Disclosure: WHSR is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.
Grammarly Review: Is It Worth Paying for This Grammar Checker?
Updated: 2022-09-26 / Article by: Timothy Shim
Background: Grammarly offers flexible solutions to find and fix errors in your writing fast. Grammarly Free offers basic writing corrections at $0 cost; Grammarly Premium, which comes with a whole lot more features, is relatively affordable at $12/mo.
In a nutshell, Grammarly is very versatile and can fit a wide range of audiences. Some of the key ones would include business executives, bloggers, students (even up to postgraduate students), young writers, sales staff, and more.
When Grammarly first came across my radar, it was with little else in the way of accompanying information. When I learned what it was meant for, dread crossed my mind as I imagined a draconian schoolmarm-like figure policing my every word.
However, being both a writer and editor I can certainly see the advantage it brings to the table in many cases. While I am not entirely certain that this would fit all my needs, I feel that there is definitely a market for something like this.
Grammarly isn’t just an online tool that allows you to upload a document to be checked. It offers a great deal of flexibility thanks to its ability to integrate with other applications. At the core of Grammarly is the original online version. Here you can upload a document to be checked or simply create one online and have it checked on the fly while you type. In addition to that, there is also Grammarly for Windows, Microsoft Office, and Chrome.
The Windows (or Mac) version is a localized format of Grammarly online. This means that it is essentially the same thing, but downloadable to your desktop. You then run it like any other program on your computer. Essentially, it is like an alternative to MS Word.
Grammarly’s Office plugin lets it work within Microsoft Word and Outlook. I think this is a great move since there are many of us who can’t part with these applications either on a personal basis or for reasons of work.
Finally, you have the Grammarly Chrome extension which lets it work on various sites online. Although such as with Google Docs and other third-party apps.
This is by far one of the widest scopes that a text correction tool has looked towards so far that I have come across. Most will have an app you’re forced to use and will work only in that little restricted space.
2. Autocorrect is Interesting
With most text correction software requiring you to check what they have marked as incorrect, the autocorrect feature on Grammarly is refreshing. It’s like a massively scaled-up version of the mobile text autocorrect.
While this does come with a few bugs (for lack of a better word), it is nonetheless a novel port of a long-time mobile implementation.
3. More Than Just a Grammar Checker
One of the core benefits which I see in Grammarly is that it works not just for spelling, but with many other areas as well. Grammarly assesses your written text based on a few areas – Correctness, Clarity, Engagement, and Delivery.
Correctness & Clarity
Correctness is more on the technical side, meaning that’s Grammarly’s catchall for things like spelling, grammar, and the like. Clarity has more to do with helping you ensure that you don’t fall prey to habits such as assuming your audience knows what you are referring to.
Engagement deals more with user experience. For example, if you were to repeat the use of a word frequently, Grammarly will likely flag that for attention under its Engagement clause. The reason being that to keep your audience engaged, you need to use a variety of words, even if they have similar meanings.
Delivery helps you with polish. This is the differentiating factor between writers and good writers. A good writer knows how to set the right tone in articles by instinct, and Grammarly mimics that in Delivery.
Grammarly for Plagiarism Check
Many of us have been guilty of this before – we copy down chunks of text and then edit it into our own words. However, mistakes have been made in the past and sometimes, we even have no idea how to change the text and end up leaving too much of the original in.
Guarding against plagiarism is one the most important things any writer needs to do – no matter your actual job. What Grammarly does is scan your text against tons of web-based content and lets you know if you’ve been copying too much.
Consider it a built-in safeguard.
4. Customize Your Vocabulary to Fit Your Writing
For those who might need to frequently use non-standard words in their text, Grammarly also gives the option of creating an additional dictionary. Truth be told, this feature is available in many capable word processors like MS Word, so it isn’t something to really shout about.
Still, the feature is there and I can already hear the engineers and programmers among us breathe a sigh of relief.
5. Easy Correction Suggestions
If you might recall, at the beginning of this article I envisioned a language correction service like a stern schoolmarm. Thankfully, Grammarly isn’t like that at all. In fact, I was pretty amazed by the highly simplified suggestions that it made.
For the average user, this would be very easy to follow along with and even understand. This is one of the core reasons why I feel that Grammarly can be good for various applications. If you were a working professional, let’s say, you could use it to improve your writing on the fly by making use of those quickly correctable adjustments.
Personally, I think that the degree of correctness and the simplicity of its explanations makes Grammarly also suitable as a language training tool. Consider this for a student who might perhaps face difficulties in language;
By using Grammarly to type out other assignments (history, literature,etc.), you could at the same time improve your English skills. Of course, it isn’t a perfect solution, but it is an option if other methods have proved less successful.
6. There is a Limited Free Version
Grammarly for Chrome is to an extent, free. This is great for those who are looking for a single extension that can handle basic corrections on a wide range of web-based text editing platforms. Although the free version is very limited, the functionality is still there at zero cost.
This point I have to admit isn’t really a thing about Grammarly itself, but more as a gripe for those who sign up and have to pay for it right now. The beta mode means that there are likely still bugs hovering around the Grammarly Chrome tool.
Honestly, for a plugin like Grammarly to work in an environment as broad as Chrome (you’re essentially looking at compatibility with the entire Internet) isn’t easy. Considering that challenge, Grammarly for Chrome already works pretty well.
During my evaluation of the Chome extension, I noticed three main issues that I wish have already been fixed. The first is that it isn’t WordPress ready yet, meaning that for bloggers, you have to use the native app.
The second is that the Beta seems to have issues working in concert with Google Docs. GDOC has its own spell checker and I find it to clash with Grammarly when making corrections. This isn’t anything serious, but it certainly proved annoying as heck.
Finally, most third-party-based corrections that Grammarly is active on has limited use. It functions in a very basic mode and if you want the full power of Grammarly suggestions, you’ll still have to revert to it in a native setting, such as in the app.
2. Not Suitable for Specialized Writing / Work
When I say specialized work I’m not referring to niche roles such as Engineers or the like, but more in the context of a real editor. There is more to writing and editing that what Grammarly offers at this point in time.
Yes, it is true that on a technical basis, Grammarly can help, especially if a writer is new and inexperienced. However, as you scale up, Grammarly loses out to experience and the ability to help its writers is more limited.
Some ideas of what’s lacking can be the ability to frame subject matters, tack an angle onto a story, and so on. This is by no means a serious negative since it is likely such areas are out of the scope of Grammarly’s developers, but merely an observation of the differences in the role.
3. It Sometimes Misses Corrections
Perhaps my biggest issue with Grammarly is that it can be an inconsistent beat on occasion. Across my tests on the various platforms, I find that form time to time it simply doesn’t work. While these instances are rare from what I’ve seen, the ones it does miss can be whoppers.
If you were to put your faith in a tool like Grammarly, there might be consequences of letting it do its thing without checking. Can you imaging an email sent to your boss on an important project getting filled with mistakes?
How to Use Grammarly?
Grammarly works in two main ways – as an add on or through its native online site. All work in similar ways though:
Create a new document and start adding text
As you go along, Grammarly will underline words or phrases that need correction
Underlines of different colors represent different categories of corrections
Guides to the suggestions made will appear on a menu on the right side of the document
To make corrections, you can hover over the underlined phrase to see what Grammarly wants to change it to.
If you want to accept the change, simply click on it.
How Much is Grammarly?
Grammarly Plans and Pricing
For annual subscriptions, Grammarly is relatively affordable at $12/mo. If you were to sign up for shorter terms, prices are quite a bit higher. I would say that if you were to really use it as a tool, the price is easily justifiable for long-term engagement.
Consider it as a value-add experience that can help you not just in your work, but also on an individual basis for self-development. In that context, the annual subscription doesn’t seem all that pricey, does it?
Number of Licenses
Priority Email Support
$12.50/mo per member
Grammarly Discount (Save 60%)
Grammarly Monthly plan cost $30/month.
You'll save 33% (or $30/mo) if you pay quarterly (billed as one payment of $20/mo); save 60% (or $12/mo) if you pay annually.
Grammarly Free vs Premium: Worth Paying?
Grammarly free offers basic spell checking and some form of policing in areas like clarity, engagement, and delivery. The Premium mode covers that but includes other areas as well.
So… Is Grammarly Right for You?
By now you’re probably come to realize that although Grammarly is pretty feature-packed, it isn’t necessarily the right solution for everyone. If you hardly communicate for work, there really isn’t much point aside from possible self-improvement.
Yet how many of us truly are so isolated that we can’t use something like Grammarly? I would say that this is a strong utility not just for professional working adults, but as mentioned earlier as well, in an educational context.
Who Should Use Grammarly?
As a guide to users who don’t want to spend a lot of time upping their language skills, Grammarly can prove an invaluable asset. Likewise, for those who want to improve their language, Grammarly is straightforward enough not to be obtrusive while giving easy-to-understand instructions.
The above even applies to those who have made writing their career, especially young writers. However, older writers like me tend to be a bit more stubborn, so you might find the changes Grammarly wants to make quite annoying at times.
In a nutshell, Grammarly is very versatile and can fit a wide range of audiences. Some of the key ones would include business executives, bloggers, students (even up to post graduate students), young writers, sales staff, and more.
If Grammarly isn't your cup of tea, there's good news. It isn't alone in this field, and many excellent alternatives are available in the market. Many also follow the same freemium pricing model, so you can test them extensively before signing up for a subscription.
One of the most potent writing support tools available, ProWritingAid is easy to use and highly effective. Where many writing tools aim to “fix” your writing, ProWritingAid comes with an overall concept of improving your writing skills in various ways.
Sure, it comes with the typical checks for spelling and other technical errors. More unique are the writing suggestions it provides along the way. These snippets help even the most brain-blocked writers break barriers, saving time and money.
Like Grammarly, WhiteSmoke is a comprehensive crutch for those who need a little guidance while writing. It features a grammar, style, spelling, and punctuation checker and includes an exciting translator.
The translator essentially helps you convert from English to 55 other languages. The translation feature includes usage examples to choose the correct context to make translations more effective. There's also a built-in dictionary and thesaurus.
PaperRater is the right tool for those who want some basic writing checks with few frills. It comes as a web-only service that plays “teacher” over your grammar and spelling. The system works as you go and includes plagiarism detection to make sure your content is on the up and up.
Aside from those checks, a simple writing suggestions feature also helps you slightly expand your vocabulary. It isn't the best in the world, but it works in a pinch. Honestly, this tool is a byline in simplicity.
Is my writing safe with Grammarly?
Grammarly uses industry-standard encryption, secure infrastructure, and third-party verification to protect users data security and privacy. Grammarly’s SOC 2 (Type 1) report attests to their system and organization controls regarding security, privacy, availability, and confidentiality. The company is a member of Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and complies with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). You can learn more about Grammarly security here.
Is it worth paying for Grammarly Premium?
As a guide to users who don’t want to spend a lot of time upping their language skills, Grammarly can prove an invaluable asset. If you take your writing seriously and wish to develop your language, it is worth paying for Grammarly Premium.
Is Grammarly always right?
Grammarly is a writing tool at best – like all tools, it's not completely accurate. As pointed out in my review, it misses corrections and can be inconsistent sometimes.
Disclosure: WHSR receives referral fees from tools listed on this website. But, the opinions are based on our experience and not how much they pay. We focus on helping small businesses and individuals to build websites as a business. Please support our work and learn more in our earning disclosure.
About Timothy Shim
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.