Grammarly: My Unpaid Writing Editor

| December 15, 2017 | 18 Comments

GrammarlyGrammarly has become the go-to app for my first round of document editing. I learned about it one day when I was perusing Heath and Alyssa’s blog. I came across their post entitled, Our Most-Used Tools for Project Management and discovered Grammarly. Heath and Alyssa are living my dream life. They’re traveling around in an RV and earning money online (BTW, if you’re interested in earning money, listen to their podcast: Learning How to Make $5k/Month in Blog Revenue. It’s very informative).

Anyway, in the blog post, Alyssa summarizes tools that have helped her organize her business and improve her writing. She mentioned a few tools, but Grammarly was the tool that caught my attention. I think of it sort of like an editor in app form. More than the spell check function in Word or Google Docs, Grammarly corrects spelling but it also corrects punctuation, word usage and grammar. Documents that have passed the Word and Google Docs spell check, didn’t fare so well with Grammarly.

How Grammarly Works

Currently, Grammarly offers four options as follows:

  • Download the app to work within the Windows environment
  • Download the app to work within Microsoft Word only
  • Install the Chrome extension to work with almost any input field
  • Upload (or copy and paste) documents to your account

Since I’ve installed the Chrome extension, I’m using the extension to check my online writing. The odd thing is though, Grammarly is not yet compatible with Google Docs, where I do 99% of my writing. So, if I type this blog post within the WordPress interface, Grammarly will check my document as I type. However, not all of my online work ends up on a WordPress blog. For those documents, I copy and paste the text into my Grammarly account for checking. Once checked, I remove it and place it where it’s supposed to go.

For larger documents, there’s an upload option. Copying and pasting a 20-page document might not be practical. In such cases uploading the document into the Grammarly interface is a better way to go. So far I’ve not found the need to upload documents.Edit

Grammarly: Free versus Premium

As with most useful apps, there’s a free and a premium version. I’ve only used the free version. It does a great job of correcting my spelling and especially adding or deleting commas as necessary (I really do have a problem with commas). The premium version offers more corrections, checks for plagiarism, improve writing skills (enhanced vocabulary suggestions) and purportedly helps your writing get better results. For these improvements you can choose one of the following payment options:

  • $29.95 per month billed monthly
  • $19.95 per month billed quarterly
  • $11.66 per month billed annually

There’s also a business team plan for $10/month per member with a minimum requirement of 3 members. The business plan is billed annually.

My Relationship with Grammarly

Grammarly Cringe

For my purposes (and pocket) the free plan is more than enough. While it works well most of the time, there are times when the program’s corrections are incorrect for the document’s subject matter. Actually, that’s something to be expected when technology takes on human tasks.  Either way, running a document check through the program is like having a second pair of eyes. An extra pair of eyes performing a grammar, spell, usage check is always good.  Although, it is humbling (if not embarrassing) to see the errors Grammarly picks up when I use it to check my old posts. Talk about cringe-worthy!  I guess it’s better to correct them now than never correct them at all.

 

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Category: WordPress, Writing, Writing Stuff

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (18)

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  1. Ken says:

    Oh snap! Lol. Look who’s back!

  2. Thanks for the mention Felicia! 🙂

  3. As always you have useful information. I am completely turned off by Grammerly because of their commercials on Youtube – they try to convince you that you are disabled and cannot LIVE without their product. I find this incredibly insulting, like getting to know well meaning people in a new church who think you don’t know anything and feel that they must teach you all of their ways of thinking even though they don’t know you – absolutely aggravating. But from what you wrote here, I can see Grammarly is an excellent tool, one I will never use, but still, you did an excellent job selling me on it! Sometimes we have to look deeper and past the skin to see what beauty is within. I maybe shouldn’t apply that sort of comparison to a great program, but there it is nonetheless. And yes, I make grammar mistakes, but I can usually figure them out when my brain activates the warning light – like how I misspelled grammar at the beginning of my paragraph. Did you catch that by the way?

    I’m kind of going on, but my feeling is that I don’t throw a fit when I see mistakes in a book I’m reading, if it is well written and engaging, then I don’t mind a few flaws. I think it is obvious if the author is lazy and untalented, or if they simply have some hiccups. What I find kind of funny and annoying is when you get farther along in a book, and the mistakes increase. Then you know that their steam is running out or they are rushing to meet a deadline and just want to wrap it up. That kind of annoys me, but I always like to think that they just can’t stop writing and are up till the wee hours every night because they are so excited about finishing. At least I hope that’s what it is.

    One thing I think Grammarly will interfere with is your personal touch. It may tell you that certain words are out of proper grammatical order, but often, the way an author creates sentence structure is his or her style and is not in my opinion an error.

    Some people contend that the English language is the most difficult to understand and use, and I can see why they think that. But I love it. There is an order AND a fluidity that makes it the most beautiful language to work with even if it is phonetically not the most beautiful and lacks descriptiveness that foreign languages excel in.

    So for those reasons and not just my personal feelings about how they make me feel, I will never use Grammarly or any complex editing software. I want my style and even my “mistakes” to shine through because it is part of who I am. And if I change it, then it is me at the present who changes it.

    Also, I love the link you posted about Heath and Alyssa, I can’t wait to check it out when my brain is fully awake. I am fixing up a trailer to live in myself, so it’s a double whammy for me – I am finally beginning work on building my own blog as well and need some direction there.

    Thanks so much for this post, it got my brain going this morning-noon.

    • Felicia says:

      Loved your comment, Alexander!

      I agree with you about the personal touch. As such, there are several of my “mistakes” that I leave in because they are my own personal touch. You also offered different insight on grammatical errors in books. I’m not a perfectionist, but I often get distracted by obvious spelling and grammar errors in books. So much so that I cannot finish reading the book (depending on how egregious the errors). Maybe I should lighten up.

      As far as fixing up a trailer, that’s really cool! When you do get your blog up and running, please let me know. I’d like to take a look.

      Thanks for sharing your insights.

      • I finally saw your comment! Thank you, it will probably take a little while, I’m on the slow train, the Holiday doldrums.

        But yes, if the mistakes are too many, I will close the book because they usually accompany bad writing overall. Maybe MY standards are too low!

        Arrrgh, now I’m stressing over my grammar! Lol.

        • Felicia says:

          LOL! Don’t stress. Here on NJFM, we’re a pretty forgiving crew. All you need to do is go through a few of my error-laden posts to see what I mean.

          Sorry to hear about the holiday doldrums. It can be a rough time of year for some folks.

          For me, the best time of year is the week between Christmas and New Years. It’s a time for much reflection. I find the older I get, the more I enjoy reflecting on the past year and coming up with my “word of the year.” In essence, it’s a word that represents a particular quality I’d like to focus on. Doing so helps to direct me throughout the year.

          What I like about this approach is that by the end of the year it becomes a habit. It’s something I don’t have to think about in years to come leaving me with the ability to improve yet another quality in the following year.

          By implementing this process several years ago, I’ve found the holidays to be less stressful. I’ve learned to focus on the reason for the season and the rest of the stuff seems so superficial. You do run the risk of being the weirdo in the group, but so be it! 🙂

  4. Loretta says:

    Hi there, Felicia. I was so happy to see your post about Grammarly. I discovered and began using the program about three years ago, and it immediately became my new best (editorial) friend.

    I entirely agree with your critique of Grammarly. My delight is that, as you said, it “corrects punctuation, word usage, and grammar.” Let me add, when it is good, it is very good, but occasionally it gets temperamental. As you also stated sometimes it makes corrections that are incorrect for a particular document.

    There is another kink that I have experienced a few times while using the program (which I enable when writing my blog posts and other items that I don’t want to look like I wrote them while asleep).

    Here is what happens. Once in a while, I will be joyfully keying my thoughts onto a page when suddenly the document will begin deleting (backspacing) from the point where I am keying. It’s as if I am holding down the backspace button, and I can’t stop it from erasing my text. Even hitting the escape button doesn’t stop the ghost. As I recall (which I seldom do until the event occurs again, the only way I can stop the process is to close the document by hitting the x button in the upper right corner of the screen. I have lost entire paragraphs because of that glitch; so although Word automatically saves documents, periodically, I will manually save whatever I am working on of importance, just to be safe.
    I haven’t yet figured out what causes the problem. The first time it occurred (and each subsequent time), I ran my virus checker because I was sure I had somehow gotten a virus on my machine, but zilch! And since this strange phenomenon only occurs (periodically) and only when I am typing in Word, with Grammarly enabled, I figure that it must be a glitch in the Grammarly software. Aside from that, I have no issues with Grammarly.

    By the way, I pay $59.95 quarterly for the program and for me it is worth the cost.

    Thanks, Felicia, for posting another excellent subject.

    • Felicia says:

      Loretta, thanks for sharing your Grammarly experience with us. Have you notified Grammarly about the glitch? I’d be interested to know how they responded.

      • I have not informed Grammarly about the issue, Felicia, and I should and will. I am usually functioning like a runaway train and often too busy to take care of things like that. However, I’m going to slide that up closer to the top of my todo list. BTW — I’m wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and God’s continued blessings in the New Year.

        • Felicia says:

          I understand, Loretta. Sometimes we get so used to the workarounds and forget that the software program isn’t supposed to act like that. I’m curious to know if other users run into the same problem.

          Can’t believe it’s the end of the year already. Guess it’s time to reflect and plan. Actually, I like this time of the year. Reflection is always good. It helps us to make improvements in the year to come. Thank you for the well wishes, and I wish the same to you and your family. BTW, Grammarly told me that it should be “good” wishes instead of “well.” I’m feeling rebellious and will keep it at well wishes. 😉

  5. Vidya Sury says:

    That’s nice! I’ll check it out, Felicia! Also keen on listening to Heath and Alyssa’s podcast!

    I could definitely do with an online checker, as my fingers cannot keep pace with my thoughts when I type.

    Love and hugs, and a very merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

    • Felicia says:

      I know what you mean about the finger – brain connection. 🙂 I think you’ll appreciate Grammarly.

      Wishing all the best and a Merry Christmas to you and yours too!!

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