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 originally reviewed it in 2016. Someone has just emailed me a link to an in-depth comparison between the free and the premium versions (see below), so I thought I’d take the opportunity to review what I wrote a couple of years ago.
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.
Since writing the article above, I have stopped using Grammarly as a matter of course. It wasn’t that I didn’t find it any good; if anything, it was too good. I found it too intrusive or pernickety. But all such things are a matter of personal preference: I don’t much like automated assistants unless I deliberately activate them. The article below, not written by myself, is an in-depth comparison between the free and premium versions of Grammarly. I hope you find it useful.