The quest for an excellent proofreading tool can be hard at times. But while “excellent” may be a term reserved for more advanced technology, there are certainly plenty of good proofreading tools available. And LanguageTool is one of them. But is it the best available? If you’re already using another proofreading tool, is it worth the switch? And if you’re looking for your first, should you start with LanguageTool?
Read on to find out in this LanguageTool review!
Just want the basics? Here's the TL;DR version:
- It looks nice and is easy to use
- No sign-up required for free version
- Includes synonym suggestions
- Works in over 25 languages
- Premium version is very affordable
- Good customer service
- Limited features on both free and paid versions
- No plagiarism checker or reports function
- No translator
The Bottom Line: This is the perfect proofreading software for those who write in a non-native language. And while it is also a good tool for general writing, it doesn't have the features of other tools on the market. For authors who want a feature-heavy proofreading tool, it's not the best choice, although the free version could be ideal for online use.
- What LanguageTool is and who should use it.
- How much LanguageTool costs.
- What I like and don’t like about LanguageTool.
Table of contents
- What is LanguageTool?
- LanguageTool Features
- LanguageTool Integration
- LanguageTool Pricing
- How LanguageTool Compares to Grammarly and ProWritingAid
- How to Use LanguageTool
- What I Like About LanguageTool
- What I Don't Like About LanguageTool
What is LanguageTool?
LanguageTool is an open-source spelling, grammar, punctuation, and style tool that can correct mistakes in your writing. It's ideal for both native and non-native English speakers. Plus, it works with over 25 other languages. Like similar writing tools, you can use it all across the web.
You don't have to sign up to use the free version, and it automatically checks your work but never stores it. The Chrome extension is extremely well-rated and favored by many over the competitors. It’s also available for every other major browser.
LanguageTool goes beyond just finding the odd spelling error here and there. In fact, it also does more than simple grammar checking. It also checks for words that are commonly confused, punctuation blunders, and style enhancements.
And while the spelling and grammar checking functions are pretty self-explanatory, it's worth exploring the style functions it offers.
Picky Mode and Synonyms
One great feature is called “Picky Mode.” When you turn this on, you’re telling the tool to really narrow down your style and tone and make corrections accordingly. Plus, if you struggle with using the same words over and again, you can also turn on the “Enable Synonyms” feature, allowing you to double-click on a word to bring up some synonyms. Both features are included in the free and paid versions.
You can also add words to your personal dictionary if they're likely to be flagged because they aren't all that common. Those familiar with ProWritingAid will recognize this feature’s functionality.
If you are writing in a non-native language, you can tell the tool this by putting your “Mother Tongue” in. This tells the tool to flag common mistakes in the text that you might miss since you're writing in a non-native language.
LanguageTool can also tell the difference between types of English. So if you're writing in American English, but you're used to speaking and writing in South African English, the tool can help you out so you don't confuse your target audience.
The multiple languages that LanguageTool recognizes make it an excellent option over English-only tools like Grammarly and ProWritingAid — if you're writing in a language that isn't native to you.
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The free version of LanguageTool integrates with most browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Microsoft Edge. This allows you to check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation on websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more.
This extension also works in Google Docs. The nice thing about the browser extension is that you don't have to sign up for it. No email address required.
That said, if you do sign up for a free account with your email, you can use their online text field to copy and paste text from another document to check it. You can also upload a file from your computer. Although it doesn’t look like it in their text editor, LanguageTool will preserve your formatting, so you're not creating more work for yourself.
But if you want to use the grammar tool on Open Office, Microsoft Word, or LibreOffice, you'll need to purchase a premium subscription. This brings us to the LanguageTool pricing.
The free LanguageTool browser extension does pretty well at highlighting basic grammar and spelling mistakes. Like other similar tools, it will give you a suggestion for each error and allow you to fix it with one click (provided you haven't stumped the tool by accidentally fat-fingering it — something I do quite often).
But for advanced grammar suggestions and the ability to work on your MS Word document, you'll need to pay for LanguageTool Premium. And if you run a business where you want multiple members of your team to have access to the tool, you'll need to purchase their business option.
So, let's take a look at what each option includes, and then see how it measures up against the competition.
This is their “For beginners” option, and it includes:
- Basic punctuation, spelling, and grammar checking
- Up to 10,000 characters checked
- Picky mode
- Synonym suggestions (beta)
- The browser extension will check your text online, including Google Docs and Gmail
Language Tool Premium
This is their “For Individual Users” option. It includes everything the free tool does, and more:
- Enhanced style, punctuation, and spelling suggestions
- Comprehensive style and tone suggestions
- Up to 100,000 characters checked
- Detection of incorrect names, titles, and numbers
- Use with Microsoft Word or other writing software
Price: $4.99 per month ($59.90/year) when bought yearly. $13 a month when bought quarterly. $19.90 a month for a month-to-month subscription.
LanguageTool for Businesses
This is for teams of up to 20 members. It includes everything the Premium version has, plus:
- User management
- Team style guide
- Team dictionary
Price: Starts at $9.48 per month for two users and increases in price with every new user.
How LanguageTool Compares to Grammarly and ProWritingAid
If you buy a year at a time, LanguageTool is much cheaper than Grammarly Premium and ProWritingAid Premium. It's an attractive prospect for anyone who wants a good tool for highlighting grammar mistakes and spelling errors while getting tips on style and flow.
And since it's available in so many languages, those who don't write in their mother tongue could definitely get some use out of the tool.
But if you want features like plagiarism checks, advanced reports, and help with complex sentences, this tool may not be for you.
And if you're an author looking for a proofreading tool to edit your book before you send it off to an actual editor, you'll find LanguageTool limiting.
That said, it's a very easy tool to use. And the free version allows you to use it, see how it functions, and then decide if you want to pay for the premium version.
How to Use LanguageTool
This spelling and grammar tool is extremely easy to use. If you've ever used Grammarly or ProWritingAid, you won't have any problem navigating LanguageTool. In fact, even if you haven't ever used a proofreading tool like this, you'll still be fine.
Setting it up is as easy as searching for the LanguageTool browser extension on your browser of choice. Once you have it installed and turned on, it will automatically start working (you may have to refresh already-open pages, though).
And if you want to use the online text editor, just head over to the LanguageTool website and sign up for an account. Super easy.
What I Like About LanguageTool
There's a lot to like about LanguageTool, even if it's not quite as feature-heavy as other proofreading tools.
1. It's Sleek and Easy to Use
This is every bit a modern tool. It's easy to set up, easy to use, and it looks good while doing it.
2. No Email Needed
LanguageTool is an open-source tool, so the developers have decided that you don't need to sign up to enjoy the browser extension. This means you won't be getting endless upsell emails, and none of your data will be saved. Yay!
3. Synonym Suggestions
The synonym suggestion feature is great for writers like me who use the same words over and over again. Once you turn this feature on, all you have to do is double-click on a word to get a list of synonyms. Excellent free feature.
4. Language Options
LanguageTool works in over 25 languages. And while this isn't a feature I would use much, I recognize how important it is for those writing in multiple languages. (However, it doesn't include a translator like the Ginger software does.)
5. Affordable Premium Upgrade
Lastly, I like the low price that LanguageTool offers for the yearly subscription. The monthly price is pretty expensive, creating an excellent incentive to just sign up for a whole year. If you don't need writing reports or plagiarism checks, the LanguageTool could be the cheapest and best option for you.
6. Good Customer Service
LanguageTool provides many different ways to get a hold of them if there’s an issue. Their excellent customer service is one of the things that a good portion of individual LanguageTool reviews mention.
What I Don't Like About LanguageTool
1. Limited Error Correction
The free version of LanguageTool is fairly limited in what it catches. When compared side-by-side to ProWritingAid, it just isn’t quite as thorough. Plus, ProWritingAid’s suggestions seem a little more logical than the ones LanguageTool presents.
2. No Reports or Plagiarism Detection
While LanguageTool is great at what it does — checking grammar and spelling — it doesn't have the features other proofreading tools have. There's no writing reports feature to help you deep-dive into your writing. There's also no plagiarism detector. So if you think you'd use one or both of these features, you're better off paying a bit more for another tool.
If you write in a different language than your native tongue, LanguageTool is probably the best proofreading tool for you. The free version is good, but it doesn't have as many features as the free version of ProWritingAid. Plus, the premium version lacks things like a plagiarism checker and in-depth writing reports.
However, since it's so easy to use and doesn't require you to sign up, I'd suggest trying it if you're on the fence about which proofreading tool to use. You could find that you like it. If so, you may want to give the inexpensive premium version a try!Want to know more about the best proofreading tools? Check out my article on which proofreading software is best for you, along with individual reviews for the following:
- ProWritingAid (our top recommendation, check this link for 20% off with code KINDLEPRENEUR20)
- Slick Write