Here’s another installment in my “Best Thing Since Sliced Bread” series: an app called Grammarly. It’s awesome. Why? Because it makes me look smarter and more accurate than I really am. Gotta love that, right?

Plus, Grammarly pats me on the head occasionally, and at my age, a pat on the head doesn’t occur very often. Remember that feeling back in first grade when your teacher put a gold star on your paper? Or wrote “good job!” in red pencil at the top of the page? Yep, Grammarly will do something very similar for you.

How Does Grammarly Work?

Here’s what Grammarly does: It takes what Word does (highlights your spelling and grammatical errors) and then it goes and eats a can of Popeye’s spinach, or takes some steroids, or sprinkles some magic dust, or something, and it does Word one better. Way better. Like off the charts better.

First, it highlights errors, just as Word does, but when you hover over the mistake, a popup will appear right where you are with a suggested correction. You don’t have to type in the new spelling or move over to a separate area on the screen to choose a correction. Want the correction? Just click it right there and voila; it’s done.

Second, I swear Grammarly finds more esoteric grammatical mistakes than Word does. I don’t have proof of that, but it seems true to me.

Third, Grammarly finds far more than just misspellings and problems with grammar. It also finds punctuation errors, including things like missing commas, too many commas (my constant problem), extra spaces, and, often, words that are spelled correctly but aren’t right for the sentence, such as “here” instead of “hear.”

Third, Grammarly will work online! Let’s say you have a blog. When you’ve installed Grammarly in your browser, it will check your posts and pages for all the problems described above: spelling, grammar, punctuation, spacing, and context. Like I said, awesome.

What About Grammarly’s Pat on the Head?

Ah, yes. I was getting to that.

When you sign up for Grammarly, you will start getting a weekly email from the service telling you how hard you worked, how well you did, and how productive you were compared to others. I mean, talk about a motivator; if you were one of those kids who lusted after those gold stars and “good job!” notes in grade school, this kind of weekly email will bring those old thrills back. Not sure whether I’m proud or ashamed to admit this, but I was one of those kids, and I’ve gotten some nice warm fuzzies lately from Grammarly. Here’s my last email from them:

grammarly report


Don’t be freaked out about the numbers in my report, by the way. I’m a writer by trade, and currently I’m ghostwriting a nonfiction book for an attorney, ghostwriting two weekly blogs for clients, and last week I was furiously writing some new content for my Women At Woodstock website . On top of that, I’m working on my first novel. So, uh, I might be overdoing it a little lately. And to be honest, I think that I might have unintentionally gamed the Grammarly system, meaning that when I opened my 67,000-word novel to work on it, maybe the full word count got dumped into Grammarly’s tally system. But whatever! I certainly do like the nice things that Grammarly is telling me. My head has been nicely patted, and I’m pushing myself to extend my writing streak to 13 weeks!

What About the Cost of Grammarly? Or Other Downsides Like Annoying Ads?

Grammarly offers a free version and a premium version. I use the free Grammarly, as I consider the premium version pretty pricey at $29.95 per month or $139.95 for an annual plan. As for annoying features on the free version, no, I do not get pop-up or sidebar ads when I use the service. It’s nice and clean. The only advertising I see is in the form of this notice at the end of each weekly email; an obvious marketing effort to get me to sign up for the paid service.

grammarly report

Yow, that sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it? Advanced mistakes; 1,593 of them? Well, so be it. I’m all about “good enough” these days. If you can read and understand this article, which was vetted by the free version of Grammarly, I’m satisfied.

How to Get Grammarly?

Simply go to the Grammarly website and click on the button to open up a new account. Then download the apps that you want for Office and for online usage.

Good luck, and happy (accurate, correctly spelled, properly punctuated) writing!

What’s the most embarrassing grammatical mistake you’ve made – and sent – in an email?

Do you find that you’re making more typos these days than you used to? I certainly am!

(This article originally appeared in a modified version on Sixty and Me.)

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