Wednesday, March 12

Grammarly - Instant Online Grammar Checker

I use Grammarly's plagiarism checker because properly quoting your sources is the sincerest form of flattery.


Did the internet and mobile devices really kill print? Yes, and brutally so. I was recently posed this question by someone who works in print media. In typing my response online rather than penning an open letter to the editor, I am already answering the question. As a blogger, I was spared the agony of print media's continued writhing death because I started out online. I am not a magazine staff writer/contributor who suddenly found her industry collapsing to the likes of Kindle and the iPad. 

In defense of print media, as any rookie writer, photographer, and graphic designer would tell you, there is an air of accomplishment and legitimacy in holding a physical copy of your work in your hands let alone convince a publication to pay for your work. Anyone can produce content online. The web is crowded with wannabe-everythings. In fact, all of us wannabes are competing to be published in print while print is desperately fighting all of us. Even so, many of us would only purchase or pick up the issue in which our work was published, and not commit to buying a subscription. 

On the one hand, less printing means less paper means more trees! Applause for a decrease in consumption of natural resources. On the other hand, the dissolution of an entire industry means displaced writers, editors, printing presses, printing equipment manufacturers, and lumberjacks?! That last one was a stretch, but you get my point. The publishing industry is definitely consolidating. Print media may be on it's way out. As long as there are writers, photographers, and artists to contribute great work in print, there will be enthusiastic collectors who want to own their work. Some small percentage of people will still want to hold magazines in their hands, display artwork on their walls, and store books on their shelves.


This topic was brought about because of my recent contributions to M Magazine. Writing for print makes me nervous. It is not as forgiving as the internet. I can revert blog posts to draft and fix my typos. I can re-publish with edit notes. It is much more difficult in print. I was approached by Grammarly with an offer to test their online editing tool. Grammarly is a membership based web service with Microsoft Word plug in that proofreads your writing for grammar, spelling, and plagiarism errors. Grammarly checks differently depending on your document's purpose: general, business, academic, technical, creative, and casual.

I tried the tool on an essay from school using academic setting and an excerpt of my 2014 resolution post using creative setting. Below are screen captures of the Grammarly tool in action. 

There are plenty of online resources and Youtube videos showing exact footage of the Grammarly tool as it is editing so I will skip to my opinions.

Grammarly is easy to use. It is as intuitive as copy and paste, which is great! You cannot edit the document if you use the online tool but you can edit in Word if you use the plug in. I ran the same blog excerpt under Academic setting and received more errors then when I ran it under Creative. The explanations of each error is much more thorough than if you just used Microsoft Word which is great for those who want to learn from their mistakes. Most of these features are standard to Microsoft Word and Grammarly improves it slightly. While automatic grammar checkers are no replacement for a human editor and you still have some limitations in things like pronouns and stylistic preferences, it does a pretty good job.

The real difference in this tool is the plagiarism checker. This is similar to which probably has more value for teachers than it does for writers. Grammarly is more oriented towards the writer to check their work in phrases as they write or entire papers when they finish. Grammarly's plagiarism checker cross references 8 billion web pages for matches. What you get with Grammarly is Microsoft grammar and spell check on steroids plus all in one convenient place. You also have the ability to edit as you go. This is helpful for those of us not wanting to waste time continuing down the wrong path for an entire piece of work.

The price may only be worth it if you are a professional academic or technical writer who does not want to afford an editor. For casual writers like myself who are not getting paid to write and do not write frequently, it is difficult to justify the subscription cost. Overall I think Grammarly is a good tool if you have the professional need for it. I hope this review was helpful. 

P.S. I used Grammarly to check the grammar and plagiarism in this blog post!

This post was sponsored by Grammarly.



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