Grammarly – A Review
Grammarly is a site that lets you upload sections of your writing to have them checked for grammar, punctuation, style, etc.
How Does It Work?
Grammarly is very easy to use. Simply copy the text you’d like to analyze and paste it into the window. Select the type of writing that most closely matches your text, and click Start Review.
After you run the grammar check, the site categorizes all of the grammatical errors and tells you how many instances of each type were found.
You can click on specific categories or go through the entire list suggestion by suggestion. For each error, the site shows you the related grammatical rule and explains any exceptions to the rule. You can choose either the Long or Short Explanation.
Finally, Grammarly makes suggestions on how you can fix any of the errors that it identified.
(The site also offers a plagiarism checker. This checker [which can be turned on or off for each text review] not only identifies plagiarism, but also offers corrections for it. The checker can also generate references in three formats, which, if you need to create citations, could be a godsend!)
How Well Does It Work?
While there are a number of grammar checking software and sites available, Grammarly is the most thorough site I’ve seen. It not only covers the basics (spelling, tense, etc.) but also looks at dangling modifiers, faulty parallelism, run-on sentences, comma splices… you name it, Grammarly probably checks it!
Since I’m a grammar geek, I loved the full explanations for all of the suggestions. I truly want to understand why what I’ve written is grammatically incorrect and what I can do about it. If you’re not into that kind of thing, you can select the short explanation and just get the gist.
I also liked that it’s a website, not a space-sucking software download. And it’s very easy to use. If you can copy and paste, you can use this site!
While Grammarly allows you to select the type of writing that will be analyzed, there is no setting for creative writing. Since creative writing tends to bend grammar rules more often than professional or academic writing, Grammarly can be overly stringent with its findings when you review a piece of fiction. I found the “Blog or News Post” setting to be the most informal, and, therefore, helpful way to review fiction. But you’ll still probably want to ignore some of the suggestions.
Grammarly Subscription plans range from $19.95/month to $7.95/month, depending on the length of your subscription. You can sign up for a free seven-day trial anytime. I highly recommend the free trial. The best way to truly determine how useful the site will be for you is to upload part of your WIP. Then see what the site can do with your specific writing. Grammarly is a great way to do a final polish on your work before putting it in front of an agent, editor or reader.
(Disclaimer: The How to Write Shop was given a free membership in order to assess this tool for review purposes. The three memberships are also being provided by Grammarly.)