Secret Weapons for Kick-ass Writing #1: Grammarly
Not to brag, but I’ve always been a decent writer. One reason is that I read a lot. I’ve been reading as far back as I can remember, staying up way later than I should to finish a book. Being an avid reader means you get familiar with language and how words fit together, even if you’ve never studied grammar. That familiarity crosses over into your speech patterns and your writing.
As a writer, my kryptonite is comma usage. When in doubt, I add a comma, with the result that my work often ends up littered with unnecessary commas. Maybe an over-abundance of commas isn’t the end of the world, but when I started writing professionally, I wanted to make sure the writing I put out into the world would always be top notch.
What is Grammarly?
That’s where Grammarly comes in. The Grammarly app exists to make your writing better. There are free and premium versions available on the web, as a desktop app, and as a mobile keyboard. There’s also a browser extension so that Grammarly can support your writing on social media platforms, email clients, and online services like Google Docs. You can try out the premium version for a month for $29.95, or get some savings with a quarterly subscription at $59.95 or an annual subscription for $139.95.
What does Grammarly do?
The free version of Grammarly checks for critical spelling and grammar mistakes. It’s great if you want to make sure you don’t send an email, text, or social media post with glaring errors. The free tool gives you peace of mind that your writing won’t have common typos or incorrect punctuation.
I started with the free version, but I upgraded when I had a client who was very concerned about accidental plagiarism. Grammarly’s premium version has a plagiarism checker. In addition to the critical spelling and grammar checker, the premium version also offers feedback on:
Advanced punctuation and grammar mistakes
Genre and writing style
Why I love Grammarly
Aside from the real-time writing feedback, my favorite Grammarly feature is the weekly Writing Insights email I get. The message breaks down my writing statistics, displaying the number of weeks in my writing streak, how many words I’ve written, and what my most common mistakes were. It even compares my data to the rest of Grammarly users so I can see how I compare.
Give Grammarly a chance
I use Grammarly every day. The app’s seamless integration with my computer, web browser and mobile phone means I don’t even have to think about it. When I make a mistake, Grammarly highlights it with a red or yellow underline and tells me how to fix it. If you write professionally, I recommend the premium version so you can benefit from the more advanced and specific feedback. Of course, the free version is excellent for everyday use.
Grammarly did not ask for or pay me for this review. I wrote this all on my own because using the Grammarly app has shown me the areas where my writing is the weakest — it’s more than just commas — and it shows me concrete ways to improve as a writer.
Have you used Grammarly? What did you think of it?
Are there other writing tools in your secret weapons arsenal? Tell me about them in the comments.