I love writing and I love editing. That is, I love those things separately. Maybe it’s just because I’m too wrapped up in my writing to find grammatical errors on the first, second, and even the nth time I go to edit, but for whatever reason, I still find endless spelling and grammatical errors. Worst of all, the errors I miss in my own writings are the ones I’d never miss when editing someone else’s work.
Three years ago was about the time that I was writing pretty much 24/7. During that time I wrote for my university’s student newspaper, my university’s literary magazine, sent endless emails at work and for my internship, started blogging for my university, and, of course, wrote short stories as my side-job. With all of this writing, the subpar editing I was able to do on my own work wouldn’t cut it.
That’s where Grammarly came in.
In 2016 I saw an ad for Grammarly and figured I’d check it out. What’s the harm in trying a free editing software? As it turns out, Grammarly was one of the best things to happen to my writing and editing.
I feel like this should go without saying, but a web-based editing software can’t replace the personal touch of a professional editor. Like with everything in life, there are pros and cons. To help you decide if Grammarly is best for you, here’s a quick guide as to the good and bad of Grammarly.
- It’s like Spell Check on steroids. I like to describe Grammarly to those who don’t know what it is as a bulked-up version of Spell Check. It checks spelling and grammar issues, but can also check for advanced issues like missing articles and repetitive words.
- Free! Because who doesn’t love free stuff?
- Grammarly can be added as a Chrome or Microsoft Word extension to use it whenever running, downloaded as a free app to use on your phone, or added as a beta version to Google Docs with a recent update. Whatever device you’re using, Grammarly has you covered.
- When using Grammarly, either on their website or with one of their extensions, you can double-click on a word to pull up the dictionary definition and thesaurus. You can wiz through your first draft and then beef it up by using these added features.
- When using Grammarly’s website you can add goals to your documents. You can choose how emotional you want it, the reader’s knowledge level, the purpose of the document, and more. After adding your goals, Grammarly will give you a score out of 100 on how well you met your goals. In the report, it’ll also tell you what reading level your document is, average sentence length, and lots more!
- Grammarly does not replace the need for an editor. While it’s a great spelling and grammar tool, it will not give feedback on your work and will not do line-by-line or contextual edits.
- I’ve found that the edits the software recommends are sometimes either unnecessary or incorrect. For example, it’ll want to add unnecessary conjunctions and commas. I’ve also found times where Grammarly recommends a word completely unrelated to what I typed so be careful when accepting Grammarly’s edits.
- Grammarly, unlike other editing software, does not track advanced word count. It will tell you the total word count of the document, but it won’t break it down for each session, which isn’t that big of a deal unless you’re writing to meet a word goal.
- Piggybacking off of the first con, Grammarly will not notice certain spelling errors (ran vs. run, she vs. he, etc.). If you’re like me and type super fast, this could be an issue later down the road.
- Like with all free software, all the good stuff you have to pay for. With the subscription, you’ll get a plagiarism check, advanced grammar checks, and even more goal options.
I believe that the pros of Grammarly outweigh the cons. I’m no way affiliated with this company, just a fan sharing my personal experiences with them over the years.
Have you tried Grammarly or other editing software? Let me know your thoughts and what you like and dislike.