Grammarly is a product that I had briefly mentioned in my last blog post. While I had cited it in the grammar tools section of that column, it's mention was quite limited. With such shorthanded information given the products usefulness, a Grammarly review seemed in order considering it's featureset and the benefit it provides to bloggers... particularly to those that struggle with how they write. That may as well be all of us to some degree as we all experience good days and bad days in our efforts to write. Nevertheless, what cannot be ignored is the reality that speech, whether it is spoken or written is how we connect with others and as a blogger that is paramount. If there is a tool out there that can improve how we achieve this, without question there's always going to be some level of curiosity and interest.
I would also like to preface as I have before that I do not promote products just for the sake of random promotion. I promote products that I believe will add value to my readership.. such is the case with Grammarly. In full disclosure, Grammarly did provide me with full access to their product in order to be able to explore what their product is capable of in exchange for a review. After logging into the system and accessing my dashboard and exploring the product, I decided to proceed with completing a review of Grammarly.
Aside from the salespitch that Grammarly is the best grammar checker out there on the market today, you will have to decide whether this product is the best solution for you as this is not a free service or product. I do believe that you are more prone to find higher quality in online and web based products and services that are paid as opposed to free. Surely, there are those that may disagree, but I'm simply sharing my own opinion on the subject of free vs paid products.
Upon logging in to Grammarly, as with most portals online, you will need to enter your email address and password that is unique to your account.
My Grammarly Dashboard
After you're logged into the system you will be greeted with your "My Grammarly" screen. Additional options will follow that will give you further access into the products features. Among other options that you will find inside are your profile. In the profile section, it's a pretty simple and concise page that lists your name, email address and password. You have the option to change your password there if that's something you want to do. In navigating back to the main dashboard there's the option to logout, download the "add-in" for Microsoft Office and get Grammarly support. I did not test the add-in feature, but I do think it's pretty nifty that you can connect your Grammarly to your Microsoft Office Suite software.
I did try the search function and from what I think I can fairly assume is that once you've got some documents loaded into the system, the search function is used to search within the content of what you have uploaded. Typing in random search terms without anything uploaded did not yield any results.
Additionally, from the dashboard, you get previews of the documents that you load into the system. The system will also show you how many issues exist with each document that you have put through Grammarly. It kind of reminds of a document at a glance type of feature. You see the number of alerts, there's an option to download the original version or to delete the document too. You also have the ability to just click the "new" or "upload" button to add a new document to your Grammarly interface.
To view more of the Grammarly interface, clicking on the demo document gives you access to additional options that you will not see on the opening dashboard.
To explain each feature, I've elaborated briefly about each below:
- Clicking the house at the top will take you back to "My Grammarly".
- Clicking the folded paper allows you to start a new document, paste text in or upload a document for Grammarly.
- The down arrow icon allows you to copy or download a document.
- The pen icon (image below the bulletpoints) gives you information about the document type that you're working on. It will display the number of errors that you have in the document. However this feature will also let you specify what type of document you've uploaded into the system too so that it adjusts it's standards for corrections to align as closely as it can to the document type you've uploaded. For example, if you've uploaded a business paper, you wouldn't want it set to analyze using the casual document type standard.
- The magnifying glass icon (image below the bulletpoints) is the plagiarism checker. It will check your document against billions of other web pages to make sure that there isn't any part of your document that has been plagiarized. It will tell you if there's unoriginal text in your document and show it's (magnifying glass icon) next to the feedback.
- The book icon (image below the bulletpoints) is the vocabulary enhancement feature. It will look for words and provide feedback that will help you to diversify what you've written. If a word is too vague, it will provide that feedback and then you'll have to decide what to replace that word or phrase with.
- The wand icon (image below the bulletpoints) is the professional proofreading service. Enabling this feature means that you are electing to send your document to a proofreader that will look over your document and provide feedback to you in regards to the content that you have submitted. There is a cost associated with this service. The rates are reasonable. The rates vary depending on how quickly you need the document returned to you. Rates are as low as $.02 per word.
- The question mark at the bottom of the panel allows you to access their support services system whereby you can view what is already in the knowledgebase or submit a ticket for all other issues. Using the question mark icon also gives you access to their tutorial.
Grammarly Tutorial And Quick Tour
In the tutorial section, I found this to be informative, especially for those that aren't as curious about exploring and just want the nitty gritty breakdown of what the features are all about.
As you can see.. in the tutorial section, in the left pane in green.. there are 9 areas that are explained. I've shown 3 of those areas: New Document, Specialty Documents and Professional Proofreading to illustrate how Grammarly elaborates on each section to help the user understand the functions for each area.
Alternatively, you can also view the Grammarly quick tour as well. What I found was that after you clicked away from the quick tour, there was no way to get back to it that I could find and more importantly, you only have access to the tour the "first time" you log into the system.
If you view the quick tour, I wouldn't engage in "any" other activities until the quick tour has concluded. If the quick tour doesn't matter to you then I would move on to the Grammarly interface and start with the demo document or upload your own into Grammarly.
Grammarly Feedback And Score
The demo document shows you what a document would look like with errors, feedback and a document score as depicted below.
As you can see, as depicted in the photo and it may be hard to see even if you click on the photo to see the larger size of the image, that Grammarly has underlined text in green and provided feedback to the right of the document with the correction. For instance, in the first sentence, "For years" by itself is wrong and should have a comma after "years". The same correction is made at the end of the sentence "lot of mileage" and the correction shown is "lot of mileage," with the comma at the end of mileage. With all the options on except for the professional proofreading, Grammarly has found 27 errors and says that the document is 95% unoriginal.
The document has earned a score of 66. I'm sure the big question is what does the score mean ? The score is based on a 100 point system. A score of 66 isn't great, but it's not terrible either.
Grammarly provides feedback after you have clicked on the score to show you what happened and how that score was derived. You can also download a detailed report that will show up as a "report.pdf" file.
The more detailed report provides feedback in the areas of:
- Contextual Spelling
- Sentence Structure
- Vocabulary Enhancement
- And your document with complete feedback details throughout the body of your content.
The notable difference that I noticed was that you get more information regarding your document when you download the detailed report, which that's what you would hope you'd get anyway so it's to your benefit to download the detailed report after you've clicked on your score.
Grammarly, in my opinion is helpful whether you're a novice, intermediate blogger or for the blogging professional. Editing before publication is an absolute if you're a writer even if you're not doing it professionally. Grammarly is helpful in that respect and having additional eyes on the literature, posts or columns that you're producing can only elevate what you're writing performance. I did not find myself disappointed with Grammarly and certainly feel that it is worthwhile to anyone who may elect to utilize the no commitment 7 day trial that is currently being offered by Grammarly.
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