An Honest Grammarly Review: What You Must Know Before You Buy
I started Zoogly Media in 2015, and one of the first products I purchased for the business was Grammarly.
Because no one likes the sounds of the ‘grammar police’ sirens heading to your latest email, report or blog article.
We all have different views on grammar but sadly it is human nature to look for faults, and if they spot an error this can take them away from the content you have written.
You want the reader to be engrossed and to absorb your content, not pause and think ‘there is a mistake’.
In my experience, once this happens, you have a good chance to lose the readers respect, and if you are in business this could be an issue!
This Updated Grammarly review is based on over two years of use and testing, so you can be sure you will have a review that is born out of experience and not a test drive.
Grammarly has gone through some huge changes, and this review goes through the latest version of Grammarly.
We will be exploring the various features of the product and will be letting you know if this grammar checking tool is worth the premium price tag.
Ready? Let’s do this.
What Does Grammarly Do?
Grammarly is an online grammar and spell checker tool for everyone that has to write on the web.
But the best way to show you how Grammarly works is to use it for this article, as I am writing it.
With that in mind, this is what this article looks like now with Grammarly checking it step by step.
Grammarly works as a stand-alone tool, or you can use it in various tools such as WordPress.
As you can see in the WordPress editor, Grammarly operates on a low profile.
The red circle on the bottom right is how I access the main Grammarly editing window and the red lines under each word are highlights of my bad grammar and general spelling mistakes.
As you can see I have made a lot. Some of these are just typos, and others are my terrible grammar, but either way, the red lines tell me where I stand.
Grammarly is like having someone standing over my shoulder telling me where I have gone wrong and to be honest it has saved me from some fundamental errors.
Does Grammarly Work In Google Docs? (Updated 2018)
Yes, Grammarly now works in Google Docs.
In August 2018 Grammarly announced they have begun Beta testing Grammarly for Google Docs.
The downside for people is that this is only for premium users at this time.
All the features of Grammarly premium are not available in Google docs at this time, but the basics are there but you can ‘open a document up’ in Grammarly ‘from Google Docs.
To do this you simply click on the Grammarly icon in the bottom corner and press the ‘open on Grammarly button’.
At this point, things do get a little tricky.
As your changes in the Grammarly editor aren’t reflected on the original Google doc you will need to ‘copy and paste’ into a new Doc.
This, of course, means you need to upload any images you have used again.
I expect this to be sorted after Beta testing though, and the pop up editor will work.
One of my favourite uses of Grammarly, however, is social media.
Posting on social media for clients is a major part of what I do, and on any one day, we can be posting around 20 to 40 times for customers.
Grammarly works on social media platforms just fine and has been very useful when spotting mistakes I was just about to make on a client Facebook post.
But what else can you use Grammarly for?
Distraction Free Writing
One of the primary uses for Grammarly is to have distraction-free writing, and if you are writing a document for a client, then this is fantastic.
It is here where Grammarly has changed so much.
This is a screenshot of the old Grammarly article writing dashboard.
And this is the new version:
As you can see, this is a huge white canvas now, and the assistant is tucked away at the top right corner.
This is great for distraction-free writing.
In the old version of Grammarly, there was a lot going on with the screen; it felt very ‘narrow’ in screen width and less of a ‘blank canvas’.
I am pleased to say this has now been improved.
The platform is a professional writers playroom, and as the words emerge on the screen, you are shown with a red line that there is a possible mistake.
With this new version of Grammarly it seems to work faster, and if you want to ignore the mistakes to the end or correct straight away, you have either option at your disposal.
If you want to correct right away a ‘hover’ over the word will reveal your error, and you can fix it at lightning speed.
In fact, the new Grammarly is such a pleasure to use that I create 99% of my articles for clients within the Grammarly dashboard.
I do know that other writers would not like the constant red lines interrupting their focus, but I find that editing the document as I go along to be far faster than getting to the end of 1000 words and realising I have 87 mistakes to review and 150 advanced Grammar issues to look through and correct.
I have tested both ways and for myself, it is faster to edit as you go along, which reduces the editing time in the end, but that is a choice.
The New Grammarly Assistant
The new Grammarly assistant is quite interesting. Not only because of the design but how it works with your content.
After writing your masterpiece, the new Grammarly editor slides out at the click of a button to walk you through your errors.
This really does feel like you have an editor and I have to say I love the new way this works.
You have a rank score at the top which lets you know how great your article is, and it also tells you how many issues of grammar, punctuation, clarity and vocabulary there are/ improvements could be made.
However, the magic happens in the new insights button.
With the click of a button, you can find out key details including the word count and also the reading and speaking time.
The speaking time is brilliant for people who are writing speeches.
There is now a lovely readability score at the bottom which is based on the Flesch reading test
Another new addition is the ‘Set Goals’ tab which we will look at now:
Grammarly ‘Set Goals’ Tool
This is a major leap for Grammarly for artificial intelligence to support your growth as a writer.
As this setting is new, I have no idea how well this will work.
If you work as a freelance writer in one field then this may be very useful, however, if you write about a wide variety of subjects, this might be more annoying for you.
Time will tell on this tool, but I am hopeful it will be useful.
Within the Grammarly dashboard is a plagiarism checker, and for anyone who buys or sells content, this is incredibly useful.
It is just a case of uploading the word document into Grammarly or copying a pasting if you have a Google doc and then letting Grammarly do the rest
Once you have let the tool do the checking, you will get a score on the bottom right of the screen that highlights the issues and originality score.
I conducted a test with a client article that is now online.
And it passed with flying colours, spotting over 72% of the article matches the one that is online.
(This article was originally written in the old version of Grammarly, then uploaded to the clients WordPress site.)
For anyone who buys content, we can safely say that the Grammarly plagiarism checker works and is an essential purchase.
Passive Voice Checker
Without a doubt, one of my favourite elements of Grammarly has to be the fact that it checks your writing for sentences that use passive voice.
For those reading this and who do not know there is a difference between an active and passive voice (and I didn’t) here is what that means.
Verbs can either be active or passive. What this means is that in the passive tense something is being done to something, rather than something is doing the action on its own.
Passive: This article was written by Andrew Holland
Active: Andrew Holland has written this article.
Ok, so let’s go a little deeper because this can be tricky to get your head around.
Passive: The Criminal was caught by the police
Active: The Police caught the criminal
In a nutshell, the active voice describes the subject doing something, in the passive voice, the action happens to the subject.
Other examples could be ‘the fish was eaten by the bear’ which is passive that you could change to ‘the bear ate the fish’.
Now passive and active is not a Grammar fault, it is a style. However, it is generally viewed that writing in an active voice is preferred because it makes the reading more enjoyable, lively and you guessed it active.
For my style of writing (which is very passive), this made a huge difference because it forced me to tighten up my style and was worth the price of Grammarly.
Which brings me to my next point;
Is Grammarly Premium Worth It (and what does it cost)?
Grammarly has a free version that you can use which is great to try it out.
This free version is an add-on for your Chrome browser and allows you get a feel for this tool straight away.
My personal view is that if you are paid to write in any capacity, then you should have this tool and the good news is that if you work for an organisation, Grammarly has plans and systems available for your own organisation.
Grammarly for business is a great way for a business to improve the Grammar and spelling of the workforce.
For the rest of us the current pricing looks like this:
I have always used the annual payment option because let’s face it, $11 to reduce the embarrassment of poor grammar and spelling is worth it.
Ok, so what is the difference between the free and paid versions?
With the free version, you get the basic spell checker and critical Grammar, with the paid version you get a bunch of other super cool features that include:
Advanced checks for grammar, punctuation, etc
My personal opinion is that for the price there is no better tool on the market than the premium Grammarly version.
The Bad Side Of Grammarly (and my wish list of improvements)
I said that this would be an honest review and that is exactly what I will give so here is the bad.
Google docs: Yes I know I said this was a small pain but this is still a pain for me and possibly thousands of other users.
It would be great if an integration into Google docs were possible.
Thrive Content Builder Plug-in Clash: I use Thrive content builder a lot to create both my web pages and my articles, and Grammarly was compatible for a short space of time with the tool.
Sadly it is no longer compatible. I have no idea why but I guess that it has to do with a technical issue/ coding problem.
Again this is a minor niggle that means that I have just to copy and paste, but it means that I have to write in the Grammarly editor and not directly into the content builder itself.
Those are the only niggles I have but are no means deal breakers.
I wanted anyone that reads this review to gain a real-time look at Grammarly in action.
To do this, I have typed this directly into WordPress, and the Grammarly checker has been active in the background.
I personally type quite quickly and as such I have corrected a few glaring mistakes I have seen but generally just flowed with my writing. The idea was to give you an idea of how many mistakes the tool has picked up on.
The answer is:
Grammarly has detected 8 critical issues and 68 advanced issues out of 2201 words.
So what are some of those issues?
Most are basic typos, but the great thing about the tool is the correction window.
When I click on the red dot on my WordPress screen, this brings up another editor which is the Grammarly interface. This allows me to see what my mistakes are and work through them one line at a time.
This means that I can see my mistakes and work through them as well as deciding if I want to work on the advanced issues.
After going through the document line by line I have reduced the errors down to 1 critical issue and 7 advanced issues.
That took me a few minutes to do.
Grammarly is not perfect. Very often you will find yourself disagreeing with the editor because of something you wrote. For those occasions, I always look at my settings to see what style of document my settings are aligned with.
You are likely to find that if your settings are set for a report you might need to alter them to creative (or a setting to match) and this will fix the issue.
In a nutshell, I love Grammarly, and I think you will too!
Thanks for reading.