Review of Grammarly
Grammarly is a spell-checker, grammar checker and much else besides. It's like the real-time assistance available in desktop applications like a word processor, but in every application and even on the web.
I have found it very useful when writing blog posts, for instance – although I have to say that sometimes the box that pops up seems a little intrusive.
Also, like other such tools, it can sometimes get it wrong. Look, for example, at the following screenshot:
Grammarly is suggesting I remove the comma after the word "subject". There is nothing wrong with that comma being there. A more useful piece of advice would have been not to use the word "subject" twice in the same sentence.
There is a free account that gives you instant access to 150 critical grammar and spelling checks and personalized features like a custom dictionary. With this version you can use the Grammarly Editor, which allows you to create and edit documents independently of other applications like a word processor. It also features a browser Extension, and a desktop version. (OS X and Windows)
The Premium version checks for 250 critical grammar and spelling checks (rather than "only" the 100 covered by the free version), offers writing genre settings, vocabulary improvement, and plagiarism detection. I found that last one very powerful and fast indeed. The Premium version is also available on MS Office as an Add-in, which I found very handy – much more comprehensive than Word's built-in proofreading tools.
The standard pricing is:
Monthly - $29.95*
Quarterly - $59.95*
Annual - $139.95*
But before you rush off to buy a subscription, see the competition details below.
Would I recommend Grammarly? The free version definitely. The Premium one I am not so sure about. It packs a lot of features, but whether you will use them all is another matter. I suppose in a way it is the writing equivalent of a Swiss army knife: the tool you need is right there at your fingertips. Check it out at Grammarly, and what I'd suggest is that you give it a whirl for a week – you sign up but there's a 7 day money-back guarantee.
Competition: win a year's premium subscription to Grammarly
The nice folks at Grammarly have offered readers of this newsletter and the ICT & Computing in Education website the chance to win a free premium subscription for one year. It's open to everyone, wherever you happen to live.
All you have to do is send me an email with Grammarly in the subject header by midnight GMT 10th January 2016.
One entry per person please, otherwise you'll be disqualified.