It’s been a while
Let me start things off with an apology. It’s been about four long weeks since I’ve published a post, and while I ultimately plan to explain my hiatus, the scars are too fresh to discuss at this time.
What is Grammarly
Grammarly is an AI-driven online grammar and spell checker. I know that some people are going to ask why they should download, or access an online grammar and spell checker software when their word processor of choice, or the operating system, has these features built-in. A good friend of mine that happens to be a professional editor for one of the big five publishers told me this when I asked that question, “Grammarly goes deeper than any default grammar checker. As a writer you often an editor pay per pass, and we’re not cheap. You can download or use Grammarly free or buy the premium plan for as low as $11 per month.”
With that said I will say that personally, no editing service is going to be a complete replacement for a human editor, but Grammarly does catch so much that it makes it, so my editors only need to focus on continuity and flow of the overall document. It helps to lower the cost of the editing process drastically.
Grammarly’s free version scans the document for critical grammar and spelling errors. The premium plan adds more advanced features that make the software well worth it. With the premium plan, you get contextual and sentence structure edits. The software automatically suggests synonyms enhance your writing’s vocabulary, which often comes in handy.
A Tool For Everyone
Whether you are in business, a full-time writer, someone just sending a letter to an old friend, or a student still learning the basic principles of the educational system Grammarly is a beautiful tool. If I Look back at my professional career and education, I would’ve gone all in on this software. Vocabulary, grammar, and spelling were never my strength. Yes, now I’m a writer. I do see the irony. The beautiful thing is that the software doesn’t just suggest changes. It explains the grammar rule and helps you to learn from your mistakes. Ultimately it makes you into a stronger writer.
I’ve been using Grammarly for about two years now, and last year I suggested the software to my Goddaughter who has just started writing short essays in school. She turned back to me and told me that the school has paid for accounts for each of the students. After talking to her about it, she mentioned a few grammar rules that are well more advanced than her age group. She told me that Grammarly kept pointing out the state to her. She began to incorporate it into her writing and can now even explain when the rule applies and what the exceptions are.
How to use Grammarly
Grammarly is primarily a web app that can be accessed via any web browser at Grammarly. You can also install extensions for Chrome, Safari, and Edge which give you the ability to run Grammarly on most rich text fields, like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress. Also, you can install native apps for both macOS and Windows that will allow you to write, or in my case copy content, into the app to use Grammarly’s features. Microsoft Word users on PC can also get Grammarly integration. Since I’m not a Windows or Office user I can’t attest to this integration’s performance.
As any of my readers know I use iOS for most of my writing. Anyone that knows iOS knows that Apple’s policy is to sandbox every app as much as possible to prevent data leaks and malicious software. The workaround Grammarly and the other handful of apps that I’ve seen that claim to do things similarly use Apple’s third-party keyboard API to allow the keyboard to run everything as you type through Grammarly’s AI systems. I have to admit that there are times when I use the default iOS keyboard, dictation, or Apple’s Smart Keyboard. The best part of Grammarly’s keyboard is after you write the text with any keyboard or dictation you can switch to the Grammarly keyboard and click on the Grammarly G logo. Grammarly will scan the entire field or document. I would say that there have been times that it hasn’t been as perfect as their web interface but over the last three minor updates, almost all that seems to have been corrected.
What’s Missing Or Could Be Better
As readers of my reviews know, I always feel that a quality review needs not only to praise the positives but to point out the deltas, things that could use some work. While as I said above, I think Grammarly is the best tool for anyone that needs to do any writing. I wish that it could be implemented into more things. I’d love to see Grammarly work with macOS’s core apps like mail or notes. I understand a lot of this is due to the limitations of Apple’s APIs and their sandboxing policies. I’ve seen apps like Things use a helper app that runs in the taskbar and can pull the data from active apps like mail or notes. I’d also like to see Grammarly work closer with apps like Srivinare, Apple Pages, or even other Microsoft Office products like Word for Mac or any of the other Office apps on PC. Lastly, my greatest pet peeve has been with the iOS keyboard. I hate having to switch back and forth between keyboards, but I often dictate large segments of text via the stock iOS keyboard. I understand that this is another limitation that Apple has imposed for security concerns, but with iOS 12 beta there is currently an API that will allow third parties to use the core dictation system. If Apple releases, that is the final version of iOS 12 I hope Grammarly will quickly add this feature. As of the time of writing this post they have yet to reply to my question about this possibility other than to say my request has been sent to their development team.
Grammarly is a wonderful tool for anyone that needs to write anything. It’s like having a proofreader on your computer that actually can understand the context of your writing. I would recommend everyone create a free account and give it a try. The premium features are also a wonderful addition with some great features to make your writing shine, but for most people, a free account can meet most users needs. Visit http://grammarly.com for more information or to give it a try.