I’ll admit that when I initially used the internet writing tool Grammarly, I was mostly concerned in finding its flaws. I was surprised by the app’s strengths, but unsurprised (and hopefully not too arrogant) about its weaknesses.
It happened in 2016. Since then, Grammarly has developed and evolved, adding additional tools that let you select the kind of paper you’re producing and the audience who will be reading it.
All authors, from non-native speakers to busy professionals, can use Grammarly as a writing tool. It enables you to catch typos, mistakes, and bad word choice early. Even seasoned writers may discover that running their writing through Grammarly for a brief period of time prompts them to at least reconsider a few words and phrases they may have missed.
Grammarly examines writing and offers editing suggestions. Grammarly is much more than just a grammar checker, despite its name. It searches for terms that are overused by non-native speakers, jargon, homonyms, hackneyed phrases, and repetitious words.
Grammarly makes you stop and think about your word choices even if you reject its suggestions.
Grammarly can be used in two different ways. Installing an extension in Google Chrome and other programs will allow Grammarly to check your writing as you type, but it’s not the method I prefer.
This approach doesn’t appeal to me because the instant response is annoying and I worry about my privacy if a plug-in is constantly reading what I write.
The second alternative, which I personally prefer, is to write your document in whatever word processor or writing program you regularly use before pasting it into the Grammarly app. You have the option of using a desktop app or a web app.
This approach is effective for documents, but it is less practical for emails and other forms of routine business communication where copying and pasting would take time.
When Grammarly works optimally, it recognizes ambiguous terms like “excellent” and suggests you replace them with more precise ones.
It detects errors and suggests edits, which you may accept with a single click. It highlights your most frequently used terms and suggests synonyms. Grammarly makes you pause and reevaluate your word choices even if you reject its suggestions, which is helpful in and of itself.
A professionally written article was entered into the Grammarly program, however Grammarly provided inadequate advice for how to make the writing better.
At its worst, Grammarly suggests terms that alter the meaning of your sentences or lessen the impact of purposely repeated words or phrases.
The Grammarly suggestion that I make a change that would have produced an error was the biggest letdown for me because it couldn’t figure out that the word “although” has more than one meaning.
It can also be as picky about comma usage as an eighth-grader in an advanced composition class. If only someone would point up to Grammarly that the majority of commas are optional.
Was my confidence in my writing growing too much? Should I have been embracing Grammarly’s recommendations more frequently? Nothing improved as a result of my self-doubt.
I copied and pasted a creative nonfiction essay from The Paris Review into Grammarly out of curiosity and to check my sanity. This article received a lot of attention and appreciation when it was first published. What would Grammarly think of it?
Grammarly is more effective at spotting silly errors than improving things.
I had some objectives for the essay, which I described as casual and aimed at a broad audience. The critique of this expert’s work was repetitive.
Grammarly suggested changing the term “character” to “style” even though the author in this case was referring to a fictional figure. To remove all of its power as a command, the program intended “Tell me I look nice” to become “Tell me, I look nice.” Can we perhaps have a couple more commas? Grammarly certainly believed so.
In other words, you need to be certain about the Grammarly suggestions you reject. Instead of making things sparkle, it is better at catching silly errors.
I contacted Mariana Romanyshyn, a computational linguist who works at Grammarly, when I first learnt about the service. In our 2016 video conference, we discussed Grammarly’s efforts to improve computer systems’ ability to understand English and how difficult it is for computers to do so.
She declared, “Language is quite vague. “A machine may not always be able to determine even what section of speech a word belongs to.” Due to restrictions with part-of-speech taggers, she claimed Grammarly occasionally overlooks mistakes and provides wrong suggestions. “Computers have a tremendously hard time resolving this ambiguity.”
I requested some examples from her. “The old man and the boat is a timeless linguistic expression. The verb is the word “man.”” It means, “Those who are old are the ones who man the boat,” in other words.
Romanyshyn asserted, “An artificial language processing system would never be able to discover that.” Machines will always think of “man” in this situation as a noun. Linguists are familiar with another phrase that always manages to fool computers: “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.” The sentence is grammatically sound. Before reading about how to interpret it, ponder it for a bit (Opens in a new window).
In terms of privacy, Grammarly may theoretically view everything you input because of how it operates. Ben Moore, who reviewed Grammarly for PCMag, goes into great length about this subject.
I’ve since used the app for a few writing tasks where an editor asked me to submit a Grammarly report along with my draft. Another writing team I worked with strongly encouraged all of its writers to utilize the program to identify and fix the types of writing errors that irritated one grumpy editor.
Grammarly conducts the tedious task of identifying and drawing my attention to mistakes, typos, and pointless repetition while I’m under pressure and have only produced the first draft. It’s a practical productivity tip. However, as I have stated, the suggestions are only helpful if I can safely disregard the unhelpful ones.
Additionally, Grammarly is not inexpensive. The free version has restrictions, and premium plans are available for $30 per month, $60 per three months, or $144 annually. However, it can be money well spent if you’re under pressure to complete a crucial piece of writing that could be improved.
Many people, often in situations with a lot on the line, need assistance with their writing. One chance to make a good first impression is given to job hopefuls writing cover letters.
Poor writing may make the difference between passing and failing for students. And business executives may always use assistance when putting together presentations that will make or break their quarter.
Practically everyone has a stake in writing as simply and effectively as possible, and Grammarly may assist if you are knowledgeable enough to accept its best advice and ignore its worst.