Is Using Grammarly Cheating? Answered

Is using Grammarly cheating, or is it a helpful tool to assist writers in their work? This guide will answer this question, so you can confidently add tools to your writing toolbox.

Grammarly and other English grammar-checking tools are great ways to polish up your writing. If you are writing a blog or a business paper, chances are you would use grammar or spell check program without thinking twice, but what about students in an academic setting?

Is using Grammarly cheating? If you use the tool properly, it is not. In fact, Grammarly can help you avoid inadvertent plagiarism and improve the readability of your essays and writings. This guide will show you how to use a grammar checking program, like Grammarly, ethically in your writing practices.

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Why The Answer To “Is Using Grammarly Cheating” Is No

Is using Grammarly cheating?

As an online writing assistant that helps writers with their proofreading, Grammarly’s free version checks basic English grammar, including spelling, punctuation and overall mechanics. The premium version includes added features, like a plagiarism checker and additional grammar and word choice concerns.

Cheating on writing in an academic setting typically occurs when a student uses someone else to write their work or claims someone else’s writing as their own. The way Grammarly functions means that using the tool on academic works and essays is not typically considered cheating, because it does not do any of the actual writing for you.

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Though Grammarly is one of the best-known online grammar checkers with a robust free version, it is not the only option. Some other tools writers sometimes use for grammar and plagiarism checking include:

  • ProWritingAid: this is both a grammar checker and a style editor, but it does not have a free version.
  • Ginger: Ginger has a free online version and quite a bit of grammar instruction to help writers.
  • TurnItIn: Designed primarily to check for plagiarism, TurnItIn also does some basic checks for grammatical errors.

When Should You Use Grammarly?

Is using grammarly cheating?
Using Grammarly is akin to using an editor or proofreader

Most writers will use Grammarly to scan their finished works. The tool helps with proofreading. In addition, the Grammarly plug-in can let the tool scan works as you type in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and many other word processors.

Grammarly helps students on almost every level. While elementary school students may be able to forgo the tool, especially since the goal of their writing is to boost their English language learning, high school students and college students can both benefit. Professional writers, bloggers, and even influencers can all improve grammar and readability with this tool.

In many ways, using Grammarly is akin to using an editor or proofreader. It catches grammar mistakes you might have overlooked and helps you turn in the best work you can. You may be wondering, do professionals use Grammarly?

What Does Grammarly Do for Students?

Grammarly uses a complex set of algorithms to help students, essayists, and other writers write better. It can sniff out grammar, diction, and punctuation problems, help writers avoid wordy sentences and create a better-finished product. Here are some ways it does that:

Real-Time Grammar and Spelling Checks

Grammarly has the ability to provide real-time feedback on your writing. With the Chrome plug-in installed on a computer, you can check everything, including social media posts, for grammar and spelling errors. Over time, it may even improve your writing skills and writing style as you learn the common mistakes you make and start avoiding them.

Passive Voice Checking

With the paid version of Grammarly, your passive voice sentences get flagged. This feature helps you change them to active voice when it’s appropriate to do so. In many settings, passive voice is less ideal, but it’s an easy mistake to make.

Word Count and Readability

Grammarly will count the words, characters, and sentences in your piece and rate its readability based on Flesch reading scores and grade level. If you have a specific grade level you wish to attain in your writing, this can help. It also tells you the tone of your writing, so you can adjust to your particular audience.

Plagiarism Detection

Grammarly also has a plagiarism detection tool. In the online world where millions of blog posts hit the web daily, accidental plagiarism is more common than you might think. Quick plagiarism checks before publication or turning in a paper will protect you.

What Does Grammarly Not Do?

Grammarly does not write for you. It is a writing assistant. It will provide suggestions for how to re-word something it flags, but it is not going to do the work for you. In other words, Grammarly will not:

  • Tell you what to write about to improve your grade
  • Make any automatic changes to your paper or essay because you must approve all changes
  • Give away answers to test questions

In addition, Grammarly is a tool, not a person. It may not get the grammar right every time or catch every error and typo. You will still need to proofread your writing to ensure it is readable, is grammatically correct and makes sense.

This difference is what sets Grammarly and other grammar checking tools apart from services that are considered cheating. They do not do the writing but simply come alongside the writer to help improve the writing.

What Are Some Benefits of Using Grammarly?

If you use Grammarly to catch plagiarism as well as grammar and spelling mistakes on your academic work and essays, you may enjoy:

  • Better grades
  • Improved readability
  • Improved sentence structure
  • Less risk of verbose sentences
  • Improved understanding of grammar

What Are Potential Drawbacks Of Using A Grammar Checker?

Grammarly and other grammar checkers are not perfect. Using one does not guarantee that your work is error-free. Remember, they rely on algorithms, and algorithms are not humans.

Some drawbacks of grammar checkers include:

  • May not catch every error
  • Default settings may need adjustment to your audience
  • Do not remove the need to learn English grammar for yourself
  • Still requires you to approve the changes, which means you must know if they are good changes or not
  • Can give a false sense of security to writers who do not know grammar well.

The bottom line is that Grammarly is a great tool to help you catch simple errors, but it is not a substitute for your own writing skills and grammar knowledge. 

What Do The Professionals Say About Using Grammarly?

So is using Grammarly considered cheating? To answer this question, it may help to look at what some people in higher education have to say.

  • The University of Hawaii recommends its students use a grammar and plagiarism checker on their work, as doing so helps them turn in better copy and improve their grades.
  • Walden University includes using grammar and spelling checkers as part of its self-editing and proofreading strategies delivered to all students.
  • Penn State recommends the use of grammar checkers as long as writers think about the suggestions and know their limitations.
  • The Culinary Institute of America lists several grammar checkers, including Grammarly, on its plagiarism detection help page.
  • Georgia University wrote an entire blog post about how to use TurnItIn, a tool similar to Grammarly, to help students learn better writing skills.

While these academic institutions do not specifically address Grammarly, they do address grammar checkers and recommend them. If they do, then they must not consider using one to be cheating.

A Final Word on Is Using Grammarly Cheating

So what’s the bottom line about using grammar checking programs like Grammarly? is it cheating?

Most colleges and professors agree that using a grammar checker to check for mistakes is not cheating. Most recommend using a plagiarism checker to turn in original work. Because of this, using Grammarly is not considered cheating in most settings.

Keep in mind that each teacher is going to have their own rules, so always check first if you are working on academic writing. If offering writing services professionally, use Grammarly or a similar grammar checker without concern. Think of it as a tool in your writing toolbox to help you make your meaning clearer to the readers.

FAQs on Is Using Grammarly Cheating

Is using Grammarly cheating?

No, most academic settings do not consider a grammar checking tool like Grammarly to be cheating. It is helpful in improving grammar and reducing typos and spelling mistakes in writing to help students get better grades and professional writers to turn in better work.

Does Grammarly spy on you?

Grammarly does not have a keylogger and does not sell information. It has a robust privacy and security policy, and t does not partner with third parties to use your information. It does track some of your writing work to better adjust its algorithm to your writing, but this is not a security risk.


  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.