Grammarly vs Word

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post because summer is nearly at an end and I’d rather spend my time outside than proofreading…especially after putting Grammarly through all its paces.

I evaluated Grammarly using two pieces, a project description of my own, and a 300 word assignment of my middle-school daughter’s. The result: Grammarly out-performed Word’s grammar and spell-checker by far. That is not to say Grammarly is perfect. As the site indicates, it doesn’t replace a human proof-reader, but is a useful second pair of (robot) eyes before going to the more subtle and sophisticated human.

Pros. On my daughter’s piece, Grammarly found 5 errors missed by Word, including typos that were spelled right for a different word. For example, collage instead of college. That is a huge help for a student. Grammarly even caught 2 errors I made, one where I missed a comma and one where I had a superfluous one. I really liked the explanations and examples offered along with corrections, and the choice between a short and long explanation. I see this as providing another level of service, ie educational, which would be very useful to students. It also gives a score, which can be motivational, but isn’t prominent, so it can be ignored by people who don’t like that kind of thing.

Cons. On my daughter’s piece it missed an apostrophe that I would expect the software to catch–and I hope that future versions will include it. On my piece, it highlighted as an error the correct use of an infinitive: “the decision to leave.” That is another area I hope can be improved.

Overall, I was impressed–it performed much better than I expected. I can see it being especially useful to students and anyone with learning disabilities.

Grammarly offers different types of review, for example academic vs technical or business. I found the main difference was that academic and general reviews screened for contractions and passive voice while other reviews didn’t. So on this post I used the technical review.

Cost: it isn’t free. But at an annual rate of $100 or so, it could be well worth it in the right circumstances–and there is a desk-top version of Grammarly as well.

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