Updated April 13 2022
Is Grammarly Premium worth it? I’m an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author and an Award-Winning Blogger. I’ve used both the limited free version of Grammarly and the paid Premium version. It’s possibly the greatest tool in my writing arsenal.
No matter how much experience they have, professional writers still need spelling and grammar checkers. And Grammarly is currently hitting the charts as the best online writing assistant.
But is it for you?
Read my review before downloading the online tool and springing for the Premium version. You’ll learn about the features, pricing options, and for whom Grammarly is for.
What is Grammarly?
Grammarly is the most famous spelling and grammar checker online. Over 10 million users have it, from students to professional writers, helping them find and fix any writing mistakes.
The writing assistant works by checking a piece of text you uploaded or pasted for any errors. The program has different versions which may provide basic to comprehensive grammar checks.
The free version of Grammarly offers grammar, punctuation, and spell checking. The premium version can correct your tone, clarity, conciseness, and other writing practices. It also has a built-in plagiarism checker! It’ll scan the entire internet for published material to ensure your work is 100% original.
How Grammarly Improves Your Writing
Grammarly is not just a genie in a bottle that corrects all writing mistakes on a piece of text. The application also helps you learn because of the comprehensive explanations.
Offers Weekly Stats
You can keep track of your writing process and create goals through weekly emails from Grammarly. The program sends you your vocabulary mastery and productivity levels. You’ll also receive your weekly writing streak.
This is for both the Premium and Business level, and the feature can be turned off if you don’t wish to receive the notifications.
The mastery percentage of this writing software refers to your weekly accuracy compared to other Grammarly users. And your productivity percentage is the number of words you typed compared to others. You can also learn how unique your words are in comparison to others.
Improves Confidence Levels
Aside from the advanced writing suggestions, the digital writing tool also pinpoints weak or unnecessary words and phrases for a better quality of writing. Removing phrases like “I think” and “I feel” makes you sound more confident.
Provides Detailed Explanations
Grammarly doesn’t stop at asking you to change a word or sentence. It also gives a reason why you should. Here’s an example.
Original text: There are many ways to use your nice fabric without sewing.
Suggested sentence: There are many ways to use your lovely fabric without sewing.
You might wonder why Grammarly wants to replace the original content when it’s grammatically correct. The app explains, “The word ‘nice’ is often overused. Consider using a more exact synonym to improve the sharpness of your writing.”
The application explains when your sentence structure is unclear or hard to follow. They may ask you to remove some words or interchange clauses. The program also detects wordy sentences and asks you to revise them.
Checks Punctuations, Grammar, and Spelling
The program is most famous for its grammar suggestions, advanced spelling, and correcting punctuation mistakes. But one feature worth mentioning is its ability to cater to different English spellings.
The kind of English language you use depends on your ideal audience. It caters to American English, British English, Canadian English, and Australian English.
When Grammarly asks you to add a comma, it tells you why through a simple explanation. Sometimes, it even gives many choices, allowing you to pick which one is better.
It’s for Everyone
Grammarly is helpful for English speakers and those who are still learning to write in the language. If that’s you, then you surely need Grammarly:
- Professional writers.
- Freelance writers.
- Academic writers.
- Content creators.
- Content publishers.
- Blog writer.
- Small business owners
- Anyone who writes in the English language.
What Features Does Grammarly Offer?
These are some of the top six features of Grammarly.
1. Writing Goals
Before running your work on the program, you can set your writing goal based on the following:
- Intent, e.g., to inform, describe, or tell a story.
- Style, e.g., informal or formal.
- Domain, e.g., business, academic, or technical.
- Emotion, e.g., mild or strong.
- Audience, e.g., general or expert.
These parameters help you decide on your writing style. It also allows you to consider your tone in your text.
You can see here in this image that I’ve set my goals to be more tailored to Fiction writing. I do this when working within a manuscript for one of my Fantasy novels. “Knowledgeable, Informal, and Creative.” By selecting these, the program then adjusts itself to give me suggestions that are best for Fiction.
When I switch to my content writing work, I usually tweak these to be “General and Casual” or “Knowledgeable, Formal, and Academic”. It’s up to you to decide which options work for your project at hand.
2. Grammar and Punctuation Check
No matter how much you re-read your text, it can spot punctuation and grammar mistakes that you can’t. The inbuilt grammar checking tool can detect the following errors:
- Punctuation errors.
- Run-on sentences.
- Passive voice errors.
- Poor sentence structures.
- Wordy sentences.
- Dangling and squinting modifiers.
- Monotonous paragraphs.
I find this extremely useful when working on a manuscript document. When my Fiction Author hat is on, I like having a tool that catches any instances where I’ve forgotten a dialogue tag or misused a comma.
It really helps with narrative, too. Sometimes, us writers can get carried away with internal thought or narrative paragraphs. The program always highlights areas that are too wordy, too long, has run-on sentences, etc.
Having a tool that catches these things means less time my editor will be billing me. And, therefore, saves me money in the long run.
3. Spelling Check
Besides grammar mistakes, it can also focus on errors in spelling. It’s a basic spelling tool like MS Word’s and Scrivener’s features. But Grammarly is easier to use because of the additional features.
I think it goes without saying how helpful this feature is. As a Canadian, I sometimes slip and use Canadian spelling in a book that mostly has an American audience. Humor vs humour, neighbour vs neighbor, and so on. Yes, the spelling is correct, but many American readers pick up on it, and some even think it’s a typo.
Most spelling and grammar check features in MS Word and other apps only feature correctness. But Grammarly also reviews your writing for clarity options. It helps you fix awkward sentence structures and wordy sentences.
These fixes are all possible because of the AI-powered writing assistant. However, not all of these suggestions are relevant, so use your judgment still.
I love this feature because, personally, I tend to write the way I think. And the words might sound good in my brain, but not translate well to paper. The Clarity feature points out sentences that might not make sense and sometimes even gives me suggestions on how to improve them.
Grammarly’s built-in plagiarism checker detects whether your writing is similar to other sources.
It provides a detailed plagiarism report containing the percentage of your text that matches a website. You can also click on the website you copied from to know which parts to change.
Whether making academic content or blog articles, always cite your sources. You can use MLA, Chicago, APA, or other formats for the bibliography.
I don’t use this feature so much with my Fiction writing because I know the content is original; it came from my brain. But, when I’m working with digital content and articles, I always utilize the plagiarism checker. Even if an article is 100% written from my brain, Premium’s plagiarism checker will even tell me if a commonly used phrase should be rewritten to be more original.
I might write this phrase in an outro for an article: If you’re looking for some extra info on this topic, have a peek at xxx that I wrote.
But the plagiarism checker might flag that because it’s a common phrasing for finishing an article.
So, it might suggest: If you enjoyed these fun facts, you might also like xyz topic I wrote. Check it out here.
6. Inclusive Language
Many overlook the program’s ability to promote inclusive language. A premium subscription will help you enjoy the following:
- Disrespectful or offensive language, such as hate speech and slurs.
- Outdated terminology, especially in the LGBTQIA+ community.
- Reclaimed terms that allies cannot use.
I see this a ton with Fiction writing because I write for an Adult audience. This means the use of swearing, slang, hateful speech if there’s an enemy in play, etc. It’s up to me to decide if the suggestions improve the writing or not.
Improving Grammar (Almost) Everywhere
Grammarly allows you to improve your grammar wherever you are because of the mobile and web applications, including Chrome and other web browsers. That means you can craft an email with confidence, or work within WordPress with the aid of the excellent tools. It also supports Google Docs and Medium, the top two major writing platforms.
Just copy and paste your work from a Word document or upload it to the Grammarly extension. It will keep your headings underlined and bold text, italic formatting, bullet points, and links.
It also features a keyboard app on both Android and iOS mobile devices. You can install the Grammarly Keyboard by enabling it in your settings and launching the application.
You also have the option to select light or dark mode, show key borders, toggle sound, and popup on keypress. Once you’ve finished setting up, the keyboard is ready to give you real-time suggestions.
Grammarly can spot spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, whether you’re writing notes or making social media posts from your phone. Type anytime, and the keyboard will automatically pup up recommendations and advanced corrections.
Is Grammarly Accurate?
Yes, it’s accurate for basic spelling and grammar errors. Its suggestions are also more correct than other writing apps. It can correct passive voice, diction, writing style, and comma location.
However, Grammarly is not a replacement for a human editor. Some suggestions may not apply to your text, so your judgment is still essential.
You also need to consider that Grammarly caters to email writers and social media managers. That’s why some corrections may not make sense for hardcore authors and members of the academe.
I see this a lot with my Fiction writing. The program flags a lot of dialogue because it’s just too casual and sometimes even has words that aren’t commonly used. Or perhaps, used in a different way. It also flags a lot of offensive terms like swearing and such. But, with most Fiction genres, those things are essential. So, it’s up to me to judge whether or not the suggestion will improve my writing.
Is Grammarly Reliable?
Yes, Grammarly is reliable because of its ease of use. Several users, especially professional writers, consider it the user-friendliest proofreading tool on the market. Whether on a desktop or mobile device, Grammarly is convenient to use for ordinary people.
It’s for anyone who wants to improve their writing skills by making their work more engaging and concise. You can also use Grammarly to avoid typos, observe grammar rules, or want to check for plagiarism.
Myself, I utilize the program for two main areas in my career. I’m a Bestselling Fantasy Romance Author, but I’m also a blogger and content creator. I use Premium to ensure all my emails are professional, my content is polished and optimized, and that my manuscripts are as good as they can be before sending off to my editor.
Do I deem it reliable? Absolutely. But I spent some time playing with the program first and getting to know its limits. Don’t ever just blindly accept all the suggestions or implement all the spelling fixes. Make sure what it’s suggesting actually works for the sentence, paragraph, or document.
Is Grammarly Safe?
With the Grammarly Keyboard and browser extension app, you proofread while you’re typing something because of the automatic suggestions. Whatever you’re writing, Grammarly ensures that it’s secure and encrypted.
You might be giving away some personal data when you sign up, though. But it only includes your username, email address, language, and contact. And they only share it with third parties like research and marketing partners.
One possible security threat is Grammarly Keyboard’s server-based storage. It always requires internet access, so any sensitive content you’re writing may be vulnerable.
Grammarly assures every user that they won’t review any content unless you violate their terms of service. But I don’t think it’s still 100% secure.
Payments with a credit card and PayPal for a subscription are entirely safe. PayPal has its privacy policies that guarantee the safety of your payment information.
How Much Does Grammarly Cost?
Grammarly provides three plans with different prices, Grammarly Free, Grammarly Premium, and Grammarly Business.
The free version can give you simple writing suggestions, including spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation. It also provides minimal recommendations on your work’s clarity.
Grammarly Premium starts at $12.00 per month. The total price for an annual plan is $144.00. You can also pay quarterly for $20.00 a month or $60.00 per payment period. Premium users can also pay monthly for $30.00.
The Premium version helps with clarity, style, and other advanced corrections that free users can’t enjoy. Inclusive language, tone adjustments, and fluency are some features.
Grammarly Business offers everything in the Premium version, plus style guides, snippets, and brand tones. The business version also has an Analytics dashboard and priority email support that businesses will find helpful.
Grammarly’s business plan starts at $12.50 per member per month when billed annually for 3 to 9 members. If your organization has 10 to 49 members, the fee is $12.08 per member every month. And for businesses with 50 to 149 members, the cost per member is $11.67.
The proofreading program also launched Grammarly for Educational Institutions, targeting schools and universities.
Free Version of Grammarly vs. Paid Versions
The free version is great if you’re unsure and only want it for basic spelling and grammar checks. But I highly recommend the paid version if you hope to use it to improve your craft.
|Grammarly Free||Grammarly Premium||Grammarly Business|
|Spelling||Everything in Free||Everything in Premium|
|Grammar||Clarity in sentences||Style guides and brand tones|
|Punctuation||Tone adjustments||Analytics dashboard|
|Word choice||Priority email support|
|Formality levelPlagiarism checker||Plagiarism checker|
Grammarly Free can only detect common errors like punctuation, grammar, or spelling mistake. But the paid versions can give you insights into your work’s clarity, engagement, delivery, and originality.
Only the Premium plan can give you an invaluable Plagiarism Detector with customizable suggestions depending on your writing style. You can also expand your lexicon through Grammarly’s context-specific word alternatives.
How Does Grammarly Compare to Pro Writing Aid?
I have both programs. However, I lean more towards Grammarly because it’s easy to use but also gives me everything I need. If I have a massive project that I’m self-editing, then I add on the use of ProWritingAid.
|Web and mobile applications available||Does not provide a mobile application|
|Offers more suggestions with explanations, even at a free version.||Shows suggestions without explanations. Some are also inaccurate.|
|Intuitive user interface||The interface is not as organized.|
|Best for correctness and clarity||Best for fragmented sentences and dialogues.|
Grammarly excels in its ease of use and more accurate suggestions. It also has more parameters for detecting errors in your writing.
ProWritingAid also offers world-class style and grammar checking like Grammarly. But it specializes in dialogues and fragmented sentences, which fiction writers may find more functional.
Grammarly Web Plug-Ins and Extensions
The writing tool offers native desktop clients for macOS and Windows. It also has a Microsoft add-in and browser extension tool for Edge, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. The extension lets you check the accuracy of your blog posts, tweets, emails, and anything you do on the browser.
Google Docs’ integration with Grammarly has new features. You can access the suggestions on a sidebar to check the engagement, clarity, and delivery corrections. And the suggestions become stricter when you’re on LinkedIn.
Although the plagiarism checker seems to only be accessible within the actual Grammarly program, or if you’ve integrated it into Microsft Word. I don’t yet see a way to access it when using Google Docs or other platforms.
But the Chrome Extension is still essential for a complete experience. Some writing errors may also not show up if you’re not using it.
The Microsoft Office Add-in has a dedicated menu in Word and Outlook’s Office Ribbon. Like Google Docs, you’ll see a sidebar window that reveals the corrections you need to make.
How to Use Grammarly
There are so many ways to use Grammarly.
How to Use in Web Browser
The procedure for installing Grammarly depends on the kind of browser you have. For Chrome, go to the Chrome Store and click Add to Chrome.
For Safari, open the Mac App Store and install the extension. Click open once the download is complete.
How to Use in Word
First, download Grammarly from their website and follow their instructions when installing the program. Then, Open MS Word to find the Grammarly tab and open it. Input your login details, and it will automatically start suggesting.
How to Use on Mobile
Download the Grammarly Keyboard on Play Store or App Store. Once the app is ready, enter your credentials, open your settings, and add the Grammarly Keyboard. You should find the Switch Input Methods then tick the box on the tool.
Within the Grammarly Web App
Once you’ve set up your account, you can use the app.grammarly.com. You need a web browser to access it, but all the features are there.
Is Grammarly Good for Academic Writing?
Yes, Grammarly is suitable for academic writing. You can fix your sentence structure and word choice by clicking on the Goals tab. On the domain section, click academic, then click formal for the formality.
But what makes Grammarly suitable for academic writing is its plagiarism detection. Your essay, dissertation, or instructional material will be more original if it’s 100% free from plagiarism.
Despite being careful, accidental plagiarism may still occur because of common phrases. Grammarly’s plagiarism checker can match with millions of similar web pages.
Whether you’re a student catching up on deadlines or a researcher, this program will save you more time. But academic writers should not over-rely on Grammarly because artificial intelligence can still be faulty.
Is Grammarly Good for Fiction Writing?
Even professional fiction authors like me make spelling and grammar errors. And Grammarly can come to the rescue. For example, it can fix basic subject-verb agreement mistakes and typographical errors.
However, Grammarly won’t help you be more creative. It won’t write the book for you! Fiction writing requires you to be imaginative while using literary devices. You want to evoke emotions in a reader through a specific theme.
One issue you might encounter with Grammarly is that it might flag your extended metaphors as “too wordy.” And it won’t give you suggestions on how to organize your text into a narrative structure.
You can see here in the example—the phrase highlighted in blue. The panel to the right states the phrase is too wordy or hard to read. But it doesn’t provide suggestions on how to improve it.
But one way around this, I discovered by playing with it, is just to start tweaking words within the phrase. Chop it up, maybe add a period to divide the text. Then the program re-routes and scans the changes and eventually gives you some good suggestions for improvement.
But, with that being said, I swear by the program. It helps me polish a first draft and checks for spelling, grammar, flow, over-used words and phrases, etc.
Can Grammarly Replace a Real Editor?
Grammarly cannot replace a real professional editor. Even though it has a sharp “eye” for catching mistakes, the AI-powered tool can also miss some errors that the human detects.
For example, the human editor knows their blog audience more. Even if you customize your writing goals, grammar principles and storytelling elements are very contextual. Grammarly’s rigidity will not be able to keep up.
Another example is when you use a correctly spelled word, but it’s wrong for Grammarly. Or the online tool might recommend synonyms for a word with a different meaning. I find it often happens with brand names that use quirky or alternative spellings (although it’s happened on the rare occurrence with other words and terms).
It usually means that the word or name isn’t in the program’s dictionary. You can add it yourself by right-clicking on it and manually adding it.
Consider the sentence, “She thinks she’s cool with her new hair.” Grammarly might recommend using “relaxed” instead of “cool” as a more appropriate term. However, “cool” here refers to “impressive” or “fashionable” and not “calm.”
When writing a short story, you might say that Jill has blonde hair in one paragraph. But in the next paragraph, you mention that her hair is black. Only a human editor can pick up on this error.
They say the English language is relatively easy to understand. However, it’s hard to speak and write, and even harder to proofread.
Personally, I use the Premium version as an added layer of editing. Here’s what my editing process looks like as a Fantasy Romance Author:
- Write the rough first draft
- Proofread with my own eyes by reading to myself out loud
- Do another pass using Word’s built-in spell checker
- Do another pass with Google Docs’ built-in spell checker (I find Google finds so many things that Word misses)
- Then, a thorough pass-through Grammarly Premium
- Once those steps are done, I then send to a beta reader (an avid reader who proofs the manuscript for free in exchange for getting to tread it early)
- Then, and only then, do I send it along to my editor.
Yes, this might seem like a long and daunting process. So, why do I do it? The cleaner the manuscript is when I send it to my editor, the lower the cost is for me.
If she has to work with a raw, super rough manuscript, it’s obviously going to take more time. And, therefore, cost more. Using this method, I’ve cut my editing costs in half over the years. So, you could say the Premium version has more than paid for itself.
What is Bad About Grammarly?
Even though Grammarly is touted as the most advanced writing assistant, it can’t all be perfect. I’ve been using it for a while now, and I still have to play around with it to make it work for me. Take a look at these two aspects that the program could improve.
Some suggestions are wrong, especially when rephrasing complex sentences. Here’s an example:
Original text: The cloud with the highest number should be your priority because one room plots a cloud per level.
Suggestion: The highest number is the cloud because one room plots a cloud per level.
This sentence talks about meteorological concepts on a weather map. Notice how Grammarly’s suggestion gives the sentence a completely different meaning.
I often see this with my Fiction writing and publishing. Because I use slang terms or my own style of sentence structuring (for dramatic purposes), the program usually flags these things and tells me to change them.
It’s up to the user to identify whether or not it needs to be fixed or if the program is incorrect. Never blindly accept all the program’s suggestions. It is just AI, after all.
The Free Version is Limited
The free version is very limited, almost as if it’s only correcting your typos. Grammarly Free’s only feature is to correct your grammar and spelling, which most writers can do independently. It’s mostly just a second set of eyes.
What I do like about it, though, is that even with it being free, the program will still scan the document and give you a breakdown of the advanced issues it found. It won’t show them to you, but it provides a number.
For example: “337 advanced issues found with clarity. Upgrade to Premium to view these issues”.
So, yeah, you can use the free version and fix some typos. But if you’re writing a book, for example, like I do, and the program tells you there are hundreds of advanced issues. Believe it. Try the paid option and see how it can level up your creative writing.
Is Grammarly Premium Worth It?
Yes, Grammarly Premium is worth it for all writers, especially if English is your second language. I recommend investing in the Premium version over other proofreading apps because it’s simpler and more accurate. The paid version also lets you customize your writing goals.
But remember that certain types of writers will find it more useful. For example, blog writers who aim for straightforward sentences in a friendly tone will benefit more than fiction writers who like to play with words.
It may also rely on your budget along with the number of words you’re writing per day. If you’re only a student who submits short essays every week, the Premium version might be heavy on the pocket. But it’s still worth it if you’re committed to making your work better.
Grammarly is a no-brainer for professional writers like me, especially if important stakeholders read your work. Subscribe to the Premium version if you’re writing a novel or dissertation.
But if you’re only using Grammarly Premium for your personal Facebook captions and tweets, the free version is enough.
Who is the Free Version of Grammarly Best for?
New writers who just want a second set of eyes to check their basic spelling and grammar. Social media marketing professionals that could use a quick proofing of their email, posts, etc. Or just everyday individuals who aren’t that confident in their typing skills or spelling.
The Bottom Line
Now you know the answer to the common question, “Is Grammarly Premium worth it?” Every person who writes in English needs it, in my opinion. It helps you observe the principles of writing to gain confidence and generate a higher ROI for your work.
The program’s unique selling point is its ability to explain the suggestions so you can learn while you’re proofreading. Try the free version for a few weeks before deciding if you want to upgrade.