Grammarly Review - is it a useful proofreading tool for bloggers? • ThinkTuitive

Grammarly Review

Is it a useful proofreading tool for bloggers?

By Dana Tran | Updated: May 8 2017

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links.

I’m not a writer. Are you? In fact, I hate writing. Especially when you open up a fresh blank new document…only to find yourself 10 minutes later staring at the blinking cursor. I’m not a fan of writing, not just because of my common “writer’s block”, but also because of fear. Fear of writing something, posting it on my blog or on social media only…only to realize later that I made a silly mistake. That’s where Grammarly comes in.

Grammarly website

What does Grammarly Cost?

So good news…some bad news…and some more “good” news.
Good news – there’s a free version of Grammarly. (Yay!)

Bad news – there is a premium version which has a lot more features and catches more mistakes (compared to the free version).

“Good” news – the premium version is “affordable”. I used quotations when I say that because affordable can mean different things to different people. To me, I find it affordable because it is a cost-effective way of getting my writing proofread without hiring someone.

The screenshot below shows the breakdown of the differences between the free and premium version. (I’ll go through some of the features in detail below).

Free vs Premium Grammarly

As for the price, it’s $11.66/month – billed as one payment for the year.

If you’re working on a project and need some extra proofreading checks for short period of time, I suppose you can go with the monthly plan or quarterly plan. But I find those plans quite pricey.

Grammarly Premium Pricing PlanLet’s do some math, shall we?

If you’re on the monthly plan and you end up keeping it for 12 months, that’s $359.40 for the year!!!

If you’re on the quarterly plan and keep it for 12 months, you would end up paying $239.76! (better than monthly but still pricey)

Overall, the annual plan at $139.95 is the best deal. If you’re still uncertain, I’d recommend that you try out the free version of Grammarly, and then decide whether the annual upgrade is the right choice.

…Moving on from pricing, shall we look at some of the features of Grammarly?

Top 7 Useful Grammarly Features for Bloggers

(Note: some features below might only be available for premium users)…

1. Grammarly Dashboard

When you login to Grammarly, you’ll see your account dashboard. You’ll be able to create or upload new documents to be checked by the Grammarly Editor. Any documents in here will be saved so you could store all your writing here (I personally prefer using google doc or evernote…but it’s just a personal preference).

Grammarly Dashboard

2. Document Type…to evaluating your writing style

When you create a document, you can choose a document type – which tells Grammarly the specific “writing style” your aiming for. For example, a blog post written using the style techniques of an academic paper, taught by your high school English teacher, wouldn’t really interest your visitors.

With Grammarly , you can let it what you’re writing. And in most cases, if you’re a blogger, you would pick Article/blog post or Ad/website copy. If the tool catches you writing in a very formal manner (a lingering habit from your corporate job), it will actually flag your sentence! Just a nice reminder for you to “lighten” things up a little.

Grammarly document type

3. Writing Stats…

This feature is a little hidden. If you go to your Grammarly dashboard and open up a document, at the bottom, there’s actually a gray bar with some stats about your writing!

By default, it shows the word count…

Grammarly Toolbar - Word Count

If you click on the word count, it switches to character count…

Grammarly Toolbar - Character Count

Click it again, and you get estimated speaking time.

Grammarly Toolbar - Speaking Time

4. Plagiarism…

I have a confession. I sometimes “accidently plagiarize”. I don’t know about you, but before writing, I spend a lot of time researching.

I copy bits and pieces of information into google docs.

I also put into that google doc my (random) thoughts and sentences that I should include.

Sometimes, I mix those two up, thinking that a reference bit was something that I wrote. (Yikes!)

That’s why I love Grammarly‘s Plagiarism checker and always turn it on!

Plagarism

To test out their plagiarism feature, I went to Grammarly’s blog and pulled up an article “Proofreading Tips for a More Productive 2016”. I copied and paste that exact blurb into a blank document and waited to see what happens.

In a few seconds, Grammarly flagged the entire paragraph in a yellow, warning me that the text contains “Unoriginal text”. In fact, it also provided me links to 3 sources that contained the snippet that I “stole”.

Don't get caught plagiarizing

5. Synonyms…only a double-click away

Ah…I love my thesaurus and synonyms. To use the synonym feature, simply double click on the word and options will appear. It is always useful handy to have a quickly instantly access the thesaurus to replace words that you use often regularly.

Grammarly synonym

6. Explanations….So You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Grammarly doesn’t just fix your mistakes for you, but it also gives you an explanation along with the suggestion. As a blogger, you’re going to be writing…a lot. I suggest that you “Don’t waste a good mistake…Learn from it.” — Robert Kiyosaki, Author of Rich Dad Poor Dad Sivamus

Grammarly explanation

7. Personal Dictionary…because certain words don’t exist

This must be one of my top favorite features. Thinktuitive, the name of this site, is a made-up word, so it is always flagged by Grammarly. In fact, since solopreneur doesn’t currently exist in the dictionary (shocking, I know…), the word solopreneur also gets flagged.

Even though “solopreneur” isn’t recognized as a word, there is a right way of spelling it, correct?

Grammarly has a feature called Personal Dictionary where you can add your own words so that they won’t be flagged as misspellings. Unless you spell solopreneur wrong…maybe soloprener or soloproneur…

Personal Dictionary

Grammarly Apps

Now you’re probably wondering, great, Grammarly has all those features, but where does it work? Do i Have to login to Grammarly each time?

The answer is no. You do not! Grammarly is very easy to setup and install so that i’ll work on (almost) every website on Chrome – including gmail, wordpress, social media sites such as facebook, twitter and pinterest. There’s also an extension for Microsoft Office (only compatible on Mac), a native desk app for both Windows and Mac.

Grammarly Apps (View on a PC)

Grammarly Apps (PC)

Grammarly Apps (View on a Mac)

Grammarly Apps (PC)

Facebook

First test was facebook. I tried to update my facebook status…but I used the word “then” instead of “than”. It managed to flag that error. (Yay!)

Grammarly in Facebook

WordPress

For the second test, I wrote in the WordPress editor…and it was able to pick up the “incorrect verb”.

Grammarly in WordPress

Gmail

Third test I used Gmail. Now, I use gmail at least 10,000 times a day (okay…slight exageration). I tried trick grammarly by using the word “right” instead of “write”. Amazingly enough, it also managed to flag that error, even providing me with an explanation “Did you mean write?”.

Grammarly in Gmail

And just in case you’re wondering, the number “1” in the red circle bascially let’s you know how many errors are in the document/email/text. If there isn’t any error, it changes from the angry red to a peaceful happy green. 🙂

Pinterest

I love pinterest! And yes, it does work in Pinterest – even for little areas such as comments.

Grammarly in Pinterest

Yes, I know those are horrible spelling mistakes. They were done on purpose I assure you.

Grammarly Toolbar in Microsoft Office

As of November 2016, Grammarly does not have a Microsoft Office integration on Mac. Mac users will just have to reply on the less-robust Microsoft Office spellcheck and grammar check.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only bad news. PC users, if you do install Grammarly, you’ll see a toolbar added to your ribbon (that’s the top menu bar). You can toggle various features on or off.

Grammarly Toolbar in Microsoft Office

However, if you DO ENABLE Grammarly…the auto-save function of Word WILL be disabled.
Autosave in Office
…and the undo function will ALSO be automatically disabled.

Grammarly - undo

Professional Proofreading

Another interesting feature of Grammarly…you also have the option of hiring a professional proofreader directly within the tool. They charge you based on price and also by how fast you need the document returned. you

If you need it returned within 24 hours – it’s $0.02 per words. For a 1000-word blog post, that’s $20.

If you need it quicker, within 3 hours, the price jumps to $0.06 per word. Four cents doesn’t seem much, but if you do the math, for a 1000-word blog post, that’s $60. That doesn’t ou

Professional Proofreading in Grammarly

Disclaimer: I’m currently subscribed to the premium Grammarly tool but I haven’t tested out or used their professional proofreading tool. I only wanted to point out this feature…because hiring a qualified proofreader can be a time-consuming process. If you’re in a rush, it might be something to consider since this service is available 24/7 and they only hire “experienced professionals, many with Master’s and PhD degrees in English”.

Overall Thoughts

Pros:

  • Works in Chrome in all the websites that a blogger should need (Gmail, Social Media, WordPress, Comments)
  • Personal dictionary is a great feature – to make sure that you spell certain words correctly (specially words like solopreneur that doesn’t exist in the dictionary)
  • A cheaper alternative to hiring a proofreader or bothering a friend/family member each time you write something on the web.
  • Has a document type where you can toggle the style over to “writing for the web”
  • Provide you with stats on your writing
  • A “smarter” proofreader in comparison to Microsoft Office’s built-in tool and Google Doc

Cons:

  • Cost of Premium plan is $11.66/month which may or may not be affordable for some bloggers
  • Is not compatible with Microsoft Office in Mac
  • If used in Microsoft Office (PC), the autosave and Undo feature is automatically disabled

Recommendation:

Overall, I’ve been quite happy with my Grammarly purchase. The tool isn’t perfect and can sometimes get confused…It’s job is to identify errors but you still need to do the correct. It is, however, better than nothing. As a blogger, you do a lot of writing and editing. It is comforting to know that I have Grammarly to do some of the checks.