For the past few weeks, I’ve been using a free web browser extension called Grammarly to double check my writing for grammar errors.
If there’s anything I hate more than grammar errors, it’s grammar errors that I make.
Yes, I make them. We all make them.
I don’t claim to be perfect: but I do claim to care about being as correct as I can be, and that seems to be an important difference: there are people out there who have no real desire to use grammar or vocabulary or punctuation the right way; if they think they’re understood, that’s all that seems to matter.
I had heard of Grammarly for some time but never tried it because I assumed it was a paid-only service.
It turns out, there is a free plan available. So I recently added the Grammarly Chrome extension. As I type, a little green disk spins in the lower right of the window (including the window in which I’m typing this post) and it turns red when it finds something it thinks just might be incorrect.
Sometimes, it’s not always correct with its suggestions. In the last paragraph, for example, it flagged “a little green disk spins,” thinking that the article a was an improper match to the word spins. It would have been right in that assessment, of course, had spins been used as a noun. But disk was the noun and spin was the verb, so the a correctly modified disk.
Still, there are things it does catch. From time to time, it tells me I don’t actually need a comma where I’ve chosen to place one. Once in a while, it tells me I should have a comma where I didn’t place one.
It also emails me weekly evaluations of my writing. My latest reveals these notes:
- Grammarly checked 27,378 words I’d written, adding that this makes me “more active” than 98% of Grammarly users.
- It found 87 mistakes, but that apparently made me “more accurate (mistakes/words)” than 91% of Grammarly users.
- And it counted 1,874 unique words in my writing, adding that my vocabulary was “more dynamic” (unique/total words) than 98% of Grammarly users.
I’m not sure whether I should be flattered or feel bad for the rest of the writing world. Still, we all want to know where we stand, don’t we?
All in all, I think it’s a good plugin.
Of course, Grammarly wants you to upgrade to its premium version, which promises to run your writing many more tests to find mistakes the free version might not be programmed to identify. Though the premium price isn’t that expensive by itself — about $12 a month when you prepay for a year.
That’s not a lot.
But it’s just another service with its hand out, wanting that monthly payment. It’s easy to go broke with all of the blogging services and plugins out there that want you to pay.
I might upgrade at some point if I can find something else I’m paying for that I can convince myself I can live without.
But in the meantime, the free version is serving me quite well, and I’d highly recommend you consider it if grammar is something you care about. (And if you’ve read this far, I have to assume it is.)