You know that feeling when you notice a glaringly obvious mistake AFTER you’ve posted a social media update or a blog post?
Now you have to scramble and quickly do the edits BEFORE someone notices that silly error and makes a big online issue out of it, commenting on your writing skills.
Grammarly fixes that.
What is Grammarly?
As the name suggests, it’s a web based program that helps you write grammatically correct texts working seamlessly across various online platforms and devices.
If you do any kind of writing, whether it’s emails, social media posts, blog posts, reports or academic papers, it is worth exploring this tool.
Here’s my experience of using Grammarly.
Firstly, I must tell you that I am a proficient user of English language and with a degree in Philology and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, I have no right not to be.
So I thought to myself, do I really need this Grammarly thing?
After all, I learned all those spelling, punctuation, syntactic and many more rules to a very high degree at University and beyond. Plus I read avidly and write in English almost every day.
But, if I’m really honest, I must admit that sometimes I catch myself doubting, whether or not a word is spelled correctly, whether the word order in my text is somewhat odd or the context doesn’t support a phrase I want to use.
So I thought, let’s try this Grammarly thing out, it’s free and seems to be easy to use.
So how does Grammarly work?
The basic Grammarly plan.
So I first subscribed to the basic Grammarly plan, downloaded browser extension (Firefox in my case).
I also had to create an account and give some general details about my use of the English language, i.e. non-native speaker, the level of confidence, what I use the English language for, what variety I want to use.
The process was smooth and very quick and, almost immediately, I started seeing a little green Grammarly sign on my browser.
So the idea is that Grammarly checks whatever you are writing in real time and if there is anything that needs correcting, the little sign turns red with a number in the middle, indicating how many corrections have to be made.
The good thing about Grammarly is that it does not do that annoying auto-correction when you might want to start a sentence with a small letter or misspell a word for a reason.
You can leave those ‘mistakes’ in, if you want, by simply hitting ‘ignore button’.
All the system does, is makes you aware of the issue, gives you an explanation and a choice to correct.
Once all the issues are addressed, the little symbol on the right bottom turns green, to show you that there are no more problems with the text and you can safely hit that ‘Post’ button.
Another great thing that Grammarly does is it lets you build your own dictionary as you go along.
So for example, if you are using some foreign language words in your text, like names for dishes, place names or anything similar, typically the system will mark them as ‘critical issues, ‘ and you’ll have to look through the text again.
But, if you add these words to your dictionary on your Grammarly account, the system no longer will mark them as errors.
One important thing.
It seems that the free basic plan helps you correct only misspellings, basic punctuation and grammar errors flagging them as ‘critical issues.’
The number of advanced issues is flagged as well, but you need to upgrade if you want to have those checked.
Grammarly Premium Plan
As with many programs out there, Grammarly Premium Plan unlocks the most exciting features of the system.
They call these ‘Advanced issues’ in your text, which cover a variety of writing aspects, such as:
Word use frequency.
If you have your doubts about suggested corrections, Grammarly provides explanations along the way, to help you make up your mind whether or not to ignore them.
I cannot cover all of the issues the tool addresses here, and I doubt that it can fix 100% of mistakes and inaccuracies people come up with, but as tools go, it certainly seems to be a pretty reliable one.
After using Grammarly for a week, guess what I received in my inbox…
…a report on my writing performance!
The report gave me some statistics about my writing skills, told me how I compared to other users of the tool and summarized my main strong points and problem areas.
Who should use Grammarly?
Anyone who does any kind of writing online, especially if it’s for work or academic purposes.
If I were someone who mainly posts on social media for fun, I would be completely satisfied with a basic free plan.
Let’s face it, word order, syntax and all the complicated rules of grammar world don’t necessarily apply to these fun-loving platforms – people like to play with the language, including a gazillion hashtags, using strange abbreviations and in general pushing the written communication boundaries.
So a quick spellcheck, yes, please. A review of advanced grammar, no thank you.
However, if you are someone whose writing skills have to communicate your trustworthiness, competence, and respect for the reader, plus you are not someone who likes proofreading an e-mail a few times before hitting that ‘send’ button, then a premium plan might be something to consider.
As I am writing this, I am actually thinking about some of my students and colleagues who struggle with their writing at work and could use Grammarly for a quick check in order to be confident that the e-mail they are sending is worded appropriately and is written correctly.
Marketing departments in different companies would benefit from subscribing to Grammarly business account.
Having worked in marketing myself for a while now, I know how important it is to send out a well-written and clearly worded message, whether it’s just a simple update on social media or a reply to a customer complaint.
Moreover, this is especially important in the environment where staff are non-native speakers and can easily use their native language structures in an English sentence. Believe me, at best, it can be funny or confusing, but at worst, you might end up losing a customer or annoying someone really important, just because an employee inadvertently used a wrong word in the context.
But most importantly from business (and not only) point of view, is that Grammarly also saves time.
Just imagine, how many precious hours you would save if you didn’t have to constantly proofread your co-workers’ writing, especially if you work in a supervisory capacity. I am just thinking of the hours I spent proofreading and correcting repeated misspellings…
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