Can a grammar checking service like ProWritingAid help you become a better writer?
- ✓   Ideal for fiction writers
- ✓   Helps with self-editing
- ✓   Insightful writing reports
I’ll also explain how ProWritingAid differs from some of the other premium grammar checker software available today.
I’ve also got details at the end of the post about a free book from their team that will help you become a better author. And you can claim a discount on this grammar and spell checker.
Whether you are an author, editor, copywriter, a student or a professional, you are bound to benefit from this ProWritingAid editing software review.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
- What is ProWritingAid?
- What Does ProWritingAid Do?
- How I Used ProWritingAid
- How I Checked My Book as Part of This ProWritingAid Review
- How You Can Use ProWritingAid To Improve Your Writing Skills
- How Much Does ProWritingAid Cost
- ProWritingAid Integrations with Online Writing Tools
- ProWritingAid Vs. Other Grammar Checkers
- ProWritingAid Alternatives
- Watch My ProWritingAid 2020 Video Review
- Get a Free Book from ProWritingAid
- Is ProWritingAid worth it?
Please note, this post contains affiliate links meaning I earn a small commission if you sign up. However, you can claim an exclusive 25% discount. I only ever recommend products I use.
What is ProWritingAid?
ProWritingAid is a premium grammar checker and style editor for bloggers, novelists and business writers. This editing software helps users eliminate errors, optimize word choice and edit grammar and punctuation faster.
It aids in writing blog posts, books, an editor’s note, and any other content you can think of!
ProWritingAid editing software is available via web browsers on both Windows and Mac. It also supports Microsoft Word, Google Docs and, interestingly, Scrivener.
At the time of writing this review, the company didn’t offer dedicated apps for iOS or Android.
Although anyone can use this grammar checker as an editing tool for proofreading and grammar checking their content, it’s particularly suitable for fiction writers.
Amusingly, the ProWritingAid team notes on its site:
We’ve even been told that Stephen King uses ProWritingAid, but we haven’t been able to confirm this. (If you happen to meet him at a party, please ask.) We do know that he, like us, is not a fan of adverbs!
I will explain more about why fiction writers will find this grammar check software or pro writing aid (no pun intended) particularly useful later in this 2020 ProWritingAid review.
What Does ProWritingAid Do?
You can use ProWritingAid as both a grammar and spell checker. It will also help improve the readability of anything you write.
I tested the desktop and web app extensively for this ProWritingAid review. It works like this:
- Open the Pro Writing desktop app
- Upload your document to ProWritingAid (supports Word, Scrivener, Markdown, text files and more)
- It scans your document
- It opens up an editing tool panel with text from your blog posts or other content that you uploaded for grammar checking
- The spell checker feature underlines spelling mistakes in red
- It underlines style issues, incorrect sentence structure and weak writing like passive voice, in yellow
- It underlines grammar mistakes in blue
- Hover over any underlined word like the spelling and grammar mistakes in the editing tool to see a suggested fix
You can use the online editor to check a story or article for:
- Overused words
- Sentences that slow your reader down (sticky sentences)
- Vague and abstract words
- Incorrect tense
- Duplicated words and phrases
- Sentence length
- Overall readability of your content
This online editing tool generates reports on all these different aspects of your text and gives suggestions on how to improve each area of your writing process.
This writing aid tool does more than just grammar check. It works as a writing mentor and evaluates your writing against the best writers in your genre.
These reports operate as a pro writing aid and appear at the top of the editing toolbar.
The free version provides 22 reports which are sufficient for the everyday writer (25 in the paid version).
I’ve tested several other grammar and spell checkers and they rarely provide this amount of information.
Is Your Content Safe from Plagiarism?
Here’s one more thing:
Many of my readers want to know whether the content that they upload on ProWritingAid can get stolen or plagiarized.
Here’s my answer: ProWritingAid is safe.
The tool does not store or save any text that you submit after the analysis ends. This is true for both the free and paid versions.
How I Used ProWritingAid
My typical workflow for using a grammar checker on these articles involves:
- Write the article in IA Writer or Scrivener
- Copy and paste a draft from IA Writer or Scrivener into my editing tool of choice
- Scan it for errors
- Fix these directly in my source document that is in IA Writer or Scrivener
- Publish or send to an editor
While writing this ProWritingAid review, I changed my writing workflow and saved time.
I opened my source file in the desktop app and edited my documents directly using the pro writing aid editing tool, without any copying and pasting.
Writing nerd alert!
I write my articles in Markdown using IA Writer as the writing aid. This process simplifies adding basic HTML to reviews and articles like this one.
I was pleased to see I could import Markdown documents like my blog posts into ProWritingAid.
However, it doesn’t convert Markdown file to a publishable format or enable a live preview. It’s also not possible to create a library within ProWritingAid of your documents.
Impressions of ProWritingAid
This grammar checker struck me as a tool ideal for fiction writers and novelists.
Well, premium grammar checkers like Grammarly and Ginger restrict the number of words you can scan at once. This means you can only check an entire book on a chapter by chapter basis.
However, ProWritingAid allows you to open up documents of any size, like your book, and check it all at once.
Similarly, its ability to check a piece of writing for clichés, readability, passive voice, word choice, writing style, vague and abstract words is a useful feature for writers who want to create more readable stories.
Please note, the desktop app only works while connected to the internet. So if you like to write offline, you must reconnect while using this tool.
How I Checked My Book as Part of This ProWritingAid Review
I tested ProWritingAid in two ways in my new book.
Firstly, I uploaded a 45,000+ draft of my new book to ProWritingAid as a Microsoft Word document.
If I wanted to do this with another tool, I’d have to upload individual chapters into ProWritingAid.
After a few minutes, the app completed a scan and identified 261 mistakes to fix. It also provided a report with other suggestions. These even included issues of style.
ProWritingAid also prompted me to scan individual sections of my book rather than the entire manuscript.
Unfortunately, the various ProWritingAid reports slowed down with a manuscript of this size, compared to when I checked individual chapters or articles. I guess it takes a while to analyse longer pieces of writing.
Checking an entire manuscript at once wasn’t faster than checking chapters on an individual basis.
Secondly, I opened my new book’s Scrivener project with the desktop app.
I’d enjoyed more success with this method.
It didn’t slow down and provided lots of useful suggestions for improving my manuscript.
I also liked that I could save changes directly back into my Scrivener project. I intend to use ProWritingAid on any future Scrivener projects.
How You Can Use ProWritingAid To Improve Your Writing Skills
It can improve your writing skills in many different ways. And it can do it in real time. Here are some of my favourites:
- Use the All Repeats report to find words you overuse and replace them with alternatives. This improves your writing style immensely.
- Use the clichés report to check your dialogue and polish your sentences.
- Use the inbuilt dictionary and thesaurus to improve your word choice. The tool automatically analyzes your writing to find the most appropriate word to convey your precise meaning.
- Use spelling consistencies to check when you alternate between the US and UK English
- Use the readability report to see how long it takes readers to finish your document and how hard it is to understand.
That last report is based on the Flesch Reading Ease Score, the world’s most well-known readability test for English.
The ProwritingAid premium version also provides grammar and style checking score in real-time. It is a little score in the upper left corner of the editing screen that updates as you edit.
Why is this useful?
You’ll know instantly if your edits are making your article better or worse!
Sticky sentences report
The sticky sentences report also deserves special mention. It helps you see how many of your sentences contain glue words, that is words which take up space before a reader can get to your idea e.g.
“We do know that he, like us, is not a fan of adverbs!” Glue index: 61.5%
“Like us, he isn’t a fan of adverbs!” Glue index: 42.8% – Sentence length
As you can see, ProWritingAid contains lots of insights like these that you can use while editing your articles or book. It’s up to you to choose what you want to accept or ignore.
If you’re unsure, it offers a helpful guide to each type of report and context behind identified errors.
ProWritingAid Plagiarism Checker
This app also has plagiarism checker, a feature that will appeal to students and nonfiction writers. However, you must buy credits to use this tool.
Then, I checked several book chapters.
In case you’re worried, I didn’t plagiarise while writing my book!
However, some chapters in my book are based on articles I wrote for Forbes or published on Medium.
I often write articles and then refine my ideas later for a different audience, provided I have the editor‘s permission.
I was curious to see if ProWritingAid would recognise where which book chapters were based on Forbes articles.
I was pleased to find it passed the test and it presented me with links to my Medium and Forbes articles.
This plagiarism checker will appeal to anyone who writes academic essays and also to those who want to scan their content and check it’s not being misused elsewhere.
It could even help you find citations for non-fiction works if you’ve forgotten a link or source.
How Much Does ProWritingAid Cost
- $0 per year (free version)
- $50 or €60 for one year
- $75 or €90 for two years
- $100 or €120 for three years
- $175 €210 for lifetime access
You can claim a 25% discount on these prices if you sign up here.
Unlike other grammar checkers, you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription. It’s also more affordable than other premium grammar checkers which typically cost €20-30 per month.
The plagiarism checker costs extra. Ten checks cost $10 or $10 per month and 100 cost €40.
Alternatively, you can buy ProWritingAid Premium Plus, which includes 50 checks per year. That costs an extra $10 or €10.
Is ProWritingAid Free?
There is a free version of ProWritingAid, though it is quite limited.
ProWritingAid Free ($0 per year):
- Summary Report of Key Issues
- 19 Writing Reports
- Edit 500 words at a time
- Available as an online editing tool only (no access to the desktop version)
ProWritingAid Premium ($60 per year):
- All of the free version
- No word limit
- Desktop version
- Integrations for: Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Chrome, and Scrivener
ProWritingAid Plus ($70 per year):
- All of the premium version
- 50 plagiarism checks per year
- Perfect for academics
If you are interested in one of the premium packages, you can request a 14-day trial and decide if it’s right for you. You can also claim a 25% discount.
ProWritingAid Refund Policy
If you’re unsure about ProWritingAid, but still want to try it, they offer a 14-day refund policy.
ProWritingAid Integrations with Online Writing Tools
ProWritingAid can be used with dedicated online tools for writing, including Google Docs, Scrivener and word processor.
Here’s how these integrations work:
How to Use ProWritingAid With Chrome and Google Docs
ProWritingAid offers a browser extension for Chrome.
Once installed, the ProWritingAid this plugin checks your writing on the go. Use it to scan emails, social media posts and more for grammar errors.
You must install a separate add-in to scan Google documents. This presents summary reports about your writing.
However, I had trouble getting the Google Docs add-on to work properly, despite having a premium license.
So, I returned to the desktop ProWritingAid app to write this review.
How to Use ProWritingAid With Scrivener
Many indie authors use Scrivener to write their novels.
This may explain why ProWritingAid supports Scrivener projects, unlike other grammar checkers.
First, open up a Scrivener document in ProWritingAid. Then, it presents the folder structure of your file. Now, navigate to each folder or file within your Scrivener document and fix errors on the go.
I haven’t come across this feature in other free or premium grammar checkers.
If you use Scrivener extensively, you’ll find it a real time-saver.
How to Add ProWritingAid to Word
You can use ProWritingAid for Microsoft Word or Outlook by downloading add-ins. Unfortunately, I couldn’t test this add-in properly as its Windows only.
However, I found a workaround while researching this ProWritingAid review.
To use it for Word, simply open a Word document with ProWritingAid. It scans your document for errors and grammar mistakes.
You can fix these directly in the app and save your changes to the Word document.
ProWritingAid Vs. Other Grammar Checkers
ProWritingAid finds more errors than the inbuilt grammar checker in Word or Google docs, but you still must decide about acting on its suggestions.
I also always recommend working with a proofreader before publishing a longer piece of writing like a book.
ProWritingAid holds its own compared to other premium grammar checkers in terms of accuracy and ease of use. You won’t regret using it to check your writing.
I found it slightly slower to use than other grammar checkers like Grammarly.
Rather than presenting information in text boxes to the right of my writing, I had to click on individual errors within a document to review the issue.
It also doesn’t offer a mobile app which may put off those who enjoy writing using an iPad or tablet.
I particularly enjoyed the extensive writing reports. These are more detailed than those offered by other grammar checkers. I’m sure they’ll appeal to anyone who is editing a draft of an article or book.
For example, understanding the length of your sentences and your usage of vague and abstract words will help you learn to self-edit.
The most common alternatives are Grammarly, Ginger and WhiteSmoke.
If you are interested in a Grammarly review, check out Grammarly Review: Is This Grammar Checker Worth It?
Watch My ProWritingAid 2020 Video Review
Get a Free Book from ProWritingAid
Their team is offering a new book: How to Go From First Draft to Published Author: Is Traditional Publishing the Best Option for You?
This book will help you decide to go with traditional, indie, or hybrid publishing.
And it’s free. Check it out
ProWritingAid Review 2020: Is It Worth It?
- Ease of Use
Is ProWritingAid worth it?
ProWritingAid is worth it if you write fiction extensively.
It’s the best grammar checker I’ve tested for fiction writers because of its native support for Scrivener and additional writing reports which other grammar checkers don’t offer.
It’s also worth it if you value additional insights about your writing.
If you don’t write fiction extensively, ProWritingAid is still a useful grammar checker provided it fits around your writing workflow.
Yes it has some quirks, but it’s an affordable and accurate grammar checker for most writers.
Any writer who edits for a living will also find ProWritingAid a useful tool in their armoury.
- Ideal for fiction writers
- Helps with self-editing
- Insightful writing reports
- No word-count limit
- Supports Scrivener files!
- Cheaper than other grammar checkers
- No library of documents inside ProWritingAid
- Slightly slower than other grammar checkers
- No Safari plugin or mobile apps