Grammarly is an editing app that checks texts for common grammatical errors. But wait, there’s more. It’s also an added extension for Word (for Windows) and various browsers. Grammarly checks grammar on apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger. It has a free component and a paid subscription service.
The Free Service:
It works on both desktop and mobile. I’ll focus on the desktop version. There is a Grammarly Keyboard app to use on mobile that spellchecks as you type on the phone.
Desktop: Grammarly can work as an extension added to your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and more, but only for Windows), an Add-In for Word (both Mac and PC), or it can run as a standalone program. (Note: I do not have Grammarly added to Word on my PC. I have ProWriting Aid on my desktop and do not want the programs to fight to the death.)
Standalone: After opening the app, click on the Import button. The program will direct you to select a file. Be aware. Grammarly, unpaid, can only a limited amount of text at a time. I do about 50-60 pages at once. Cutting and pasting the text from a larger doc is also an option. (Old school though, you must use CTRL+V to paste). Once the text is in, Grammarly will automatically scan.
On the right is the Assistant. In this window, the program gives an overall score for the doc. Below that is the list of discovered Alerts—the Correctness, Clarity, Engagement, and Delivery. By clicking on the Alerts, you can go through the document and find grammatical errors. (On the left side of the screen, open the menu. Under Editor Setting, choose Auto-Jump to Next Alert. It saves some clicks.)
Grammarly looks for several types of errors—spelling, grammar, punctuation, word choice, and style. Click through each suggestion to see if the program can correct the error. Ignore is always an option and Add to Dictionary. There is even an option to tell Grammarly that you think the suggestion is incorrect. (Like when it suggested I add an article to the word “novel,” when there was already a “the” in front of “novel.”) The overall score should go up as you edit.
When editing is complete, the document can be exported. Mine goes to a .docx for Word. Or if you are weird like me, you can edit on Grammarly and fix the doc in Word as you go. (It’s time-consuming, but it gives me on less “final final final copy” doc on my computer.)
The program is accurate to a point. Since Grammarly can’t actually understand English or that someone might be writing fiction (dialog especially), it does not always come up with the correct answer. But most of the time, you can rely on its accuracy. Grammarly finds more context errors than other programs I use. (I’m looking at you, English Spelling and Homophones.)
It also has a new tone meter. Using the browser extension, it analyzes the text and assigns an emoji to describe how the doc sounds. It works most of the time. And it’s nice when you don’t realize you are coming off like a know-it-all ass. Grammarly can give you a little mean face and set you straight.
With the free version, there are other limitations besides the size of the doc—100,000 characters with spaces. You can use the same account on only 5 devices. PDF is not supported. In a 30-day period, you can scan only 300 docs or 150,000 words. If you have a long book, it might be worth getting Premium. To use the app, you must have a live Internet connection.
The Premium version costs $30 per month for a monthly plan, $20 per month for the quarterly plan, and $140 for the year. It adds in Readability, Vocabulary enhancements, Genre Specific style checks, and a Plagiarism Detector. Personally, I don’t find value in many of these offerings. (Though when they say my finished doc has 230 more things we could check, it makes me nervous.) The Vocabulary Enhancements (on other grammar apps) seem to just whip out the thesaurus for any adjectives in the doc. And I use the Readability measure on my ProWriting Aid.
The website has a ton of great info about grammar and the like. There’s a blog, an FAQ (though they call it Common Questions), and a great tips and tricks section if you get stuck.
All in all, Grammarly is a good, reliable grammar check.