Grammarly Review 2020 - Read it before you get it!

Grammarly is an online grammar checker which helps your articles and essays by proofreading and pointing out grammatical errors and typos. As an author, I started using Grammarly a couple of years ago to proofread my work on book chapters, blogs, basically any nformation that needed publishing. I can proudly say that the tool works like a charm.

Below is what I will cover in this 2020 Grammarly review:

  • What Grammarly does and how it works
  • The plagiarism detector
  • Ease in use, accuracy and how it can help writers
  • Grammarly versus a Human Proofreader
  • How effective is Grammarly
  • How much does Grammarly cost
  • Grammarly Free Vs Grammarly Premium Vs Business
  • Other proofreading tools
  • Common questions about Grammarly

It is very important to note that in this review my focus was majorly on the Premium version of Grammarly.

What Grammarly Does

  1. Grammar and Punctuation

Grammarly automatically picks up grammar and Punctuation mistakes, from the basic to the highly advanced. In addition to that, the tool provides real-time suggestions and guidelines on how to improve, if not correct, these mistakes.

  1. Spell Check

Grammarly is very thorough on its spell check feature and also gives suggestions on the same.

  1. Plagiarism

Plagiarism is where somebody copies ones writings or words exactly the way they are published and uses them as their own. This is by far one of the biggest problems combating writers. Grammarly compares your writing to Billions and billions of web pages across the internet therefore detecting any forms of plagiarism.

  1. Improves on your writing style

Grammarly provides real-time insights on your sentence length, readability score among other writing styles which proves to be very useful for self-criticism and self-edit. This helps you in adopting the writing style for a specific genre and for a particular audience.

How Grammarly works?

Grammarly is a useful tool for both native English speakers and for those who don't speak or write the language as their first tongue. It is used by people in different professions such as bloggers, students, copywriters and content marketers, academics, authors, business professionals drafting different types of writing reports among other professions. They use it to make sure their articles are accurate, grammarly correct and easy to read.

The language settings are offered in Canadian English, Australian English, American English, British English, among others and can easily be changed according to preference.

grammarly premium dashboard

grammarly premium dashboard

Thankfully, a Grammarly account is absolutely free! Once your account is set up, take your time to go through the editing tool by going through the site. I assure you that your navigation would be seamless owing to the fact that Grammarly editor was recently updated.

The Grammarly dashboard provides a great number of tools that enable you to check your grammar. Alongside the tools are helpful suggestions that improve your writing skills. As an author or writer, your articles need to have clarity and precision in order for the audience to get easily captivated. They do not need to be lost in thought wondering, "Hmm, something doesn't sound quite right about this sentence right here..." This is where Grammarly comes in to save the day. Swooping you off your feet with suggestions such as how to become a better writer or give you some great writing prompts or even better, how to get rid of that good old writer's block.

Adapting grammarly to your style

Everyone has a genre-specific style that can be classified as formal, informal and so on. Thanks to Grammarly's awesome features it is possible to adjust the tool's feedback to match your specific writing style and help you become a better writer in the process.

Grammarly set goals

Grammarly set goals

Grammarly makes you set goals whenever you open a document. This is in order to know exactly what you expect of it. The more it knows about the context of your writing, the easier for it to provide not only helpful but also more customized suggestions.

These goals are set based on various writing aspects:

  1. Intent which is further classified to Inform, Tell A Story, Describe or Convince.
  2. Domain; Academic, Technical or Business
  3. Audience who can either be General, Expert or Knowledgeable.
  4. As mentioned earlier, either informal or formal writing styles
  5. Emotion which can be either strong or mild.

Grammarly then uses these goals as a basis for delivering powerful and helpful insights.

Does grammarly have an ease of usage?

Using Grammarly Premium is as easy as posting that photo of your morning latte on Facebook. And if you can use Instagram then you could probably use Grammarly blindfolded ha ha the irony! Grammarly has several apps for different devices. These include mobile phones, Windows, Mac, iOS and web Grammarly extensions. Installing Grammarly only takes a few minutes of your precious time letting you spend most of your time actually making your writing better.

Here's how I use it myself:

  1. Write a draft (for this I use either IA Writer or Scrivener)
  2. Copy then paste my draft into Grammarly Premium (I use Mac)
  3. Edit my piece by myself based on feedback I got from Grammarly
  1. Make sure my draft is gone through by an editor if it's one of those really long pieces of text.
  2. Send it for publication

Grammarly enables me to avoid any headaches because I only use a couple of minutes to check my articles.

Using grammarly tool

I think it is safe to say that we've established Grammarly is a pretty easy to use tool. You don't need to be an IT Guru neither does it need any technical know-how to hack it. There are many way of using this tool and below are the most common ones:

Option 1

This is by far the easiest. It basically involves copying and pasting your draft, entire article or extracts of your writing into Grammarly. Grammarly will then proofread your work by checking for grammatical errors and to check your spelling. Easy as ABC!

Option 2

Aside from the copy paste option, Grammarly also lets you upload your document as Microsoft Word. Simply click on 'Import', select your file and upload it onto Grammarly and proceed to proofread your work.

Option 3

Grammarly also lets you directly write on the tool and corrects your work as you write it. For this to be a seamless experience you simply need to click on the "Correct With Assistant" tab/button and Grammarly will automatically start pointing out your errors. So this option is using Grammarly as your primary writing app.

Grammarly correct with assistant

Grammarly correct with assistant

Option 4

Good news for Windows users as they have the option of installing a Grammarly plugin onto MS Word. This will greatly aid in detecting errors as your write on your Microsoft Word document. There isn't a plugin available for Microsoft Word in MacBooks only in Windows.

Grammarly suggestions

Similar to what you normally see in MS word when typing, Grammarly's proofreading tool underlines your grammatical errors soon as you start typing. If you're using Grammarly Premium, then the suggestions as to why you made your writing mistake may be a bit more detailed than the suggestions on the free version (or Microsoft Word). This feature is particularly useful for non-native English speakers or for those who are just learning the English language and its rules of grammar. If you are in need of more tips then you need not be frustrated as there is a Grammarly handbook that is abundantly fillled with Grammar tips.

You should however still exercise your personal judgement before deciding on what exactly you want to omit and what you think is correct and should be left in a text.

The several features that help in determining and providing insights on your work include:

  • Basic grammar checker that works for both active and passive voice. It also works on your Punctuation and wordiness
  • Sentence structure analysis
  • Spell-checker with assured accuracy
  • Estimations on your reading time
  • A vocabulary tool that comes with a readability measurement and score.

Grammarly even has a new feature that analyzes the Flesch ease of reading of your text. It does this by estimating the exact level of education one has to have reached in order for them to easily understand your content.

Is grammarly accurate and does it really help writers?

As I had mentioned earlier, Grammarly detects a grammatical error and underlines it. When you click on the arrow next to the underlined text, the tool not only provides you with possible suggestions that would make your text grammatically correct, but also provides an explanation to your problem.

Below are a couple of mistakes that Grammarly helped me identify:

  1. Wrong prepositions
  2. Very lengthy sentences that need to be edited down
  3. Overuse of the passive voice
  4. Spelling mistakes
  5. Repetition of words
  6. Too wordy sentences
  7. Other common writing mistakes eg misplaced apostrophes

Thanks to regular use of Grammarly tool, I found out that I had a bad habit of ending most of my sentences with prepositions. Knowing and recognizing my bad writing habits helped me make my writing better, this would not have been possible if it were not for Grammarly and its very helpful suggestions.

I however noticed that the built-in grammar checkers in Pages, Scrivener and Microsoft Word could not provide me with such insight and therefore I would have not been able to make my writing better.

The plagiarism detector in Grammarly

When you subscribe to a Grammarly account, a plagiarism checker is included. This can be especially useful for all your academic content. It can also be useful when reviewing a colleague or peer's work.

This feature also proves to be useful for bloggers and content marketers. These professions require a lot of research which can be gotten from online material. As you're conducting your research and putting it down, you might forget to edit your content in order to make your text original. This is where Grammarly comes in. It checks to see if your work has inadvertently copied text.

This feature has also proved to be very useful to college students, those who fear that they may be heavily citing from their sources.

Grammarly's effectiveness in proofreading english

When I decided to write this review, I asked my readers what they would like to know and there was one very popular question that, if I'm not wrong, was asked more than 10 times. How effective is Grammarly in proofreading English?

I am from Kenya, Africa, and English is my native language. On paper, Kenyans write British English. However when speaking, most Kenyans speak American English. As you may already know, words in these two decents of English may vary at times. At times the difference is in a single letter eg "center" and "centre". This can cause a lot of confusion when writing pieces or texts that require a specific type of English.

Grammarly helped me a lot with this problem. It helped me figure out which is which and with time I could tell the difference in words between British English and American English. Grammarly improves your writing skills and grammar easily if you're a native English speaker.

It also aids non-native English speakers, not by teaching them the language, but rather acts as an aid for learning English.

So to answer your question, yes, Grammarly is very effective in proofreading English.

Grammarly vs a human proofreader

After using Grammarly for a while, I can confidently say that no, Grammarly cannot replace a human Proofreader.

It works perfectly on short texts, but it tends to overlook some mistakes on longer texts.

Aside from overlooking some mistakes, Grammarly does not always provide accurate feedback in comparison to a human Proofreader. It is always necessary for someone to go through your work before it goes for publishing.

Alternatively, you could always use the Grammarly dashboard to send your piece to a human Proofreader who will charge you 0.02USD per word. I did not have the luxury to test out this feature because I directly work with an editor who proofreads all my pieces.

As much as Grammarly is useful, it is still advisable to use a human Proofreader.

Where you can to use Grammarly - Apps

Grammarly Apps

Grammarly Apps

Grammarly functions wherever you are, it has desktop and mobile apps, together with Grammarly extension for your web browser.

The Grammarly proofreading apps include:

  • Grammarly Microsoft Office add-in
  • Grammarly for Android
  • Grammarly Chrome Web app (this app works similarly to Google Docs)
  • Grammarly for iOS
  • Grammarly Chrome Plugin (this has proved to be the easiest option for new users)
  • Grammarly desktop app for Windows
  • Grammarly desktop app for Mac

The Grammarly desktop apps for iOS, Mac and Windows were updated in early 2018.

The update saw the apps get an improved user experience. In addition to that, the update added a great number of features such as ability to set your writing goals and gives you better writing insights.

Personally for my work, I use a number of writing apps led by Scrivener. For this reason I do not use the Microsoft plugin that often. I actually prefer doing and finalising my work somewhere else before copying and pasting it into Grammarly for one final check. However, if you're a Microsoft Word user, Grammarly has a word plugin that can prove to be very useful.

My favorite Grammarly apps are Grammarly for Mac desktop together with Grammarly for Chrome Web app. To check relatively shorter pieces of writing I like using the Grammarly Chrome extension. These pieces may include emails, poems and social media posts such as captions.

I know you wonder how I use it on social media. Let me explain, there is a specialized Grammarly Keyboard for mobile devices which can be gotten from the company. The keyboard helps me apply the Grammarly tool to my writing on Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter among several other web pages and social media platforms you type on.

This also enables Grammarly to automatically check on the apps on your phone. This makes texting or typing and documents a seamless operation that is mistake free.

Good news, the Grammarly keyboard tool is absolutely free! You got no excuses now.

Grammarly pricing - How much does grammarly cost?

Below are the Grammarly pricing options:

  • Grammarly Premium

$29.95 per month for monthly subscription

  • Grammarly Premium

$19.98 per month for quarterly subscriptions which are billed as a single payment of $59.95

  • Grammarly Premium

$11.66 per month for annual subscription which is billed as a single payment of $139.95

Grammarly Prices and Plans

Grammarly Prices and Plans

However, there's always the free version of Grammarly if you're just trying out the tool. Affordable right?

Grammarly Coupon 20% OFF

You can use our grammarly coupon code to get up to 20% OFF sitewide 🙂

Grammarly Plan Comparision - Free vs premium vs business

The Free Grammarly version contains almost all the features found in Grammarly Premium. The only features on premium that aren't on the free version are an advanced grammar checker, some vocab enhancement suggestions and a plagiarism detector (which is one of the most important features).

The Grammarly free version is very ideal for writers and bloggers, especially those with a minimal or low budget for tools.

Grammarly Premium on the other hand has features that are more advanced than those on Grammarly free version. For example, with regards to your grammar mistakes, premium provides in-depth and detailed information about them. These suggestions can be found in the pop-up box. The rate at which it discovers these mistakes is also higher than that of the free version. Also available are additional writing insights and it enables you to set your goals.

Grammarly recently introduced a Business version of their software. The Grammarly Business version contains a couple of additional features not found on Grammarly Premium. These include:

  • Prioritized 24/7 email support
  • Controls for security and privacy of your work managed by both the use and admin
  • Centralized billing
  • Monitoring tools that help in checking the engagement trends

Grammarly Business version only costs $15 per month for every member and I would highly recommend it for your team.

Should you get grammarly premium

Personally, my answer to this is yes, you should get Grammarly Premium.

When I first used Grammarly, I used the free version on Chrome Browser extension and it served me well (don't worry, the software also comes as a browser extension for several other browsers such as Edge, Firefox, Safari etc). Back then I did not have money or funding to pay for subscription to an online proofreading tool.

Eventually, I started paying for a Grammarly Premium three-month subscription. This is because I started writing freelance articles and chapters for a certain book. By this time I had a modest budget to spend on online proofreading tools.

I still use the premium version till date, to check on my early drafts of articles and blog posts. Also to check for grammar mistakes on my book chapters.

As I mentioned earlier, I use the software to check my social media posts, emails and so on and for this I use the Grammarly Chrome Plugin.

As muah as the online editor will help to check on your punctuation, grammar and spelling mistakes, it just helps with the speed of finding them. You should however still learn the fundamentals of grammar so as to have the ability to proofread your work by yourself.

Also, as much as I put a lot of trust in proofreading tools, I always make sure my work is gone through by a set of human eyes, you should too.

Is grammarly worth it?

In 2019, Grammarly added yet another update to its tool. These added features would help proofread your work easily and efficiently. These features include:

  • Rich text formatting and editing (very useful for copying and pasting texts)
  • More helpful insights on your performance score
  • Detection of tone of voice (best for academics, non-fiction writers and bloggers)
  • Advanced writing goals
  • Clarity and correctness detection

Common questions about grammarly

There are so many questions on Grammarly, most of which I have tackled within the review. Below are a couple that I thought were necessary to point out.

Is Grammarly Worth It?

It is definitely worth it. Especially if you're a professional writer, blogger or author or any related profession. It will help you to not only find but also fix your errors fast.

Is Grammarly Safe?

The Grammarly software unfortunately can't guarantee you with 100% security. This is because according to their privacy policy, your writing is transmitted to the Grammarly servers via the Internet.
I've used Grammarly for several years and not even once have I ever had any security issues with my work.

What Is The Grammarly Cancellation Refund Policy?

If you're not satisfied with the software then you can get your money back within a ten-day period. It's actually pretty easy, if you try the software and don't like it, visit Grammarly.com, contact their customer support  and your money will be back within no time if everything is in order.

The bottom line

Grammarly is indeed without a doubt not only a useful but also an affordable writing tool that definitely belongs in your tool box. It's very easy to use and will conveniently and thoroughly help you find errors in your writing. It will also help you fix them while teaching you in the process.

Mike J

Mike J. - native English writer and copywriter for last 10 years.

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