by Julianne Q. Johnson


Grammarly is a grammar checking program for writers. There are several forms of the program, but today I’m here to talk about the plug-in for Microsoft Office. This plug-in also works for Microsoft Word, you don’t have to actually own Office to use it.

If you want to check this plug-in out, you can find it here.

I tried a version of Grammarly many years ago and was not impressed with it. At that time, it cost money, and what the program did was not especially useful. It would point out many things that were not issues, and ignore actual issues.

While there are still paid versions of Grammarly that do additional things, the plug-in for Word is free.

What it does:

The free version of Grammarly catches what it calls “critical grammar mistakes.” It catches possible punctuation errors, misspelled or wrong words, and various grammar mistakes. It will catch wordy sentences and things like incorrect pronouns. It will point each one out and give you an opportunity to take the advice given or ignore it.

What it does not do:

The paid version catches further grammar mistakes, makes vocabulary suggestions, makes genre specific checks, and searches other WebPages for plagiarism issues.

My experience with Grammarly:

I tried Grammarly again yesterday on two projects that are finished, been beta read, and had multiple re-writes. The program has been greatly improved from what it was the first time I tried it. It catches those pesky punctuation mistakes I simply do not see no matter how many times I re-read. Commas after introductory phrases, for example. And those times when you accidently use a period instead of a comma before a dialogue tag. It also caught some British spellings I seem to be in the habit of using, and the fact that I often use “grey” instead of “gray”…

But wait, there’s a warning!

Grammarly is a useful tool, and I do think you should try it out. However, all such programs are going to have difficulties. You have to check each correction suggestion carefully. Never assume Grammarly is correct. That “ignore” option is there for a reason.

No mechanical grammar checker will be correct 100% of the time.  Mine asked me constantly if I really meant to use the word “potion.”  Yes, Grammarly, I really meant it.  it also hated that I use the spelling “Theatre” instead of “Theater” and would not give me an option to ignore.

I can’t stress this enough, every suggestion must be considered carefully before you make the change. Grammarly was truly helpful to me yesterday. It caught enough typos in Descending that I did a re-write to fix them, and that’s a book I’ve re-read a million times. Now, the new version of Descending is live on Kindle. (If you already have a copy, be sure to update it.)  Of the ‘issues’ Grammarly found, more than 70% were not issues at all.  However, the issues it did find, I was very happy to get corrected.

Grammarly does not take the place of a real editor.

Nothing takes the place of having your work professionally edited. If you can afford editing service, you should do it. Period. Grammarly is a helpful tool, but it is only a tool. Give your work the best chance you can to be its shiny best.




Guest post contributed by Julianne Johnson. Julianne has 3 cats, 4 ferrets, 1 goldfish, and one fiancé. She has been writing all her life and has written several books. Her blog is a place for her to share her writing and her love of taking pictures.