When I was contacted by Grammarly, I have to admit I was skeptical that I would really find the website that impressive. I was wrong. This is a great tool that could definitely be of use for homeschoolers, parents and teachers.
Disclosure: I received a 30 day trial to Grammarly and financial compensation in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and text are my own except for the parts directly quoted from the Grammarly homepage.
What is Grammarly?
Grammarly describes itself as an automated proofreader and personal grammar coach on its website. It explains that it will:
- Instantly find and correct over 250 types of grammatical mistakes
- Improve word choice with context-optimized vocabulary suggestions
- Avoid plagiarism by checking your texts against over 8 billion web pages
So I gave it a try to see what it would do!
How does Grammarly work?
I started out by copying and pasting into the Grammarly window some raw copy I edited for a client last year. First I clicked on the plagiarism checker. Within about six seconds it had scoured the web and I had my answer. Grammarly had found the final edited copy on the client’s website, highlighted what was “plagiarized,” and offered suggestions for how to correctly cite the material in a paper (with your choice of MLA, APA and Chicago!).
Then I clicked the “Start Review” button. Grammarly offers several different settings such as General (Default), Business, Academic, Technical, Creative and Casual. Depending on your copy, you can choose the type of review you need. I went with General.
Within less than five seconds I discovered that it had eleven potential errors in areas such as incorrect use of prepositions, verb agreement, use of adjectives and adverbs, passive voice use, and writing style. Each error was highlighted and a small box popped up that explained why it was potentially wrong. Some of the explanations offered both a short version and a longer version, both of which were quite educational. Each version is like a mini-English lesson with examples of incorrect and correct usage.
There is an option to Save/Print Report. When I used it, it created a document with an overall summary as well as my content marked up and all of the problems highlighted and annotated.
What does Grammarly not do?
Grammarly will not make you a better writer from the perspective of learning the craft of writing. It will definitely help someone write a better paper in terms of grammar, word choice, etc. But it will not necessarily help someone craft a better paper. For the technical aspects, it is a super tool. But for developing your craft as a writer, it will not do much for you there as that is not what it is designed to do.
Who would benefit from Grammarly?
Since Caroline is only seven, she’s not in need of Grammarly yet. But thinking ahead a few years, I can see how this would be a fantastic tool for students who are self-learners and students who don’t like being critiqued. There is something much less threatening when a computer program pops up with a suggestion for improving something and offers an explanation of why. So I’m thinking all our wonderful right-brained learners would really like having an option like Grammarly to use. (And their parents will appareciate it, too!) It’s like having an English course at your disposal any time you are completing a writing project.
I think Grammarly would also be helpful for parents who are unsure of their own grammar and writing skills. Writing is not the favorite activity of many adults. If a parent has a child who is advancing in writing beyond their own skill level, a tool like Grammarly could be helpful for the parents who feel insecure helping their child in this area.
What does Grammarly cost?
Grammarly offers three different ways to subscribe. The monthly rate is $29.95. The quarterly rate is $59.95 ($19.98/month). The annual rate is $139.95 ($11.66/month). The annual rate sounds like a pretty good deal, especially if you have a few children in your home who would be using it. For less than $3.00 a week you get a handy program that is accessible for students and could be a positive step in the parent/child relationship if editing and proofreading causes friction in your home. LOL!