Grammarly – a practical option for 1st draft self-edits
The newest addition to my Writers Toolkit
I recently started using the FREE version of Grammarly on a daily basis. About a month ago, I added the Google Chrome extension (which is free) and all of my online content was utilising the spelling and grammar checker as I worked. I didn’t realise how many errors I was missing in almost all of my daily communications and notes until it was there in front of me.
Share this Post
I use Word for my day job and love the Microsoft Office options in Grammarly. As a financial software consultant, I’m constantly writing documents and always run Grammarly over them now to ensure my grammar and my spelling is the best it can be.
Enjoying the FREE features I started to research what the Premium version could do for me. Apparently loads more corrections, but the outlay seemed a bit pricey at US$29.99 per month. So I put it out of my mind and continued with the free version.
Apart from writing for TechTools4Authors and my day job, I’m also in the process of writing a Paranormal Romance. Fiction writing has been my hobby for many, many years, and this year I’m making time for myself to write and publish my work. No more excuses – I’m going to do this!
Naturally, I want it to be the best it can be, so I started re-looking at Grammarly in a different way. If I was to pay an editor and/or proofreader for my 1st draft would I get my monies worth? Or would I be paying for them to correct basic errors? I had the feeling my newbie writing career would be the latter.
As I’m sure happens to all writers there comes a point where you have been writing too long and the words blend together. As I re-read my work I find I start to skip words because I know what I was planning to say, which may or may not be what I actually typed.
So, I figured I would put Grammarly to the test and see if it was worth the investment. [For full disclosure here, I am now an affiliate for Grammarly and if you click through any of the Grammarly links from TechTools4Authors.com and make a purchase I will receive a small commission for the referral].
Read on and you will see why I am now Grammarly Premium user and loving it.
Grammarly v’s Word – My Process
I downloaded the desktop version and imported my novel. Now to be clear I write in Scrivener and I compiled my current WIP into a word document so I could import it into Grammarly.
It all started OK until it wouldn’t import. Currently, Grammarly will only import your file IF it meets the following criteria,
1. No more than 60 pages
2. And no more than 100,000 characters (not words, characters).
My novel of 28,896 words, had over 150,000 characters (including spaces). So to push it through I had to split it up. Not great, but I wanted to continue the test.
So now it has imported and instantly I get a great looking screen with stats down the right-hand side.
Using Grammarly Premium – Spell and Grammar Checker
For me, Grammarly looks and feels way easier than Word. It has a nice flow to it and I can jump around the types of spelling and grammar I want to tackle.
The addition of providing the reasons for their suggestions I found to be a great learning tool. In fact, I didn’t believe a suggestion about hyphens, so I researched it and found Grammarly was correct and I was not – shocking! Every day’s a school day!
Then I opened my word document and chose the Spelling and Grammar check. It doesn’t give you the same easy to read screen or stats, but I did notice that it jumped down the page to the 1st spelling mistake and missed the grammar warnings that Grammarly picked up.
Already I’m over Word, and really like the look of Grammarly.
I can easily jump around Grammarly and pick and choose the items I want to check and correct. It’s quick, easy, and provides reasons why it thinks I should change a word or phrase. Now I thought I knew how to write, but I’m finding there are some rules I am learning as I go. Like when to put in a hyphen.
Using Word to Spell and Grammar Check
This has been the traditional way of spell checking and sometimes grammar checking (only because I don’t consider turning on this feature in word). It’s just not as easy to read as Grammarly. I found because I need to just go through my file line by line it seemed a lot slower than using Grammary.
I also noticed in the bottom right side of my stats there was a Plagiarism option.
Now I write my own work, but I was pressing all the buttons to see what they do, so I pressed it and this is what I found.
Grammarly thought for about 1 minute and then came back with “… 38% of your text matches 38 fragments from 37 sources on the web or in academic databases”.
I was shocked, this is all from my own imagination. Then I took a breath and read through them.
They do say there are no original ideas anymore, just original ways to say them. Seems I have a few cliche lines in my story that I’ll spend a little time re-thinking the way I express my story.
As I read through some of the examples Grammarly picked up I image reading them as if I’m in a soap opera. They are a tad cliche. So this feature was worth it if only to highlight I need to up my game.
I’ve added a few screenshots below so you can better understand what I mean.
Drilling into a few Examples of my Plagiarism
A reference to Obi Wan and the Duchess – Chapter One
A reference to Melania Trump on Twitter
A reference to The Importance of Money?
After examining each of the 38 items I felt a lot better and I was not plagiarising anyone.
You’ve Decided You Need Grammarly In Your Life – Great!
Grammarly offers FREE browser extensions so it will check your writing anywhere you write on the web (LinkedIn, Twitter, Gmail, WordPress Blog Posts etc). Try it out and see if you like it. Once you are sold on the awesome and super easy to use features consider going premium and making your 1st draft the best it can be before you invest the next stage with a professional (proofreader, editor and/or beta readers).
So what do you think?
I’d love to know if you use Grammarly or another form of Spelling/Grammar checking and how you use it, Plus what your thoughts on it are.