Does Grammarly’s free version do everything you want, and do the additional benefits of the premium version hold their value? We’ll take a look at the benefits both versions provide, demonstrate why both are valuable, and give you a clear picture of why you would want the premium over the standard version.
What is Grammarly?
Grammar editing software and plugins have made writing clear, quality work significantly more accessible. This free proofreading tool also offers premium options.
The upgraded, premium versions offer even more perks, like checking for sentence length, use of passive voice, optimization of word choice, and evaluating the tone of your piece.
They’ll even evaluate your writing on the various easy-reading scales to make sure that people can follow your writing, and don’t get mentally bogged down by sentence length (among other things).
But are these perks worth the investment?
How Grammarly works
When spellcheck came out in word processing programs a few decades ago, it was a huge boon.
The spelling schemes of English words, in particular, can be tricky and not consistent, so having the program check your spelling can turn disastrous writing into a quality piece.
They also check word usage to ensure sentence continuity and logic – for instance, if you use a singular noun but a plural verb, Grammarly will catch it.
Functioning as a plugin for most browsers, Grammarly evaluates your writing in real-time, so you can see when you’ve misspelled something or your sentence structure is complicated or nonsensical.
Additionally, the program keeps a tally of your errors on the bottom-right corner of the field, and you can go back through when you’re done to look at each error and how it fits (or doesn’t fit) into the text you’ve written.
It also provides an assessment of the tone of your article, with descriptions like “formal”, “optimistic”, or “uplifting”, just to name a few.
This is all available in the free version, which is a big deal because for anyone who struggles with spelling or syntax agreement in their writing,
Grammarly does an amazing job of elevating their work. Particularly for office workers who send out emails constantly or students who have papers to write, Grammarly is a solid investment, even at the free level.
How do I use Grammarly?
The best part of this entire app is how simple it is to use.
Even someone who bristles at the idea of computer jargon can easily find a version of Grammarly that works for them and install it on a handful of different platforms.
- Several different browser extensions, for Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox
- Mobile app for both Android and iOS
- Microsoft Word app
- A browser page where you can write and it evaluates your writing without having to download anything
- A desktop downloadable program
- WordPress plugin
Once installed, you’ll just need to restart your system – be it Word, your browser, or for the desktop app, your whole computer.
When you boot back up (or reopen your browser) the program will be running immediately, evaluating every piece of writing you put into any field on any program.
This includes emails, Facebook, even forms you’re filling out to renew your vehicle registration. Grammarly will ensure that everything is as clear as possible before you submit, which is a huge deal considering how simple it is to install.
Grammarly will change the way you write
At first, you will probably get annoyed at all the little red lines under your words.
Whether it’s a lack of a comma, a missing period, simple misspelling, or improper word agreement, Grammarly catches everything and this can feel somewhat bad – at first.
Over time, however, you’ll start to catch yourself as you create these small errors and correct them as you move through your copy. The most common errors Grammarly finds are:
- Spelling errors.
- Using too many adverbs – Grammarly will almost always suggest you opt for not using an adverb, especially “really” or “actually”.
- Confusion of your/you’re and their/there/they’re, along with other similarly common mix-ups.
- Misusing commas, colons, semicolons, and most other punctuation.
These facts are actually pulled from Grammarly’s database – they track writing statistics (not personal information).
Things like how much you write compared to other Grammarly users, how many errors it catches, and the most common errors. It’s fun to see your writing improve in a quantitative way and this feature provides you with that data.
What does Grammarly Premium do?
There are few programs that match the usefulness of Grammarly Premium.
Though the free version will solidly proofread most people’s writing to a level they’re content with, if you’re a professional writer in any capacity – blogger, author, professor, or college student – the premium version offers so much value.
In addition to the error scanning that the free version provides, the paid version of Grammarly also looks at:
- Consistency of voice – you want to avoid using passive voice when writing, and weeding it out on your own can be difficult. The software fixes this and gives you suggestions to change your sentence structure to be more active.
- Grammarly Premium helps make your writing more engaging by removing useless words like “really”, since they don’t add value to your piece. This version also helps you write punchier sentences by avoiding adverbs that hedge, like “potentially”. You want to write authoritative, confident pieces that engage and resonate with a reader. Grammarly helps you do exactly that.
- The tone of your article can convey a totally different meaning, depending on the point you wish to make. Grammarly Premium checks for tone in a much deeper manner than the free version and helps you steer it in the direction you want. If you’re writing a research proposal, for instance, you probably don’t want it to sound informal and it will catch that by evaluating your piece based on your chosen genre or niche.
- It can catch unintentional plagiarism by scanning the web for similar phrasing.
- Suggestions to enhance your word usage, and this goes both ways. If you’re using simplistic language, it will help punch up your copy, but if you’re being overly verbose, it will help you tone it down.
It does this by helping you in the short term, making your current writing more clear by checking it for you, but in the long term, you’ll start to catch these things on your own.
As you learn that you don’t need to use adverbs, or that you’re not using commas correctly, your writing will start to improve naturally.
Is Grammarly Premium worth the investment?
In my opinion, it is completely worth the investment, if you write for a living of any kind. As a full time blogger, I can’t imagine not having it.
For many people, the free version will provide so much value and that will be enough. Everyday writing doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to look professional, clean, and make sense.
For someone who relies on exceptional writing to live, however, Grammarly Premium has the potential to dramatically elevate your copy, essays, research papers, and so much more.
Grammarly – both the free and premium versions – will not take someone who is a terrible writer and turn them into Hemmingway.
Both will, however, make your writing clear and concise, helping to avoid tones that are inappropriate, spelling and grammar mistakes, and bloated, heavy writing that talks a lot without accomplishing its purpose.
No matter how or why you write, on whatever device or platform you use, Grammarly will be a huge benefit to you.