Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Application Review: Grammarly® - Instant Grammar Checker

When I applied to be an affiliate for Grammarly®, I did so because I had used the Grammarly Editor in the past and found it helpful in catching grammar mistakes and errors I often miss in my own work. Though I am able to pick out these issues in other people's writing, I remain a less than perfect self-editor.

Imagine my surprise when the Affiliate Marketing Manager for Grammarly contacted me and asked if I would be willing to test drive the new and improved version of this online spell and grammar checker application. I didn't hesitate in accepting. The only reason I had discontinued my subscription was because I hadn't been writing on a regular basis and couldn't justify the cost. Now that I was dedicated to finishing off one of my ongoing manuscripts, I knew Grammarly would be an important tool in helping me enhance my writing.

This is what the main screen of the Grammarly Editor looks like.

My Grammarly will showcase any documents you have uploaded and is also where you can click "New" to add new documents or copy and paste in text. Users have the option to assign their document a particular genre--general, academic, business, technical, medical, creative, casual--and then a variety of sub-genres to enhance the editing experience. Users are also given the ability to add or subtract what the editor will search for. See illustration below.

The first five options are on by default, but you can simply turn any of these off or on by clicking on them. The numbers you see above are the instances of each type of error found in the test document I uploaded for this review.

Above is what the screen looks like when it finds an error. Below, I have magnified the screen so it is easier to view. The first screen shot is of some of my text and the second is of how the application indicates a mistake. Notice, it shows a fountain pen tip, so that indicates a grammar error. Though on the screen, the error is noted to the right of the text (as in the above image), so that you could see the images properly, I have separated them and placed them one under the other for easy viewing.

You have three options for each error. If you click on the suggested correction "in green," it will change it in the body of your document. Clicking on the "x" allows you to ignore the suggestion--which is what I did here because this character does not speak proper English. If you click on the down arrow, it expands the card. This explains the suggested change and provides usage examples. Then you have the ability to ignore or implement the change. If you make a change and then decide against it, you can simply reverse it.

The bottom of the screen has a task bar that indicates the document genre, word count, number of corrected errors, and a score percentage based upon the number of errors that changes as edits are made or suggestions are ignored.

After editing is over, you can download your document with all the changes intact. One word of warning: if you copy and paste the text into the Grammarly Editor, the download will be a .txt file. If you upload a document, then when you download it after your changes, it will download as the same file extension and will retain original formatting: italics, bold, indents, etc.

I remain impressed with the Grammarly Editor, and I am thrilled to see the improvements they have made that allow users to save documents and download corrected changes easily. The new application is much more user friendly than the one I originally used. They also offer a Grammarly® Plug-in for Microsoft® Office Software that will add Grammarly Editor to your Microsoft® Word™ and Outlook®. There are also other free resources available to subscribers. Grammarly seemed more compatible to my Google Chrome browser than Internet Explorer 10.

New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial. After that, there is a subscription fee. Current prices below:

  • Monthly - $29.95
  • Quarterly - $59.95
  • Annual - $139.95

Grammarly has an excellent support staff. While online support and FAQs are part of the web-based spell and grammar checker application, I had to engage technical support a couple of times to be sure I properly understood the Grammarly Editor. Response time was phenomenal, and the person I dealt with was pleasant and knowledgeable.

While I don't believe Grammarly replaces professional editors, it can assist you in polishing your articles, novels, short stories, and letters quickly and easily. Writers from all walks of life will find Grammarly an effective tool.

This blogger participates in the Grammarly Affiliate Program. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

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