We’ve all been there. I’ve been there myself more than once. You’ve read that sentence back to yourself thirty times. It sounds *OK*, but do you really want to settle for *OK*?
The problem is, you don’t know how to improve it…sound familiar?
Are you someone who wants to write for a living? Then you should be using all the best digital tools to your advantage. For example, do you use a grammar checker? If not, you should. The challenge, then, comes from finding the best grammar checker online. With so many options, where do you start?
When it comes to writing for a living, one key aspect of your work is accuracy. Quality and accuracy in any kind of writing are always going to help bring you more readers. Not only are people more likely to share well-written work, but they will be more receptive to the ideas within. Sometimes, a lack of clarity in your writing, or a lack of familiarity, can create an uncertain end product. When that is the case, you might not be 100% sure what the best thing to do is.
I recommend that you invest your resources into getting the best grammar checker that you can find. One popular option now, for example, is Grammarly. To help you out, I have broken down some key factors about what might make Grammarly the best grammar checker online.
In this article, I’ll take a closer look at what makes Grammarly an enormously powerful and effective tool. I’ll also look at what might hold it back in some ways. One thing I want to make clear, though, is that Grammarly – like many other grammar checkers – has far more pros than it does cons.
So, what is Grammarly? And, more importantly, why should you try it?
What is Grammarly?
Grammarly (Grammarly.com) is a robust online grammar checking, spell checking, and plagiarism detector. For many people, it’s an essential part of their day-to-day editing. When it comes to young writers and fledgling authors, it’s the editor that you need. For editors, it’s the extra pair of eyes you would generally need to pay five figures for.
It first was launched in July 2009, and since then it has become a bit of a name in the grammar checking industry. Many people use it daily, from university lecturers to freelance writers. Others use it less often but find it has more than enough feature variety to ensure it does the job that they had in mind.
The people behind Grammarly, Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko, have created an impressive piece of equipment. Hailed as a ‘free writing assistant,’ it’s a tool used for everything from proofreading an e-mail reply to making your latest keystone blog content stand out and hit the right tone with the reader. For that reason, Grammarly has become a tool that many people use to their advantage daily.
It has an awe-inspiring range of features, and it makes an excellent choice for those who usually would struggle with editing and proofreading. For example, you could be a volume writer: you could be writing anything from 5,000 to 20,000 words in a day, covering all manner of topics. It’s highly likely that if this is your role, you will be making mistakes – mistakes that, once pointed out, will make your face go a shade of crimson with embarrassment.
With so much to cover, though, Grammarly ensures such mistakes become fewer and more far between. Is Grammarly, though, your only option?
Are there any Grammarly alternatives?
As you might imagine, Grammarly is not the only grammar checker online. However, one would have to argue quite significantly to say it’s not the best grammar checker online. It’s a powerful, varied, unique tool. And it has more than enough features for just about any writer. However, if you do like to have the value of choice, then some other grammar checking software alternatives include:
- Ginger. A robust editing tool, Ginger is good for helping you to become a more productive writer. It’s an excellent all-around online grammar checker as it can be used a browser extension, too. Ginger, though, is not necessarily as feature-heavy or as language diverse as Grammarly.
- ATD. Otherwise known as After The Deadline, ATD is an especially useful tool for Google Chrome users. With a good readability checker and grammar checker installed, it allows for quick and easy adjustment of all your written works online.
- Hemingway. Probably the best alternative, Hemingway is a sound editor for making sure you can improve readability, adjust grammar, and find spelling errors that generally fly under the radar. It’s excellent for making your content more readable, though it’s algorithms can be a tough jarring.
- LanguageTool. Suitable for most web browsers and web-based text editors, LanguageTool is worth having for a few reasons. It is, though, most ideal for those doing smaller counts. The free version only allows for 20,000 characters; that’s easy to hit on most topics.
So, you can hopefully see that Grammarly is not the only grammar checker online. However, it does have the best features. Let us look at some of the reasons why, for us, Grammarly might be the best grammar checker online. What makes sure it beats the competition above?
Grammarly Key Features
There are many useful and practical features that Grammarly provides you with. By simply signing up via the Grammarly website and creating a free account, you’ll be given a full tour of the system and its various features. You’ll be asked to set up particular preferences based on the kind of writer that you are. This would include features like:
- The type of writer you intend to be – a storyteller, reporter, descriptive author, etc.
- The audience you intend to target – general people, experts, intermediates, etc.
- The style of your writing – is it going to be academic? Informal? Conversational?
As you might imagine, each of these answers means that you can get different responses to the feedback. An academic piece for a formal audience will be far stricter than, say, writing a conversational article for your fishing blog. Some of the key features I felt were most important to mention, though, include:
- Up-to-date, real-time information and feedback on your content (and suggested changes).
- Easy to follow descriptions of why a change should be made, helping your writing to improve.
- Your usage of key grammatical tools such as commas.
- Outdated or incorrect spelling in relation to the context of the content.
- Pick up on the use of repetitive words and phrases over a period of time.
- Improvements on use of adjectives.
- Full integration with social media and e-mail tools, such as Gmail.
I found all these features to be very effective and useful indeed. In fact, all of them would actively help anyone to improve their writing. The most useful feature, though, is the residual pick-up of over-used adjectives. I had a habit of re-using the same collection of adjectives for certain writing levels, and Grammarly helped me to pick up on that and improve upon it naturally. In terms of features, Grammarly offers all the features that I would want, need, and expect, of an online grammar checker.
If you wish to use Grammarly, then you have many ways to do so. I found the most effective ways to use it was:
- To open up Grammarly and copy/paste the content straight in.
- Use Grammarly’s ‘Import’ feature to copy in a word processor document.
- Write directly into Grammarly, allowing it to edit/change my content as I go.
- Use the Grammarly plug-in to check my writing as I write online (not for word processors).
The one thing to note about all the above, though, is that every feature is a piece of cake to use. If you are looking for the best grammar checker online from a usability perspective, Grammarly most certainly wins the day. It’s easy to install, to use, and to let it pick up on the content that you write.
And best of all? Grammarly is free to use. You can, of course, choose to pay for Grammarly Premium (more on that below), but the features listed above are free to use.
Who can get the most out of Grammarly?
One of the best things about Grammarly is that anyone who writes in any capacity should get something from it. Some of the biggest beneficiaries of using such a tool, though, shall include:
- Content writers and content marketers looking for improved readability.
- Bloggers, authors, and writers who want more authentic content.
- Genre-specific writers targeting a specific industry or theme.
- Students who are looking to turn in work that impresses their lecturer and marking bodies.
- Anyone concerned that work might arrive with stolen/plagiarized content.
- Anyone looking to ensure their content is accurate from a grammatical standpoint.
With all these factors in mind, then, it’s easy to see why so many people might choose to use Grammarly. If you think you might fall into any of the above categories, then you should have little to no problem in getting the most out of Grammarly.
Even if you are looking to write the most awesome love letter, you’ll find that Grammarly helps you to make someone swoon through your brilliant use of the English language!
Is Grammarly, though, like an assistant?
Grammarly versus your own eyes
The main question that a lot of people who may wish to use a grammar checker online might have, though, is this: ‘How good is an online grammar checker versus an assistant?’
And the answer is that it’s not as good as a professional proofer. For those who are writing an essay article, an e-mail, even a small eBook, it should be perfect. It gives dependable, automated feedback without having to wait for someone to get back to you.
For something longer, though, it will miss out the little errors that can turn a good book into a delightful book. If you are writing an academic paper, a manuscript, a book, etc. then you should still hire a professional proofreader. For anything smaller than that, though? Grammarly is more than good enough to stand-in for a proofreader.
While Grammarly manages to pack a good punch into the main version of this software, Grammarly Premium solves many of the issues above. Grammarly Premium is about as good as you are going to get without hiring an actual proofreader. It helps to remove many of those menial but time-consuming tasks that you need to do when editing your content and can pick up on more errors than the regular version.
Priced at around $29.95/month (or $139.95 in one payment for the year), Grammarly Premium is a relatively expensive online grammar checker. If you want a more advanced, robust checking experience, though, it’s a price well worth paying.
If you are all about creating content with high readability scores, it has all manner of great genre-specific writing style that helps you to adapt to your audience. As you might imagine, that is particularly useful.
You can also get an excellent useful learning tool that helps you to see not just what you have done wrong, but why. For writers still learning the more advanced side of writing, this alone would make a Grammarly Premium subscription worth it. From improved wording definitions to a plagiarism detector, too, the Premium edition is, for once, a worthwhile investment worth considering.
Issues with Grammarly
That being said, I do have to point out a few issues with Grammarly before moving any further forward. The first problem that most people find is that the web browser extension will slow down the speed at which words appear on-screen. Naturally, for fast writers, that can be a real annoyance.
The issue with this is that, if you are a fast typist, you will notice that some letters don’t get picked up during scanning. As such, you can end up making edits and corrections you would have avoided with the lagging of Grammarly.
Other than that, though, it would be hard to find too many faults with Grammarly. You could always use the downloadable Grammarly tool, but for those who do everything in-browser, it’s a minor inconvenience.
Conclusion: is Grammarly for me?
So, as you can see, Grammarly is an exceptional tool. But, is it the best grammar checker online? Are other alternatives better?
I’ve broken down the good and the bad of Grammarly. I feel confident that, now, you fully understand what this system is. You know what it can do. And where it might have some limits. For any writing professional, though, it would be an excellent addition to your collection.
Whether you are an author, a proof-reader, an editor, or a freelance writer, you will get a lot of value from using Grammarly. Yes, it does have some limits: none of those limits, though, will make you wish you were using an alternative.
Some of the other good options out there might be worth look at, sure. If you want the ‘complete’ package, though, Grammarly probably wins the day. It’s easy to use, it’s feature-heavy, and it has plenty of quality waiting for you under the hood.
Whether you just intend on using this for proofreading or for anything else, you’ll find that Grammarly can live up to expectations. I think it’s an excellent piece of equipment, and it has more than enough volume in the features section to suit just about every need you could have.
I find it makes my own editing and proofing a whole lot easier. From that point of view, it’s especially useful. Given the fact the free version is so easy to use, it’s about as good as grammar checkers online are going to be at this stage!