For a writer, typos and errors are a reputation killer. That’s why I rely on writing help from Grammarly
You might find it surprising that I am admitting to using an online grammar checker to help me correct my writing.
However, if you are like me and write a lot of short texts on the Internet, you’ll know that it’s hard to avoid making errors when you are writing in a hurry.
Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter or my blog, I try to ensure that even my shortest social media posts or replies to comments are mistake free of spelling and grammar errors.
It is so easy to write a quick comment or reply and make a silly mistake.
Murphy’s Law comes into effect immediately, and the Grammar Police attack even the smallest error.
The same can be said for long-form writing, but at least there is more time available to find and correct grammar errors.
The grammar and spell check in Microsoft Office is terrible, so I started trying a few online spelling and grammar checkers ages ago, but none of them worked to my satisfaction.
They all helped in some ways, but I often found myself correcting the suggested corrections because the recommended sentence structures didn’t feel natural, as they were based on strict grammar rules. I often had to re-write to avoid sentence fragments or run-on sentences.
Perhaps I had a hang-up with free apps, or maybe I was being too critical.
It wasn’t until my wife needed help with her professional writing that she stumbled upon an application that she said might also work for me.
When she told me that she had signed up for a three-month subscription for Grammarly Premium, an online grammar checker that I could use as well, I had a change of heart once I started trying the range of tools available.
So, due to my wife’s purchase, I started using Grammarly on a daily basis well over three years ago.
My Grammarly Review – What I discovered
Even though I had used the free version previously, I hadn’t fully realised how many advanced grammar tools the premium version offered.
With access to her subscription, I found out that the Grammarly App worked with everything, and almost everywhere I typed in either Safari, Chrome or Firefox browsers.
It really helps you write more accurately when you are in a hurry by highlighting spelling and grammatical mistakes in an instant. I have a habitual typo when typing ‘the’, which so often comes out as ‘teh’. It’s annoying. However, Grammarly fixes it for me every time.
It meant that my Facebook and Twitter posts and replies were automatically scanned for errors. Not only that, but it also worked seamlessly with my WordPress editor when I wrote my blog articles.
I investigated further and ended up downloading the desktop app, which immediately became indispensable for checking my long-form writing.
I ran a few chapters of one of my already published books and was quite horrified to discover a few errors that had escaped a lot of human eyes. Not many, but enough to realise that a little extra help can go a long way.
After my wife’s three-month subscription had expired, I was convinced and bought a twelve-month subscription.
I feel that although I know that I know how to write, my stumbles or laziness, especially online, are less likely to result in silly, embarrassing errors.
For short form online writing
Grammarly works in most browsers, but I use it predominantly with Safari and Chrome for my WordPress sites.
Where it also comes in very useful for me is when I post comments on newspapers or blogs. These are posts that I always want to ensure are error-free, as making even a small spelling, verb agreement or grammatical error would not reflect well on me as a writer.
With Grammarly activated, any small error is picked up by the spell checker, and I can correct it with one click.
It has saved my bacon many times, particularly for little typos and misspelt, or misspelled words such as “teh”. Also, the spelling check can find contextual spelling errors such as “its and it’s” and “then & than”. It also highlights overuse of the passive.
For my WordPress blogs, I often turn Grammarly off while writing blog posts, as I do not want to be distracted.
But when I have finished writing, I turn it back on to conduct a full check.
Once satisfied, I turn it off again, because I have noticed that it has one small glitch with WordPress. For some reason, with Grammarly activated, it can sometimes override links within my posts that are set to open in a new tab. A small bug that I hope will be fixed in the future. (Update: This bug seems to have been fixed.)
Apart from this one little annoyance, it works perfectly for all of my online writing and helps me keep my short-form English writing as error-free as possible.
For long-form writing
I don’t like distractions when I am writing a novel in word processors like Microsoft Word, so I always turn off auto spelling and grammar check, because all those red and green underlines are annoying.
However, I then run a check once I have finished a chapter. Now though, I run my writing through Grammarly.
The choice of settings in Grammarly is far more extensive than in Microsoft Word. It allows you to set a range of different types of documents, depending on the writing style. This is one of its biggest advantages for me.
When I first started using Grammarly, I made the mistake of doing a copy and paste into the app but discovered that all my formatting was lost.
Grammarly can integrate with Word, but only for PC users. I use Apple, so, unfortunately, this facility is not available for me, but hopefully will be in the near future.
To get around this small issue, I learned that I could quickly upload my completed chapters in Word to Grammarly, and once I had finished the check, I could export it back in Word format without losing any of my text, font and paragraph formatting.
While Grammarly picks up almost all grammar and spelling errors, what I like the most about it for long-form writing is that it finds repeated words. In long passages of text, this is something that is often difficult to notice and is a huge time saver for me.
Another correction tool I find very useful is one that highlights inappropriate collocations. Grammarly calls it fluency.
Having information such as in the image above at my fingertips when doing a preliminary edit is a huge advantage. The more errors I can find and improvements I can make during my first draft saves me hours of work later on.
I can now catch most of my writing errors, typos and mistakes at a much earlier stage, which leaves me more time to concentrate on the story. It also reminds me to go easy on the passive voice.
My Grammarly App has become an essential tool for all my forms of writing. Because I write a lot, I get full value from my subscription because of the amount of time it saves me between a first draft and the final version.
Nothing will ever replace a human proofreader when it comes to proofreading texts. But by using some intelligent online help, Grammarly does a very good job in locating errors more easily and in making logical improvements to a text.
The free version of the Grammarly English language grammar checker offers quite a bit of assistance. There are browser extensions available, as well as mobile apps for the Grammarly keyboard.
It is a very good way to try out some of the features of Grammarly and check your writing. It can be set to use either US, Canadian, Australian or British English.
However, the paid version with its host of extra features including vocabulary enhancement, a personal dictionary and choice of writing styles makes it an essential everyday writing tool for me.
Another feature that I use quite often is the plagiarism checker. Before I publish any guest content on my blog, this tool lets me quickly check that all the text is original.
I highly recommended Grammarly for writers, and especially for those who are perhaps relatively new to writing and self-publishing.
Update: Grammarly has updated to an entirely new interface. It is much easier to work with and gives a lot more useful information, tips as well as suggested corrections. Here a couple of quick screenshots of the new look Grammarly.
Further reading: Grammarly Chrome Extension Review
Disclaimer: I am a paid subscriber and user of Grammarly and have expressed my own opinions about the product in this article. This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.