pasting text)
- Tone of voice detection (useful for non-fiction writers, academics and bloggers)
- An ideal audience feature
- More insights for your performance score
- Advanced writing goals
- Basic correctness and clarity detection
- A consistency checker e.g. did you write 9 a.m. or 9AM?
Some of these are free and some are premium features. In this new Grammarly video, I walkthrough the latest updates and how I’m using them to proofread my work.
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 to see how well they do against grammatical errors.
Common Questions About Grammarly
Is Grammarly worth it?
Grammarly is worth it if you’re a blogger, professional writer or author who takes their craft seriously. It will help you find and fix errors fast.
Is Grammarly safe?
As a result, the Grammarly software can’t guarantee 100% security.
However, on a practical note, using Grammarly is similar to sending a private email in terms of security. Unless you’re writing a commercially or legally sensitive document, and your organization has very strict data management protocols, you can use Grammarly without any worries.
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 enable Grammarly on many common writing applications directly. There’s a useful Word add-in as well as a Microsoft Office add-in. If a Grammarly extension isn’t available, I suggest downloading the desktop app and copying your content across to check for grammar issues.
Can Grammarly check plagiarism?
Yes, Grammarly can identify issues in your work and also inform you if your text was plagiarised elsewhere.
Will Grammarly work on a Mac?
Yes, I use Grammarly all the time on an iMac and MacBook Pro. There’s a Grammarly Chrome extension along with one for Safari too. I’ve also used Grammarly for iPhone.
Today, they offer a keyboard for iOS.
How does Grammarly Premium work?
Grammarly Premium works by identifying additional grammar issues in your document. These are sometimes a matter of writing style.
It also provides more context behind your potential mistakes and is a useful tool for learning the english language 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 visit Grammarly.com, 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 base model of Grammarly is free and helpful, 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 grammatical errors in my writing that Microsoft Word missed (see the video). However, if you’re writing a book or a longer document, I recommend working with a human proofreader too.
Is Grammarly mobile friendly?
Yes, You can install Grammarly on both iPhone and Android platforms.
Grammarly Review: 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.
Please let me know if you’ve questions about this review of Grammarly or if you’re considering using another grammar/spelling checker in the comments section below.
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Grammarly Review: The bottom line
- Ease of use
Grammarly Review 2020: 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 against grammar errors 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
- You have a web Grammarly extension for your browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox & Edge are all supported), desktop and mobile applications to make sure you have access to it at all times.
- Some writers may balk at paying $29.99 a month for a grammar checker
- Not a replacement for a human proofreader or an education