Kiev and San Francisco, what do they share in common? They are both locations for offices of Grammarly, an automatic spelling and grammar check that does so much more to help you write better. The software takes advantage of cloud computing to execute computationally intensive algorithms, thereby making the software accessible and available to the average person working on his laptop or desktop at any time. The company employs a team of expert linguists, engineers, and technologists to craft and deploy powerful algorithms. The goal is to perfect written English with the aid of an accurate checker for correct grammar and spelling, which checks for up to 250 points of grammar.
Grammarly was founded by two Kiev natives to improve communication among the world’s over two billion English speakers. Alex Shevchenko and Max Lytvyn initially founded a plagiarism detection software company which they later sold. They next decided to use their skills and talents to help them out with a personal problem, writing English perfectly, because English is their second language. Brad Hoover, the current CEO of Grammarly, reached out to the founders when he discovered the software in his search of tools to help him perfect his writing.
Do they achieve their ambitious goal? Do they achieve success in their mission? Let us explore.
Grammarly grammar checker has multiple parts to it. The main part is the web app, in which one can create a free account and simply start using the web editor. The user can turn on or off what needs to be checked. If one does not want the editor to proofread for spelling, the user can toggle it off. If one does want the editor to edit for writing style, that option can be toggled off. One can write directly in the web editor or simply upload a document that is already written, or copy and paste into the editor. The web editor analyzes in real time the writing and provides edits and corrections. The edits and corrections come with explanations of which rules were not being followed, helping the writer learn to become a better writer.
Basic edits can be obtained via the free grammar check online option, but one can upgrade, and is strongly encouraged to upgrade by Grammarly at every opportunity, to see more advanced issues. The premium upgrade offers to edit the writing against 250 plus grammar and writing rules including double negatives, faulty parallelism, contextual spelling mistakes, subject-verb agreement, article placement, and modifier placement. Additionally, the premium version can offer to edit for more than thirty document types, including student essays, professional emails, blog posts, business documents and academic papers. Another feature the premium version offers is vocabulary enhancement. It offers alternative word choices based on the context of enhancing your writing.
In addition to the web app with the editor, there are extensions for both Firefox and Chrome web browsers that edit wherever you are writing on the web, be it Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, or commenting on a blog or forum. As one is typing, the extension is editing the writing and flagging potential issues via color-coded lines. Another free benefit the web extension offers is an online dictionary. There are many new or not understood words that we come across on a regular basis. Finding the definition can be distracting or hard. One can double click on a word which will bring up nearby a card with the word’s definition, learning vocabulary in a natural state.
The web is great for those who like it and have access to it. But there are plenty who do not want to do everything on the web. And there are times when the web is just not available. However, one does not need to worry about that. Grammarly offers a plug-in that integrates with Microsoft Word and Outlook to enable one to have perfect English. It does all the editing that is done via the web editor, just on the desktop. This is offered as part of the premium package.
Plagiarism is a big challenge for many authors and professionals. Grammarly is here to help with that. The plagiarism software checks and compares your text against 8 billion web pages to ensure there is no plagiarism involved in your writing. Citations are also generated by the software to make sure the citations are done in the proper form.
In addition to software that Grammarly develops and sells, they also have various free online resources to help improve written communication among the English speakers of the world. There is a question and answer forum where members can ask questions relating to correct grammar and proper writing. The answers can be upvoted or downvoted so that the most popular answer rises to the top. Also, there is a handbook with rules on various parts of English writing and usage. Some of the informative topics include revision and editing, research and documentation, and organization and development. Additionally, they offer an online thesaurus to help you find the perfect word to communicate clearly. And their Facebook page and blog are meant to educate in a humorous and fun manner.
If one still needs a human editor with a quick turnaround, one can order that via Grammarly for a price, which depends on how quick of a turnaround is needed.
Grammarly operates on a “freemium” model. However, the free grammar check version is limited in what it will edit and correct for you. The Microsoft plug-in does not work with the free version. The web app works fine, but it will only inform and educate you about basic mistakes and issues. More advanced edits are only offered with the premium version.
Grammarly is definitely not cheap for the premium version. They offer you three different choices of how much money you pay upfront. You can pay each month $29.95, or each quarter $59.95 in one payment for three months use, or an annual fee of $139.95 for 12 months use. They do not offer any specials for students. However, sometimes Grammarly offers specials or promotions which can be found via bloggers reviewing the software.
If one is a student, they offer licensing to universities and colleges and one might be able to use it as a student in a participating college or university. A student should inquire from their university about using Grammarly.
Grammarly offers a seven-day money-back guarantee if a customer is not satisfied with the purchase.
The question arises: Grammarly sounds impressive, is it any good? Does it perform to its claims and expectations? The answer is: in many ways yes, though it is far from perfect. Let us start with the design. It is simply excellent. Simple, aesthetically pleasing, intuitive and clear are all adjectives that immediately come to mind when using the product. It is not complicated and does not frustrate the user, despite the many moving parts that make up the service. The designers definitely understand ease of use and designed and executed with that in mind. However, the blog needs some of those design ethics, as the blog is too busy with different types of graphics vying for the user’s attention. Consequently, the blog is not so easy on the eye and mind. Furthermore, the user experience needs some tweaks. When a user is signed into their account, the rest of the website is inaccessible. One needs to log out to access the rest of the website. This can be really frustrating and makes for an unpleasant experience. Also, the web extension can be slow and it also slows down the web browser. I decided to uninstall as it was not worth it for me, though it did work at editing my writing on the web.
Another issue is that the support is lacking according to many reviews. According to the website, if one is a paying member, there is 24/7 customer service. But in truth it does not always work out that way. Response can be slow and it often takes time to resolve issues. Additionally, there is no phone number that is listed on the website or another way of talking to a human in real time. That is a huge issue for me, personally, as most of the time I need to have my issues resolved via talking or chatting with an actual human.
Does the software do as it promises? The software has definitely learned a lot and improved in the many years it has been in existence. Early versions flagged more false positives and overlooked many more mistakes. But today it is much more accurate and precise. Today it scores high in accuracy and precision according to many reviews. However, it still may not be the best tool for everyone. If you are a professional editor or writer, this tool might frustrate you in what it does and does not flag. The issue here is simply that writing is partly an art form and thus cannot always be subjected to algorithms, rubrics and rules. A great writer knows the rules very well and when it is the proper time to break the rules. This is something that software with algorithms cannot help with. And just as art’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Grammarly’s greatness is dependent on the user’s point of view. Some people who could benefit greatly would include those who are just starting out, those who are not native English speakers, and those who tend to rush their social media updates and blog comments. This tool would be great for those who need excellent English and writing skills in a profession other than English writing or editing. But for professional editors and writers, this tool might just end up frustrating them more than helping them.
In conclusion, price notwithstanding, I would recommend this software to most of my friends and acquaintances.
There are many different software companies on the market trying to enable us to write better. RightWriter is an old tool that goes back more than twenty years to help us write in accordance with the rules and thus more clarity. How does it stack up against current options, and specifically Grammarly in this case?
It is hard to find much information on the software. The website is honestly ugly and doesn’t give any thought to the user experience. It is not intuitive or aesthetically pleasing in the least bit. RightWriter does reflect the age of the software; it seems to have been designed in the early days of the web and never updated since then. Furthermore, there is no way to download the software to play around with it and try it.
Simplicity is the name of the game with RightWriter grammar checker. It is a simple piece of English grammar check software that intentionally does not integrate with any other software. Integration does not always work the way it is supposed to, and therefore the aim here was to keep every piece apart rather than integrated. It is completely separate and operates on its own. One copies and pastes the text directly into the editor and then the computer generates a list of edits and needed grammar corrections. It does not need an account or internet connection. It just edits what you give it and edits with relatively high accuracy and precision according to the reviews. Furthermore, its pricing is a simple one-time fee of $29.95. It can be obtained via its website or Amazon.com. The design is old without any modern updates. For many users this is also a benefit; it is part of the simplicity that leads to better performance. However, there are those who do not like the interface as it is not intuitive.
It does not look like there is a version for the Macintosh operating system. It also could not be confirmed whether there is customer service if anything goes wrong or does not work.
This seems like a potentially great investment for those who want something with not too many moving parts and does one thing that is needed well without any bells and whistles.
However, I think that Grammarly is still the winner here. Yes, it is not as simple or cheap as RightWriter, but the far superior design more than makes up for it. Grammarly does a superb job at taking many moving parts and keeping them simple. Plus, it performs just as well or better at the editing and proofreading tasks.