Reviewing Grammarly, a proofreading program
I recently received an email asking me to proofread Grammarly. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a proofreading program. It was described to me as thus in the correspondence: “Think of us as that second pair of eyes that can spare you the frustrating cost of hiring a proofreader.” I don’t know about that, but after giving it a try it does a good job of informing you of errors you might have made.
I first uploaded a short story I am submitting to a literary anthology, not realizing at first that Grammarly offers six different grammar checks. Initially, the program reviewed it under a General check, bringing up a myriad of issues that mostly didn’t apply to my piece because it’s creative fiction. I was impressed, however, with the explanations the program gives you when pointing out mistakes made. If you ever need a refresher on the rules of grammar, Grammarly literally puts those lessons into application. I could see high schoolers finding this useful for term papers.
On a second glance, I realized that Grammarly offers six different sorts of reviews, including General, Business, Academic, Technical, Creative and Casual. So I gave it another go and tried the Creative review. The program found error with a lot of my dialogue, but that was to be expected given the difference between the way people speak and an actual proper sentence. I did like how it pointed out words that were often overused and how it suggested replacement words. This program would also be helpful for people who have a hard time with commas. Not all writers know how to use them! There was definitely a difference between the General and Creative settings, and I was flagged for fewer errors under the Creative review.
It’s an interesting program and could be worth the money for some. In an era where self-publishing is constantly growing, Grammarly could be a proofreading boon. But putting an entire novel into the program and getting flagged for every rule that’s broken would probably drive me crazy after the first 20 pages. The program has a component that checks for plagiarism, and I could see this benefiting news organizations given the rash of journalists caught committing that particular sin over the last several years.
I did a little Google search and found opposing comments on an article related to Grammarly at SelfPublishingAdvice.org. The author of the article didn’t have favorable reviews, citing the $29 monthly fee among other criticisms. But one person commented on the article noting that she had used it for several months to get rid of obvious errors prior to sending work on to her editor. Meanwhile another commenter said she had used it for six months to proof blogs and chapters of her novel and found it to be only semi-useful and redundant.
I think the bottom line is it could be a valuable program for students, journalistic organizations and even the public relations industry. Although it could be beneficial to indie authors who don’t have the money to spend on proper editing, it’s not ever going to replace a human set of eyes who knows when it’s okay to break this rule, or listen to that one.
But if your interest is piqued, you can always download the Grammarly Lite app for free and try it yourself. I don’t know the difference between the two, but the site boasts that it works with Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, Blogger, Word Press, Tumblr, Linkedin, Google + and Pinterest. You can also try a seven-day free trial of the primary Grammarly program. I also found Grammarly offers different rates and you can pay an annual fee of $139.95, which is a much better deal than the monthly pricing.