If you've been debating whether or not to try Grammarly, this comprehensive Grammarly review is perfect for you. It highlights the program's strengths, critiques its weaknesses, and provides the ultimate guide to help you decide how to use Grammarly to best suit your needs as a writer.
Spoiler alert. The team here at SerpFocus gives Grammarly 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a program with many advantages and benefits, and we recommend it. However, it falls short in a few key areas that held us back from giving it a perfect score. Read on to find out more!
If you’re tight on time, use the Table of Contents below to skip to the sections of this review that are most relevant for you.
Grammarly is the most popular spelling and grammar checker on the internet. With over ten million active users, it largely markets itself toward professionals who want to strengthen their emails, reports, and presentations. However, Grammarly has also earned a reputation for improving writing among students, professional writers, editors, bloggers, and social media junkies alike. Many authorities praise Grammarly as one of the most user-friendly and powerful grammar tools available.
One of the distinguishing features that sets Grammarly apart is that it edits your writing in real-time across a variety of platforms. This means that whether you're typing an email, social media post, or a document, Grammarly will provide immediate feedback with explanations so you can modify your writing as you go. Grammarly analyzes your grammar and punctuation, spelling, and stylistics. It also offers a plagiarism checker.
Grammarly is an internet-based tool. This means that you do have to have an internet connection in order to use it—even on an offline platform like Microsoft Word.
There are five main ways to use Grammarly, depending on your needs and preferences. The first two options allow you to bring your writing to Grammarly after it is complete, while the last three bring Grammarly directly to your writing in real-time.
If you prefer to use Grammarly after your writing is complete, you can simply copy and paste it into the Grammarly Web Tool or Desktop App (Windows and macOS only). Uploading a document is also an option, as is typing directly into either tool. This method allows you to write without interruption and to edit your work afterward in a more traditional fashion.
But what if you forget to run your completed work through Grammarly? Or perhaps just prefer the satisfaction of knowing you’re completely done when you have typed your final line?
In that case, Grammarly's browser extension, Microsoft Word add-in, and/or mobile app may be the right choices for you. Each of these tools is quick to install and allows you to catch grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes (plus more) as you make them.
On the browser extension and in Microsoft Word, Grammarly identifies errors with a colored underline that you can click on to select corrections and access explanations that can improve your writing in the future. On the mobile app, Grammarly functions as a keyboard with spelling and grammar corrections offered in real-time right above the keys.
It’s no surprise that Grammarly checks your grammar and spelling. But what may surprise you is how well it does this job! Grammarly's grammar and spell checker is highly accurate and much superior to Microsoft Word's native tool. Its free version rivals any other free program available and provides great recommendations on everything from passive voice to comma usage.
When Grammarly detects an issue in your writing, it goes one step beyond just flagging it and providing suggestions for correction. Grammarly also provides explanations.
When you click underlined words, Grammarly offers a concise but informative overview of the issue. You can also access more detailed explanations (Grammarly Cards), which teach you grammar conventions in context and help to prevent you from repeating the same mistakes over and over.
Grammarly also offers you the option to access reports that detail your accuracy in spelling, grammar, plagiarism, and vocabulary. These can be a useful tool in helping you to self-reflect and analyze your progress as a writer.
Though the differences are subtle, English language conventions do vary between countries and regions. Grammarly allows you to choose between American English, British English, Canadian English, and Australian English.
As mentioned above, Grammarly can be used in five main ways—web tool, desktop app, Microsoft Word add-in, browser extension, and mobile app. Whether you prefer to use your desktop or mobile device, write online or offline, or edit your writing while drafting or after completing a piece, Grammarly's got you covered.
Grammarly's advanced features include sentence structure and context analysis, vocabulary enhancement suggestions, and genre-specific writing checks. The majority of users may not access these features, but they are available if you want them and can really add polish to your writing style and technique.
Grammarly's plagiarism checker scans over sixteen billion websites every time you run it. This feature gives you peace of mind no matter your situation but is particularly helpful if you are an academic writer or employ ghost writers. Rest easy knowing that all of the content you are producing (or are responsible for producing) is one hundred percent original.
There's a reason so many people are using Grammarly these days. Actually, there are many reasons! Here, the SerpFocus team has put together the top four reasons why we love Grammarly.
One of the best things about Grammarly is that you don't have to be a computer genius to use it. The software is easy to install and intuitive to use. As soon as you install the plugin, browser extension, or app, you’re set to begin using it across a variety of platforms.
Grammarly's usability is outstanding and would make the program attractive even if its content were inferior in other ways. But the fact is that it's not. Grammarly is easy to use and also packs a punch in terms of being a powerful grammar and writing tool.
As mentioned above, one of Grammarly's key features is that it corrects your writing in real-time. Imagine having a coach standing beside you and offering guidance over your shoulder as you compose your writing; that's Grammarly in a nutshell.
Whether you're working on a report, an email, a social media post, or something personal, Grammarly is there by your side. It switches with you from platform to platform and never daydreams or loses laser focus on the quality of your writing.
You don't have to click a button or remember to copy and paste your document into an editing program. Grammarly is automatically there and just gets the job done for a smoother, cleaner, and more integrated editing experience.
If having Grammarly looking over your shoulder every time you put your fingers to the keyboard sounds a little intense, don't worry. Grammarly can be customized to suit your needs.
In terms of simple customizations, Grammarly allows you to select language preferences, turn the program off for certain websites, and add words to a personal dictionary. For example, if you commonly use "words" in your writing that might not be in the standard English dictionary (brand names, abbreviations, slang, other languages, etc.), you can teach Grammarly to ignore them. This means that you don't have to hit “correct” every single time you type them.
Grammarly's more advanced customization features include options for personalizing the feedback you receive based on the type of text you’re writing. When you open a new document, Grammarly allows you to create writing or revision goals that include:
Intent - Is your goal to inform, describe, convince, or tell a story?
Audience - Are you writing for the general population or a panel of experts?
Style - Is this a formal or informal composition?
Domain - Is your text meant to be academic, creative, technical, or something else entirely?
Tone - How does your writing come across?
Emotion - Is your intention as an author to be mild or strong in this piece of writing?
While algorithms can never entirely replace a human reader, these types of advanced editing features elevate Grammarly beyond the realm of being just a basic spelling, punctuation, and grammar checker. Many users find Grammarly's customization options to be surprisingly helpful in analyzing and refining their writing style.
I've already talked about Grammarly's explanations in the Features section of this review, but I’m mentioning them again here because I feel they are a major strength of the program.
With concise explanations alongside every correction (plus the option to access more in-depth grammar information), Grammarly is really attempting to educate its users. Learning the "why" behind your errors helps you not to repeat them again and again and makes you a better writer in the long run. Ultimately, you may not even need Grammarly anymore! But that may take a while...
So far in this Grammarly review, I've mainly highlighted the program's strengths (of which there are many). But here, let's take a moment to consider a few elements that don't quite hit the mark:
Remember when I said that Grammarly works across a wide variety of platforms? It does, but there are also some major ones that it does not work on.
Most notably, Grammarly does not (yet) work on Google Docs. True, they are currently beta testing a Google Docs version of Grammarly, but it is not streamlined and is currently pretty riddled with glitches. If you regularly rely on Google Docs, this is a hassle and a significant point against Grammarly.
Also significant to some users will be the fact that, outside of a web browser, Grammarly only integrates with Microsoft Outlook (Windows) and Microsoft Word (Windows and Mac). It also does not integrate with certain writing apps, including Scrivener and OpenOffice.
While many users find that Grammarly's free version is perfectly adequate for their needs (more on this later), the fact is that it only includes one out of the five domains around which Grammarly is built: Grammar and spelling checks.
Admittedly, Grammarly's grammar and spelling checker is a powerful stand-alone tool. But the gap between the free and the premium version is wide. I feel that Grammarly could benefit from offering a free version with a few more features and also making a free trial of the premium version easier to access. It falls a little short in this area when compared with some other similar programs (more on that later as well).
Grammarly works hard to get you to upgrade to its premium version. And what that looks like is emails. Lots and lots of spam emails.
It’s possible to opt out of Grammarly emails by unsubscribing, but this doesn’t get rid of the in-program advertisements and notifications.
While no worse than the advertising in many other programs, constant bombardment with notifications is still a complaint our team has with Grammarly.
While you can switch between types of English, this is the only language that Grammarly supports. If you wish to revise and edit your work in other languages besides English, you will need to install an additional grammar program.
Honestly, I feel that anyone who writes can benefit from using Grammarly. Period.
While Grammarly is not mainly marketed toward professional writers, I believe it’s a powerful tool that can benefit everyone from bloggers to business writers to students to authors and editors to content marketers and copywriters.
If you want to avoid embarrassing typos and grammar mistakes as well as improve your writing skills (precision, clarity, style, reader engagement), Grammarly is a good fit. I also recommend Grammarly to individuals who hire ghostwriters and want to check for plagiarism, as well as to those whose native language is not English.
Disclaimer. Grammarly is a great program, but it's still artificial intelligence. It’s not reasonable to believe that all of Grammarly's suggestions will be correct or to accept them blindly. Use Grammarly for the excellent tool it is, but also think critically about what the program is telling you and make sure it’s a good fit within the purpose and context of your written work.
I’ve already touched on the wide gap between the free and premium versions of Grammarly. But here, let's dig a little deeper to see exactly what you can expect from each:
Both versions function in real-time across a variety of platforms.
The free version of Grammarly only checks for errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
The premium version does that plus checks context, sentence structure, and genre-specific stylistics. It also provides vocabulary enhancement and a plagiarism checker. In other words, quite a lot!
Bottom line? If you’re willing to put up with some advertising and your main goal in using Grammarly is to access a high-quality but basic grammar and spell check, then the free version is probably just fine for you. In fact, Grammarly's grammar and spelling checker is in a league of its own when compared to other free software I recommend!
If, however, you’re looking to truly deepen, develop, and polish your writing style, then the premium version of Grammarly will be a better fit. It’s an intuitive and comprehensive program that can really help you take your writing to the next level.
Based on the above insights, I think that the people best suited to using Grammarly's premium version are probably those who write a lot or who are aspiring to seriously improve their craft. This might include authors, editors, bloggers, students, and anyone else who spends quite a significant portion of their time writing.
The plagiarism checker (premium only) is also a key feature for anyone who employs ghostwriters or has a team of people creating content on their behalf.
Yes. Grammarly has an excellent reputation for trustworthiness. Aside from the fact that they wouldn't get too far if they were scamming writers regularly, Grammarly also has several measures in place to ensure the security of the content they access.
For starters, Grammarly explicitly states that you retain full control of your writing at all times. That includes copyright and duplication rights. Also, if you delete your Grammarly account, all of your data is deleted as well.
Grammarly also doesn’t rent or sell user data. They only make money through paid product offerings. I wish the same could be said for many other online services!
Lastly, Grammarly is unable to see or access any information you might type into a sensitive field, such as a password input area. This, along with encryption technology, is built into the software to ensure your private information remains one hundred percent secure.
Yes. When it comes to spelling, punctuation, and grammar, Grammarly functions with a high degree of accuracy. In this regard, it’s superior to other comparable proofreading apps.
When you get into Grammarly's more stylistic features, its recommendations for your writing may be a bit less accurate. But this makes sense, given that it’s not human (and even human opinion on written content can be highly subjective).
Most of Grammarly's recommendations are geared more toward people writing emails, reports, and social media posts than creative content. That being said, I believe that Grammarly can give great suggestions to creative writers as well. Just be selective in what you accept and what you ignore!
No. Grammarly may be a great program, but there is truly no replacement for a real-life writing coach. Let Grammarly take you as far as it can (which is pretty darn far). But for those defining texts where you want to reach the pinnacle of craftsmanship, I still highly recommend having an experienced editor or coach look it over.
If you only use the free version of Grammarly, it's totally free. And that free version doesn't have any limitations or expiry. You can use it as much as you want and for as long as you want.
But if I've convinced you that you're ready for a little something more than the free version can offer, Grammarly Premium is priced as follows:
$12.00 per month when you pay annually.
$20.00 per month when you pay for three months.
$30.00 per month when you pay monthly.
As you can see, there are significant savings when you buy an annual subscription ($144.00 in total for the year versus $360.00 if you paid monthly for the same period of time).
There is also a Grammarly Business option, which costs $12.50 per user per month. This option offers everything Grammarly Premium does, plus an admin panel that provides statistics for your team and other features.
As noted earlier in this Grammarly review, the main difference between the desktop and mobile versions of Grammarly is in the formatting.
The desktop version of Grammarly underlines corrections that you can click on to access suggestions and explanations. In the mobile version, Grammarly functions as a keyboard that provides suggestions for correcting your errors just above the keys (where you might see predictive text on a regular phone keyboard).
It probably goes without saying that the Grammarly Desktop App is only available on - well—your desktop.
Yes. Grammarly's affiliate program pays affiliates every time a referred user signs up for and installs Grammarly (even just the free version). After being approved as a Grammarly affiliate and placing a tracking text link or banner on your website, you are eligible to start earning money.
For more information about Grammarly's affiliate program, visit https://www.grammarly.com/affiliates.
As you can see, we at SerpFocus are pretty big fans of Grammarly. But let's take a look at how Grammarly stacks up against other similar programs.
As far as grammar checking goes, Grammarly is far superior. In fact, it checks over 400+ contextual errors that MS Word fails to detect with its spell-check.
Comparing free versions only, Grammarly is superior to ProWritingAid because it’s more accurate, user-friendly, and can handle over ten thousand words at a time. ProWritingAid's free version can only handle five hundred.
If we compare premium versions, ProWritingAid's position strengthens. Its paid version has more features and integrations than Grammarly and is also less expensive.
Ginger has some features that Grammarly doesn't. Significantly, it works in multiple languages, offers a text-to-speech feature, and is more affordable than Grammarly Premium.
Unlike Grammarly, Ginger doesn’t allow you to upload documents for checking, nor does it offer a plagiarism checker.
I prefer Grammarly. Whitesmoke is not as user-friendly, doesn’t offer any kind of free service (not even a free trial), and its desktop app can only proofread ten thousand characters at a time. I say pass.
Turnitin is marketed to a completely different usership than Grammarly; it’s designed for teachers who are grading papers, checking for plagiarism, and providing feedback.
Grammarly is the better proofreader, but Turnitin has a superior plagiarism checker. While Grammarly's plagiarism checker only scans the internet, Turnitin's also includes non-internet sources such as books and other texts.
Ultimately, these two programs both have value depending on your purpose for selecting them.
Now that you know what Grammarly has to offer, let's take a quick look at how you can actually make use of it in your everyday life.
Grammarly's browser extension is available for Safari, Edge, Firefox, and Chrome. Simply download the extension, and you're good to go on pretty much any website.
To use the Grammarly online editor, visit app.grammarly.com. Upload or drag and drop files into the editor. It can handle a maximum of ten thousand characters at a time (which is approximately sixty pages of text). The online editor supports files in the following formats: DOC, DOCX, ODT, TXT, and RTF.
Grammarly for Microsoft Office works on both Mac and Windows computers. There is a one hundred and fifty thousand character limit on Mac computers but no limit on Windows.
In Word or Outlook, a Grammarly tab will appear on your toolbar after you install the program. Click "Open Grammarly" in that tab, and a sidebar will open that offers real-time suggestions for your writing.
Grammarly's desktop app supports the same document types as the online editor. Download it from the Grammarly website (it will automatically recognize your operating system) and begin dragging and dropping files into it for immediate editing.
Download and open the Grammarly app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. Begin typing away with the Grammarly keyboard and the assurance that whatever you write will be mostly mistake-free!
Grammarly doesn't technically have a paraphrasing tool. However, the program can provide suggestions to help you get your message across using original words and phrasing.
Grammarly will suggest relevant alternative text and synonyms as you write, but there’s no magic button you can press to paraphrase already existing text. You have to do the work yourself with Grammarly's support...which is probably best in the long run.
Yes. Many professional editors report Grammarly is a useful tool in their arsenal. It’s unlikely that a professional editor would rely too heavily on Grammarly, but even the best of the best may appreciate the assistance of a little grammar robot by their side.
After reading this comprehensive Grammarly review, the decision is really yours! At SerpFocus, we are fans of Grammarly but feel that a few drawbacks prevent it from attaining a perfect score from us.
To recap, Grammarly is a highly accurate editing tool whose premium features go far beyond the basics. Its free version is adequate for the needs of many writers, and it has the major advantage of working with you in real-time across a variety of platforms. Grammarly is super user-friendly.
Grammarly doesn’t integrate with Google Docs, nor is it available in multiple languages. It advertises heavily and doesn't always stack up on top when compared to other comparable programs (though often it does).
Ultimately, I recommend Grammarly as a great tool for writers. Period. Its accuracy, usability, and extensive features (especially in the premium version) make it a winner. But would other programs better suit your needs?
To answer this question, consider your purpose in writing, language preferences, writing style, budget, and preferred writing platform.
In the end, what do you have to lose by trying Grammarly? If you write every day, I’m pretty sure you'll like it—and maybe even love it. But if I’m wrong? Remove it, and you haven't lost a thing.
So, yes. Here at SerpFocus, we say give Grammarly a try. It's a tiny investment of time, energy, and money (if you splurge for the premium version right away) that can have a dynamic impact on the way your writing is understood and received. And no matter what you write, your writing represents you. So let Grammarly give you a little boost and start improving your communication immediately!