I am a terrible typist. Despite hours following Mavis Beacon’s instructions, killing zombies with hastily typed words in The Typing of The Dead (which is abandonware and you can get for free), and giving Nanotale – Typing Chronicles a few goes at various gaming event over the last year, well… this screen is currently covered in red squiggly lines. So many red squiggly lines.

Grammarly is a spelling, punctuation, and grammar checker. It comes as a browser plugin that makes suggestions as you type in any almost any online site or app. Facebook works, Twitter doesn’t, Medium does… it’s a little hit or miss, but most of the big ones where you’re likely to be typing a lot are covered.

Instant Grammar Checker - Correct all grammar errors and enhance your writing.

It also comes as a standalone programme that you can type in and get suggestions on the fly, or you can copy and paste text in to make your amendments. Lastly, it’s available as a Microsoft Office plugin, which if you saw the state of this body of text right now, you would know I am not currently using.

I am not good at typing…

What do you get for free vs Paid?

The Grammarly browser plugin, for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari is completely free. It will make suggestions as you type and pickup those rogue mistakes and apostrophes.

It works wonders with WordPress, and I have used it to review many of my previously published blogs. Oh wow, so many errors made even, somewhat unforgivably, the lack of a hyphen in Ant-Man. Yep, it also knows which heroes need a hyphen.

Every suggestion comes with an explanation of why Grammarly thinks it’s an error and can be fixed with a click. It’s not 100% correct, especially if you type in a more conversational style, and can also get confused over tense and plurals.

My only other issue is when reviewing text using the Gutenberg editor in WordPress. Around 50% of the time, it will highlight a problem, and when you mouseover it to click, it disappears, and you select the Gutenberg block instead. You can manually make the edit, so it’s not a huge deal, but also could be improved. Hopefully, future versions will adjust this (for info I’m working in WordPress 5.2.2 using a custom version of X Theme on a Mac).

Add all the hyphens!

With that said it has found so many errors; double spaces, rogue apostrophes, misspellings… I’m a trained proofreader, and I was astounded at the number of mistakes my site had. Give me somebody else’s work on paper, and I will cover it in red, green, and blue pen. My own work on screen and my powers escape me. I’m hugely impressed with this little extension and also with how easy it is to switch between British English and American English – I have some contributors from the US and want to retain their voice and their feel, so being able to flick back and forth with a few clicks is a significant benefit to me.

Lastly, the state of my Facebook updates has improved. But only about 10% of the time as I tend to use it from mobile, but hey, those 10% of posts are much better!

Grammarly free? Will absolutely be keeping it as an extension and using it on new posts, publishing to Medium, and more.

Highly Recommended – 4.5/5

Grammarly Premium

Next, on with the paid version of Grammarly, Grammarly Premium – is it worth it? Costing $29.95 a month, it’s not a small investment and will soon add up over the course of a year. If you pay quarterly, that comes down to $19.98 per month which comes as one payment of $59.98, and an annual subscription costs $11.66 per month, which comes as one invoice for $139.95.

Grammarly Writing Support

It comes with a bunch of extra features that a casual user likely doesn’t need, but anyone with a blog, or is writing in a professional field, may find more useful. The big difference is the availability of a desktop app. You can type directly in the app, upload a piece of text, or copy and paste, which I’ve done here. I am clear, engaging, and my delivery is spot on… but I am far from correct.

Can Grammarly improve your own confidence in your writing? Without a doubt, yes. Catching errors, mistakes, and typos on the fly in a much more effective way than any other browser extension I’ve used is an absolute boon. Having that confidence in the accuracy of my work has given me what I need to publish to Medium, so my work is reaching a wider audience, and growing the Coaching for Geeks brand.

Is Grammarly Premium worth the cost? It really depends on how much you’ll use it. For the average user, it’s probably a little too expensive. For the professional user who relies on words and presenting them professionally, it’s an absolute must. Unless you have your own editor of course. Then the onus is on them to get it right.

It didn’t catch them all, so don’t count on Grammarly becoming a Pokémon master

It’s not perfect, and you do still need to check it with human eyes, but that robotic oversight has found more wrong with my writing, and that of contributors, than I imagined. Will I keep it after my free trial is over? Maybe. We’ll see how I get on with it over the next couple of weeks and make a decision then. I love it, but it’s relatively pricey when the plugin does such a great job – those tweaks to clarity and engagement are tempting, to make sure I don’t overuse a word in any article I write.

You can try out Grammarly by following this link, or indeed any of the Grammarly links on this page. I wholeheartedly recommend giving the plugin a go and seeing if it makes a difference to your own confidence in your writing.

Robin Bates

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