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Proofreading is an essential part of writing. Spelling mistakes, incorrect use of grammar, and awkward sentences are detrimental to the readability of an article, which may lead to various negative results, such as a lower grade, a paper rejection, or an impression of carelessness.
I must admit that proofreading is a painful task for me – not only because it can be tedious and time-consuming, but also because some errors may remain unnoticed. My blogger friends recommended Grammarly, an automated proofreading tool. I have been using Grammarly for over a year for my scientific articles, blog posts, and other writing. It checks grammar and spelling errors and provides feedback for improving writing.
Grammarly provides free account and premium account. Many basic proofreading features are available for both types of accounts. Some advanced features are only available for premium users.
The figure below shows the features of Grammarly free account vs. premium account.
1. Grammar and spelling checks (free & premium account)
Grammarly corrects over 150 types of grammar and spelling errors. When you log in your Grammarly account, you copy and paste text in Grammarly editor space or upload the document to the editor. The software underlines possible misspelled words and confused words and provides recommended changes on the side comments. You can choose to accept or to ignore a suggested change. See the demo below.
Grammarly also provides a free browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. I have it on my Google Chrome. As I am writing an email or a post on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, Grammarly instantly checks grammar and conducts proofreading.
Users can also download Grammarly and install it to Microsoft Office. Grammarly can check writing errors in Microsoft Word and Outlook.
Grammarly allows users to add words to their personal dictionary, so those words will not be flagged as misspellings. Users can also indicate whether they are using American English or British English in their Profile.
2. Additional advanced grammar and spelling checks (premium account only)
The premium account provides over 100 advanced checks for grammar, spelling, and punctuations. In addition to the basic grammar and spelling checks, Grammarly premium version serves as a critical reviewer of your work and spots more possible errors for you to consider correcting.
3. Vocabulary enhancement suggestions (premium account only)
This premium feature is intended to improve the quality of writing by providing recommendations on the use of words and sentence structures. For example, it notices that certain words have been overused and offers possible alternatives.
4. Genre-specific writing style checks (premium account only)
The premium feature is designed to ensure your document is proofread based on the appropriate writing style. By default, the writing style is set as general. You can customize it to academic, business, technical, medical, creative, and casual. Within each category, there are subcategories to further specify the writing style.
While most grammar and spelling checks remain the same for all genres, Grammarly offers suggestions on certain grammar issues according to selected styles. For example, When I set style as technical, it made a comment on the use of subjunctive mood in a sentence: “The subjunctive mood is rarely appropriate for technical or medical writing. Consider rewriting the sentence.” When the style was set as general, Grammarly did not make such a suggestion.
5. Plagiarism checker (premium account only)
Grammarly premium account checks your documents for plagiarism against over 8 billion web pages. Please note that it only checks against the publicly accessible websites. When I copied and pasted a paragraph from my article in an open-access journal, Grammarly flagged my text as 100% unoriginal and provided the source of the content. However, when I did the same to a paragraph from my article in a journal that requires a subscription, Grammarly could not detect the plagiarism issue.
Grammarly provides other free resources for improving writing. Grammarly Handbook provides guidance and tips on grammar, punctuation, mechanics, sentence style and sentence clarity, and many other areas of writing. Grammarly Answer is an online community for writers to help each other in English writing. Grammarly blog provides daily thoughts and insights on writing and grammar.
Don’t let grammar and spelling errors be your writing roadblocks. Use Grammarly to correct those mistakes and improve writing. You can start with a free account and use the basic functions. To get optimal results, you need a premium account for more advanced features. Grammarly offers 7-day money-back guarantee if you are dissatisfied with your first subscription for any reason.