Will Grammarly Replace An Editor And Proofreader?

Can Grammarly replace an editor_

Yes, it’s considered by many as the most popular writing tool. But can Grammarly replace an editor?

How we write and check our writing is changing so fast because of all the online apps and tools we use.

We might not think about artificial intelligence (AI), but it’s the brain behind many of the writing tools we use today.

But can AI compete with a human editor or proofreader? The best answer is yes, but with reservations.

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Technology vs. human

Advances in technology always disrupt.

I’m sure hard-working scribes were pretty annoyed at the invention of the printing press.

How many bank employees lost their jobs over the years due to cash machines and then online banking?

Self-scanning and checkout in supermarkets cost cashiers their jobs.

Technology continually changes our lives and how we work. There is hardly a profession that hasn’t had to change and adapt to information technology.

When it comes to writing, grammar, and spell checking, are human editors and proofreaders in danger of becoming redundant?

Grammarly and Prowritingaid are the two most popular online English language writing checkers at present.

So many writers use them every day to correct and improve their writing and make it easy to read.

But can the technology in these tools honestly replace a qualified professional human editor?

Do these tools perform all the tasks of an experienced proofreader?

In a lot of respects, yes, they can and do, but not entirely.

 

How you use Grammarly

Like all tools, you need to set it up and use it correctly. Grammarly is not a wonder tool that will perform magic on its own.

You need to set your English language choice, your style, and your type of writing. You might decide to integrate it with Microsoft Word or use the desktop editor.

The right answer to the question, can Grammarly replace an editor, is no, not by itself. It’s not an automatic robot.

The only way Grammarly can work is when you use it and work with it together.

In other words, tools like Grammarly and Prowritingaid help you to become the replacement for an editor and proofreader.

The tools can certainly help you, but you are the decision-maker.

Although AI is smart, it’s not perfect, and far from it. But I must say that in my experience that with a premium account, it gets things right 80-85% of the time.

That’s not too bad and can save you a lot of time when checking your writing.

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But you can’t publish any text that is only 85% correct, even for a quick post on social media.

That’s where you, your eyes, and your brain have to work to correct a text and make it as perfect as possible.

You need to change hats from being a writer and turn into an eagle-eyed editor.

Writing is about being creative. But editing is about accuracy and attention to tiny details.

 

With help, you replace an editor

Electronic tools alone, like Grammarly, can’t replace an editor or proofreader.

But when you use them to help you, you can then partially replace them.

Used wisely, you can find mistakes and typos quickly and easily and make the necessary corrections.

Always remember, though, that you are in charge and not your tools. You need to think about every suggestion your tools make and then decide how you will act.

Will you accept a change, modify it or ignore it?

Here’s an example of a simple punctuation error.

punctuation error

A misplaced comma is the type of error that is often not easy to spot.

With Grammarly, though, it brings it to your attention, and you can fix it with one click. There is also an explanation to help you understand the mistake.

However, you often need to make a decision about some suggestions.

passive suggestion

In this example of a passive voice phrase, you need to decide if it is appropriate to change to the active voice.

In some cases, the answer will be yes, but other times, no.

There are some suggestions you will need to ignore. Here is a suggestion to rephrase a famous quotation.

quotation rephrase

In this case, you wouldn’t want to hit the rephrase button. You don’t change a single word of a quotation.

But here’s an example of making a decision as an editor.

near to nearly

There’s clearly a word choice problem here. You could use ‘nearly’ as recommended, or you could also use ‘next to’ as a replacement.

This is a great example of why you are in charge and not the writing tool. You replace the editor with the help of Grammarly.

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For every grammar, punctuation, or spelling point or error that Grammarly highlights, you can’t simply click and approve a change.

Always think about each point and then decide what the best option is for you to take.

 

You and your writing tools are cheap

You’re not going to replace a development editor with Grammarly or any other tool.

But you can tackle copyediting, which is correcting grammar, fixing mistakes, and polishing a text or manuscript.

The cost of hiring a professional editor is expensive. You can check the rates quoted on the Editorial Freelancers Association for a guide.

In general, you will be looking at somewhere between $30 to $60 per hour.

Grammarly’s annual premium subscription rates cost very little per month, depending on which subscription option you choose.

If you choose only one month, it is $29.00. An annual subscription works out to about $11.00 per month.

Prowritingaid is even a little less by comparison at $20.00 for one month and under $7.00 per month on an annual subscription.

It’s your money. But for most self-publishing authors and writers, it’s a pretty simple choice to make.

Sure, you’re not going to get the help and advice a human editor or proofreader can give you.

But at the same time, can you afford one, two, or three thousand dollars or even a lot more?

For most authors and writers, premium writing tools are a practical and economical solution.

However, you have to invest heavily in your time, energy, and concentration and become your own editor and proofreader.

There is one other benefit. You may still want to use a professional editor.

It will cost you a lot less if you do most of the work before sending off your manuscript.

 

Do professional editors use Grammarly?

Very few are going to admit it, but I would guess that quite a few editors use it to save time and cut costs.

This review by Global English Editing says this:

I’m a professional editor and I’ve been using Grammarly for two years. I find it incredibly easy to use and the most powerful online grammar checker out there.

As a professional editor by trade, I know what a human editor can bring to the table.

However, I still use Grammarly on a regular basis to proofread whatever I post on this blog. I have a pretty good grasp on grammar and English rules already, but it’s surprising how typos and small errors can creep into anyone’s writing.

You won’t find too many editors saying out loud that they use a writing checker. But let’s be honest.

It’s the quickest and easiest way to find the most obvious mistakes.

That makes it a cost and time-saving option an editor could choose to use before getting down to a word-by-word edit.

 

Choose the best writing tool to help you

Yes, Grammarly premium is probably the most popular writing checker right now for most writers. You can read my review for a lot more details about its features.

And always remember that there is a free version available that checks for critical mistakes.

For authors, Prowritingaid is often a good choice. It has some features that are more suited to analyzing long documents, such as a manuscript. You can also read my review for more information.

But you are not restricted to these two premium subscription tools.

If you are a college student, a new writer, or writing daily blog posts, the expense may not be worthwhile or cost-effective.

In this case, you have a lot of options to help you correct spelling and grammar and write more accurately.

The Hemingway app is a popular free application to check sentence structure, but it is not a fully-fledged grammar checker.

There are other choices, including Ginger Grammar, Whitesmoke, or Antidote.

You can check the many options available in our article listing the most popular grammar checkers.

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Summary

This article is not a review of online writing correctors and grammar checkers.

There is more than enough information and reviews online for you to make the decision about which one suits you best.

But if you are a writer, you always need help to do grammar checks and improve and perfect your texts.

Sure, in a perfect world, you would choose to have your own professional editor and proofreader.

If you’re lucky, you might have friends or family that are qualified to help you.

But for most writers, an online writing and correct tool is essential today.

When you use them correctly, they can certainly help you.

But never trust them 100%. Trust your judgment and use writing tools wisely to help you write better.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

4 thoughts on “Will Grammarly Replace An Editor And Proofreader?

  • February 24, 2021 at 7:52 pm
    Permalink

    I find Grammarly quite helpful for basic error-catching, but its suggestions of when to use commas… ::sigh:: No, I do NOT want an extra fifty commas scattered through every thousand or so words I write.

    On the other hand, perhaps Grammarly is write (heehee) and I am wong (tho in the Irish, rather than Asian, sense). The feeling and flow of my writing feels good to me, and I ignore at least 90% of Grammarly’s style suggestions… but how do I *really* know that I’m right? Maybe the average reader out there finds my prose more difficult to navigate because of my tendency toward long, multi-clause sentences and parsimonious use of commas? How do you know, really, that YOU are better than The Almighty Grammarly? Answer: I dunno… but I’ll usually stick with me!

    – MJM
    P,S, Grammarly DID do a nice job above in spotting “Almtghty” and “tendencytoward” and “I and” (where the correct phrase was “I am.”) My brain tends to auto-correct my own writing without notifying the editor in my brain. It KNOWS what I INTENDED to write, so it just feeds the correct version into the thought stream somewhere between eyeballs and editor-brain and I miss seeing my own errors all too often. I think that’s true for a lot of us and is where tools like Grammarly shine their brightest!

    P.P.S. One of my favorite typos out there that made it past all sorts of peer review, editorial, and pre-publication barriers is an antismoking study in a major medical journal. In the very first sentence of its headlined ABSTRACT it notes the importance of having more smoking bans “in all pubic and work areas” :>

    Reply
    • February 24, 2021 at 8:30 pm
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      It’s a tool, Michael. So use it as you wish. But concerning commas, I’ve noticed that Grammarly reacts differently depending on which English you choose. In US English, it highlights more commas than in UK English. In general, I find the RED errors are usually accurate and need changing. But for all the other suggestions, I think you need to use your brain and make your own decisions. In the end, it’s a guide, not a dictator.

      Reply
  • February 24, 2021 at 5:58 pm
    Permalink

    It definitely helps you become a better writer by identifying your common errors. I have been using it for 10 months and I make less comma errors now.

    Reply
  • February 24, 2021 at 4:51 pm
    Permalink

    Perfect post for me! I had just thought of getting Grammarly. Mainly to help with passive voice.

    Reply

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