- Helps improve your writing skills
- Accurate grammar and readability suggestions
- Conforms to your writing style (academic, casual, creative, etc.)
- Adjustable formality levels: formal, neutral, and informal
- Can use it as a browser extension or import text into their browser-based service
- Integrates with Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Google Docs
- Real-time grammar and spell check
- App available on iOS and Android
- Works great for all sorts of writers, not just authors
- Premium version has a plagiarism checker
- Easy to use and understand
- Website editor only allows documents up to 4 MB and 100,000 characters
- Free version only checks for errors in spelling and grammar, not style and context
- Grammarly’s website resizes awkwardly on split-screen view, no scrolling
- Its marketing can be very pushy for you to buy the premium version
- It comes nowhere close to replacing a human editor
Bottom Line: I use Grammarly for much of my writing. It fixes each spelling and grammatical mistake and improves my style, flow, and word choice. The paid version has excellent premium features, like genre-specific suggestions and plagiarism detection. But the free version is good enough for most people — and better than any free proofreader on the market.
We rank Grammarly as #2 on our list of best proofreading software, but it might be the best for you, depending on your situation, so read on to learn more about what makes Grammarly so great.
Grammarly is an incredible editing software. Although it may change some authors’ lives, it has its limitations and isn't for everyone. This Grammarly review will answer some of the most common questions people ask so you can find out if Grammarly is right for you.
Let me cut to the chase by saying that I am a big fan of Grammarly. It forces you to think about the way you write, which can only lead to improvement.
Speaking from personal experience, Grammarly has helped me:
- Identify weak adjectives and learn better alternatives
- Stop overusing certain words
- Shorten overly long sentences
- Avoid embarrassing typos in essential emails and blog posts
95% of people should just use the free version of Grammarly. It's better than you think.
If you’re like me and sometimes feel like Yoda with a grammar book, then you’re going to love this little tool.
- How much Grammarly costs
- 11 key features
- How to use it
- Differences between versions
- Who needs the premium version
Links in this article may give me a small commission if you use them to download Grammarly. Plus, there’s no extra cost to you.
Table of contents
- What is Grammarly?
- Pricing Breakdown: How much does Grammarly cost?
- Differences Between Grammarly Desktop and Mobile
- 11 Key Features of Grammarly
- How Grammarly Compares to Other Programs
- How To Use Grammarly (Web, Online, App, & More)
- Can Grammarly replace human editing?
- Pros: What I Love About Grammarly
- Cons: What I Don’t Like About Grammarly
- Verdict: Is Grammarly Right for You?
What is Grammarly?
Developed in 2009, Grammarly is a spelling and grammar checker that detects grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes as you write on websites, emails, Word documents, social media, and so much more.
Think of it as a little robotic grammar angel always looking over your shoulder.I love it when free robotic grammar angels look over my shoulder @grammarlyClick To Tweet
The intuitive thing is you don’t have to upload your text into an online editor every time you need to check your grammar and spelling (although you can still do that). You just install Grammarly’s browser extension, and it works while you type into Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Google Docs, and more.
Grammarly also integrates directly with Microsoft Word and Outlook. These are the only apps it works with outside a browser.
Grammarly has a free version and a premium version. (We'll dissect the difference between the two later in this review.) Suffice it to say; the free version includes a lot of useful features.
Is Grammarly safe and legit? Yes, Grammarly is safe and legit. Their plugin and website are very secure. “Your words are yours — we do not, and will not, sell or rent your or your team’s information. We don’t help third parties advertise their products to you,” says Grammarly’s security page.
Is Grammarly accurate?
Yes, Grammarly is accurate when it checks for grammar errors and spelling mistakes. It is more accurate than other comparable proofreading apps.
Although it is not a replacement for a human editor, Grammarly Premium also offers accurate recommendations for correcting writing style, passive voice, word choice, sentence structure, and comma placement.
Grammarly markets its high-quality accuracy towards people writing emails and social media posts over hardcore authors. However, if you’re an author who’s willing to overlook a few grammar checks that don’t apply to prose, then I’d recommend Grammarly for you as well.
Is Grammarly easy to use?
Yes, Grammarly is easy to use. Many critics and reviewers (read: me) will admit that Grammarly is the most user-friendly proofreading service on the market, even if Grammarly isn’t our ultimate favorite.
Grammarly’s creators know that ordinary people will be using Grammarly, so they made it easy to use for all sorts of people.
Who should use Grammarly?
Everyone should use Grammarly. It’s a proofreading app that will improve anyone’s writing — from non-native English speakers to best-selling novelists.
People who aren’t writers can get away with using the free version of Grammarly. Its spelling and grammar checker is far beyond what Word’s spell checker can offer. And it works on Outlook and Gmail, so your emails look as professional as possible.
You should use Grammarly if you:
- want to avoid embarrassing typos, misspellings, and grammar mistakes
- want to improve your writing to make it more clear, engaging, and concise
- want a tool that automatically checks your writing on virtually any website
- hire ghostwriters or want to check for plagiarism
- speak a native language that is not English, and you want to share content in English
Why I'm Qualified to Talk About Grammarly?
Let's face it, there are far too many people out there who are just regurgitating what others have said on the Internet about tools like Grammarly. Or worse, they're using AI to do all the work for them.
Not the case here.
I've been in the author game for 13 years, I have written multiple bestselling books, and for many of those books, I used Grammarly (along with its largest competitor: ProWritingAid).
Reviewing Grammarly isn't just about listing its features. It's about understanding the various nuances, strengths, and areas of improvement from a user's viewpoint. AKA, what works for me, might not work for you.
Plus, I've conducted countless surveys to my community of authors, and interacted with some of the biggest heavy hitters in the industry. I've been blessed to interact with multiple of my heroes.
So I have some experience With Grammarly and other proofreading tools. Hopefully that helps.
Grammarly Review: Video Overview
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Pricing Breakdown: How much does Grammarly cost?
The free version of Grammarly is entirely free — no hidden fees. I’ve found the free version is actually very robust and is all that most people need.
Grammarly Premium costs a maximum of $29.95 each month you use it. However, pricing options allow you to purchase Grammarly Premium in bulk at a discounted price.
- $30.00 per month
- $60.00 per 3 months ($20.00/month value)
- $144.00 per year ($12.00/month value)
- Grammarly Business is $15.00/month per member (minimum 3 members)
Differences Between Grammarly Free & Premium
Grammarly’s free and premium version’s main difference is that the premium version offers you significantly more recommendations, vocabulary enhancements, writing style suggestions, and plagiarism checks.
Is Grammarly Premium worth it? Yes, the premium version of Grammarly is worth every penny — especially if you purchase the annual plan, which saves you 61% every year.
Grammarly Premium is fantastic for writers, bloggers, marketers, students, academics, anyone in corporate America, etc. I use the premium version because I have many critical eyes on my website and books, and my blogging can go heavy on spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
Only the premium version of Grammarly offers you an invaluable Plagiarism Checker. The checker scours the Internet to ensure no plagiarism has occurred. This gives you peace of mind whenever you employ ghostwriters or are writing academically.
Grammarly Premium offers genre-specific suggestions concerning your writing style.
Vocabulary Enhancement is a premium-only feature to help you expand your lexicon and write more clearly by suggesting context-optimized alternatives and synonyms in response to word repetition or overuse.
Did you notice there were some juicy words in that sentence? Thanks, Grammarly.
Check out the table below for the difference between Grammarly Free and Grammarly Premium:
Grammarly Free vs Grammarly Premium
|Web Browser Extension|
|Microsoft Outlook Plugin (Windows Only)|
|Microsoft Word Plugin|
|Personal Editor via Grammarly.com or Desktop App|
|See Definitions and Synonyms with Double Click|
|Get Performance Stats via Email|
|Vocabulary Enhancement Suggestions|
|+100 More Critical Grammar and Spelling Checks|
|Genre-Specific Writing Style Checks|
|Plagiarism Detector That Checks More Than 16 Billion Websites|
Differences Between Grammarly Desktop and Mobile
You can use Grammarly on both your computer and your mobile devices. It’s essential to know the differences between the two.
When you use Grammarly on your computer, it offers real-time suggestions by marking spelling or grammar errors with a colored underline. You can use Grammarly on your desktop, on grammarly.com, or with Microsoft Office.
To go into further detail, you can open the Grammarly sidebar, seen below:
Grammarly on your mobile device works as a keyboard. Your new and improved keyboard will offer real-time corrections right above the letters and numbers.
It suggests corrections to spelling and grammar. When there is no grammatical error, it will offer you synonyms for whatever you’re typing.
11 Key Features of Grammarly
Let’s take a look at the 11 key Grammarly features and how each of them will improve your writing.
1. Spelling and Grammar Check
Of course, Grammarly checks your spelling and grammar. But it’s not just another proofreader. It works better than Word’s native spell checker. Its free version rivals any other free app out there.
Its spelling and grammar checker is highly accurate and helpful. It even helps with comma placement.
When Grammarly detects an error or issue with your writing, you can click on underlined words to see what the problem is. Grammarly’s suggestion will pop up with a concise but informative explanation.
3. Grammarly Cards
Besides just flagging where it detects issues, Grammarly also gives comprehensive explanations of grammar rules and tips for avoiding similar mistakes in the future.
You can receive a report detailing your accuracy in grammar, spelling, plagiarism, and vocabulary. This is instrumental in helping you improve over time.
5. Language Preferences
Easily switch between English dialects by navigating to your profile and changing your language preference.
Which English dialects does Grammarly recognize?
- American English
- British English
- Canadian English
- Australian English
6. Grammarly Online Editor
Grammarly has an Online Editor that allows you to store all your documents and access them from any Internet-connected computer.
You can type within it or upload your documents to it.
Personally, I don't use this much. There’s a 15,000-word limit, and it’s not as convenient as Grammarly’s other key features.
7. Browser Extension
Available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge, the Grammarly extension is intuitive, easy-to-use, and highly accurate.
The browser extension automatically checks your comments, blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, and emails.
8. Grammarly for Microsoft Office
For those of you who are in love with Microsoft Office, Grammarly has got you covered.
To install the Grammarly add-on for Microsoft Office:
- Open Microsoft Word on your computer.
- Click on the “Insert” tab.
- Click “Add-Ins.”
- Click “Get Add-Ins.”
- Search for Grammarly and click the “Add” button.
- Click on the Grammarly tab that now appears in MS Word.
- Log in to Grammarly.
Now you should be getting real-time suggestions that are far superior to Word’s native spell checker.
Grammarly can integrate with Word on Windows and Mac. However, it can only integrate with Outlook on Windows.
(To see why I never write my books in Microsoft Word, read this.)
9. Grammarly for Your Phone
If you want Grammarly to check all the writing you do on your phone, there's a keyboard for that!
Grammarly Keyboard for iOS or Android will check all your writing through your keyboard even when you're away from your computer.
Unfortunately, you cannot swipe text with the Grammarly keyboard.
10. Grammarly for Your Desktop
If you’re lazy like me and have a lot of documents to check quickly, this is for you.
No more copying and pasting your documents into their web editor like the old days. Instead, you can quickly drag and drop files into the Grammarly icon on your desktop and get your works checked at ludicrous speed.
11. Plagiarism Checker (Premium Only)
Grammarly will scour the corners of the Internet to cross-check and ensure your copy contains no plagiarism. It checks over 16 billion websites.
This is a super-powerful feature if you employ ghostwriters, are an academic writer, or you want to ensure your content isn't stolen.
This is what it looks like when Grammarly finds plagiarism:
This is what it looks like when you’re good to go:
How Grammarly Compares to Other Programs
Grammarly is an intuitive spelling and grammar checking machine, but there are other proofreading programs out there that do the same thing.
Let’s dive into the differences between Grammarly and other programs, like ProWritingAid or Word’s spell checker, and determine the best proofreading program for you.
Grammarly vs. ProWritingAid
Is ProWritingAid better than Grammarly? When comparing free versions only, Grammarly is better than ProWritingAid. Grammarly is more user friendly and more accurate. Its free version can handle over 10,000 words at a time, whereas ProWritingAid Free can only handle 500 words at a time.
However, ProWritingAid Premium has more features and more integrations. (ProWritingAid can integrate with Scrivener and OpenOffice, which Grammarly can’t.) Yet, it is more affordable than Grammarly Premium.
Check out my in-depth review of ProWritingAid and how it stacks up compared to Grammarly.
Grammarly vs. Word
Is my Word spell checker enough? No, MS Word’s spell checker is not enough to elevate your writing to that next level.
I did a little experiment to show you the difference between Word’s spell checker and Grammarly.
I took one of my articles on Kindlepreneur (over 2,000 words) and put it into Word, where it showed no grammar or spelling errors. I took the same article and put it through Grammarly Free and Grammarly Premium. Here are the results:
Grammarly vs. Ginger
Is Ginger better than Grammarly? While Grammarly excels in features, platform availability, and plagiarism checks, Ginger offers multi-language support and text-to-speech at a more affordable premium price, though Grammarly is the better choice for English-only users.
Grammarly vs. Whitesmoke
Is Whitesmoke better than Grammarly? Grammarly is better than Whitesmoke because Grammarly is more user-friendly and prettier to look at. Grammarly’s free version is definitely better and provides more features.
Grammarly vs. Turnitin
Is Turnitin better than Grammarly? Grammarly is a better proofreader than Turnitin. But Turnitin is marketed to different people than Grammarly, so it’s hard to say which is better.
Grammarly is for writing emails, social media posts, blog posts, etc. while Turnitin is for teachers grading papers, checking for plagiarism, and providing feedback.
The main comparison is the plagiarism checker in Grammarly Premium and Turnitin. It’s hard to compare price tags since Turnitin is priced per student.
How To Use Grammarly (Web, Online, App, & More)
It’s really easy to use Grammarly, but there are several different ways to utilize the tool. So I broke it up into 5 sections:
- Browser extension
- Online editor
- Microsoft Office
- Desktop app
- Mobile app
Download the Grammarly browser extension to use Grammarly for your online writing. They offer a Safari, Edge, Firefox, or Chrome extension.
When you’re writing an email, a LinkedIn post, or what have you, Grammarly will offer real-time spelling and grammar suggestions.
It’s intuitive, too. Grammarly will make stricter suggestions on sites like LinkedIn, where more professional language is expected over, say, Facebook.
Go to app.grammarly.com to use the online Grammarly Editor.
Upload a file, or drag and drop. Grammarly can only check 100,000 characters at once. That comes out to about 16,000 words or 60 pages.
Supported file formats for upload include:
Grammarly for Microsoft Office works on both Mac and Windows computers. There is a 150,000 character limit on how much Grammarly checks at once in MS Word for Mac.
On Windows, Grammarly can integrate with Microsoft Word and Outlook. There is no character limit on Windows.
In Word or Outlook, you’ll see a Grammarly tab on your toolbar after installing the add-in. In that tab, click Open Grammarly, then the Grammarly sidebar will appear and offer real-time suggestions.
Download Grammarly’s desktop app here (it will automatically recognize your operating system).
When you open the desktop app, you can drag and drop files into the app to check your spelling, grammar, and more.
Supported file formats include:
Open the app and go through the simple set up process. Here are resources based on your mobile OS.
Now, whenever you type with your phone’s Grammarly keyboard, you can rest assured that what you’re writing is mistake-free.
Not only is what you type encrypted for your safety, but Grammarly also does not spell check what you write in fields marked sensitive, such as credit card information.
Can Grammarly replace human editing?
No, Grammarly cannot replace human editing and proofreading.
I'm sorry to break the news that, while Grammarly Premium and Free are valuable editing tools to have in your arsenal, Grammarly should not replace a human proofreader.
It will miss things that only a human editor can find, such as the way certain words or phrases are used in context. For authors writing dialogue-heavy scenes or using creative writing techniques, this proofreading application may highlight “errors” that are purposeful.
The feedback Grammarly gives is only so good. There are just certain things only a human can do, no matter how good the proofreading software is.
For someone like me who writes all the time in guest posts, blog articles, emails, comments, podcast notes, and social media, it can be an extra set of eyes. But don't think that it will help you to eliminate the editing costs for your books.
Before you publish your eBook to Amazon, hire a human editor. And don’t skimp. You get what you pay for.
Pros: What I Love About Grammarly
There’s a lot that I love about Grammarly, even the free version.
- Real-time spelling and grammar checker. Grammarly is a real-time checker. It’s just convenient to see a red underline and know you need to make a change.
- Easy to use. Grammarly works for everyday people. Even though it’s useful for authors and writers, it is designed to help ordinary people write social media posts, emails, etc.
- Simple explanations. Thank the makers that Grammarly gives you simple, easy-to-understand explanations behind their suggestions. You can choose between quick-view or “See More In Grammarly.”
- High accuracy rate. I don’t know how many times I have yelled at my Google Docs grammar checker because it doesn’t understand my perfectly reasonable sentence. Fortunately, Grammarly is highly accurate.
- Personal dictionary. Even the free version of Grammarly comes with your own personal dictionary, which you can customize while writing or on your account.
- Desktop and mobile capabilities. Conveniently, Grammarly offers its spelling and grammar checking as a desktop app and as a mobile keyboard.
- Weekly report card. Grammarly tracks your overall weaknesses and points out areas you can work on over time. A weekly report card can let you know if you need to stop ending sentences in prepositions and stop using squinting modifiers. (Thanks to Grammarly, I now know what those are.)
Cons: What I Don’t Like About Grammarly
There are a few things I don’t like about Grammarly, so let me briefly discuss them here.
- No Scrivener integration. Grammarly only integrates with Microsoft Outlook on Windows and Microsoft Word on Windows or Mac outside of a web browser. Like many authors, I love using Scrivener when writing my books. Unlike ProWritingAid, Grammarly cannot integrate with notable apps like Scrivener, Atticus, or even OpenOffice.
- Aggressive advertising. Grammarly really wants you to upgrade to the premium version — hey, I get it, they need to make money! And heck, I use Grammarly Premium, so this isn’t a problem for me. But I know other people who have gotten annoyed with the volume of emails they send you.
- Grammarly only supports English. Of course, you can switch between American English, UK English, Canadian English, or Australian English. But if you’re looking to proofread in another language, you need another proofreading tool.
These issues that make Grammarly problematic are not dealbreakers. Authors may get frustrated when Grammarly tells them their creative prose is incorrect. Non-native speakers may unfortunately listen to inaccurate comma suggestions. But ultimately, the pros of Grammarly are far more extensive than the cons.
Verdict: Is Grammarly Right for You?
I think Grammarly is right for just about everyone who writes in English, even if you only write on Facebook.
Nobody’s perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, be they accidental or unknowing. Grammarly improves your writing, prevents embarrassing mistakes, and helps you learn tidbits of grammar you may not have known before.
I believe Grammarly Premium is more than worth it — when you save money by billing annually. However, the free version is leagues better than Word’s spell checker, so it’s still worth a free download if you don’t want to spend the money.
Is Grammarly worth it for college students? Yes, Grammarly is worth it for college students who have writing assignments to turn in. The free version of Grammarly is way better than Word’s native spell checker, and the premium version improves your overall writing — not to mention the invaluable plagiarism checker.
Flashback: I used Grammarly to help correct my Master Thesis years ago!
Grammarly makes you a better writer. It’s as simple as that.
Be sure to check out our full comparison with the other best proofreading tools out there.
Here's a summary of what Grammarly can do for you:
- For most authors, writers, and bloggers, the free version of Grammarly is enough and should be a part of your proofreading arsenal.
- Grammarly should be your first line of defense, but not your sole proofreader. It should never replace a human editor for your book.
- Using Grammarly and its reporting system can strengthen your writing over time.
- Switching between American English, British English, Canadian English, and Australian English can save you a lot of hassle and time.