Is Grammarly Worth It?

Updated on November 18, 2017

It can be hard to avoid Grammarly's advertising. For a while, ads for Grammarly would even play whenever I watched videos on YouTube, telling me all the wonderful things it could do to help me improve my writing.

But is Grammarly actually all it claims to be?

It has to be, right? I mean, a company can't make wildly inaccurate claims without repercussions, so all the ads must be accurate. It really must be a fantastic service. And all for free, too! Simply amazing!

I'm sure you can guess from my tone that I'm going to rip the gloss off a few of the assumptions that Grammarly ads want you to make. None of what they say is a lie, but they do neglect to tell you a few critical points that should influence your decision as to whether you're going to install a new app or sign up for a new service.

Is Grammarly Really Free?

Short answer: yes. You can use Grammarly without paying them any money.

Long answer: yes, but you can't make use of the vast majority of the features the company likes to advertise.

Grammarly comes in two different forms: a free version, and a premium version. The premium version, naturally, costs money. You can pay almost $30 a month to use it, or one large lump sum that works out to an average of just under $12 a month.

The free version is just a basic spell-check. The kind that comes with just about every word-processing program in existence. And I'm sorry to say that when I tested it, Grammarly didn't even catch all the errors that Microsoft Word did. That's not exactly a resounding endorsement.

All those wonderful-sounding features that Grammarly likes to advertise, like checking for accidental plagiarism, or offering suggestions to improve your vocabulary, are not free. You have to pay for those.

Which is a far cry from, "Grammarly can improve your writing, and best of all, it's free!" Yes, it can improve your writing. Yes, it is free. But those two things are mutually exclusive. If you want it to help improve your writing, it isn't going to remain free.

Source

The above picture is taken from Grammarly's demo document, showing a variety of common writing errors and how the service points them out, offering suggestions and explanations for everything. The suggestions are courtesy of the premium version; all you'd get with the free version is them telling you if you made any critical spelling or grammatical mistakes.

If your writing style is akin to what you see in the sample document, then you may very well get your money's worth by purchasing Grammarly's premium version, especially if you want to present yourself professionally or academically. As I said, it does offer good services. The ability to install an app that will check Facebook posts or emails while you type them is also incredibly useful, instead of copy-and-pasting everything into a blank box on their website before posting. Even if you're just prone to accidentally spelling things incorrectly and are tired of doing so, that free feature might be enough to convince you that Grammarly is worth signing up for. And there's no shame in that.

Personal Grievances

I do have some more serious issues with Grammarly, ones that aren't precisely make-or-break problems but that are things I really wish were different.

First, it only has options for American English and British English. Which most people aren't going to see a problem with until I point out that Canada is a real place, I live there, and Canadian English is a middle ground between American and British. Almost nothing bothers to consider having Canadian English as an option, and Grammarly is no exception. So for fellow Canadians, I hope you have the differences between Canadian English and the other two main dialects memorized so that you know when to pay attention and when to ignore Grammarly's helpful suggestions.

Secondly, the plagiarism checker is great... in theory. In a recent research paper I ran through Grammarly, it identified some of my writing as plagiarized. It even gave me the site from which I supposedly got my phrasing. Turns out it was a site designed to help people study with the use of virtual flashcards, and evidently, somebody had entered the the same text I quoted (properly quoted, mind) from my textbook for one of their flashcards. And thus Grammarly identified it as plagiarism.

Nothing is perfect, and I'm aware of this. But some problems are relatively easy to avoid or fix, and it's somewhat irritating that Grammarly is advertised as a wonderful automated tool when one of it's best features still requires you to manually check to see what it's even talking about.

Is it Worth the Cost?

Personally, I would say no. But I'm notoriously frugal and don't like to spend money where I don't feel I need to.

That said, I do use the premium version of Grammarly, as I get that service for free through my university. And have I found it helpful? Absolutely. It has its problems, of course (such as recommending that I've used the word "culture" too much in my essay, and suggesting I change one of them to "religion"... even when I'm not talking about religion), but I have found it pretty useful. It has helped me identify when I overuse certain words. It catches some wonky grammatical stuff that I thought was fine, but my professor might have more of an issue with. Even if it can't always offer suggestions to fix some problems, like with the passive voice ("the door was opened by him" vs. "he opened the door"), it does call my attention to areas that might need improvement. It is undeniably useful.

I can't deny that it has been handy to use. But would I pay $30 a month for that use? Probably not. What I get from it just isn't enough to justify that price.

Do you currently use Grammarly?

See results

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Renderbug profile image
        Author

        Adrian Bridges 6 months ago from Prince Edward Island

        I'm glad I was able to help. :) Thank you for commenting, too!

      • Renderbug profile image
        Author

        Adrian Bridges 6 months ago from Prince Edward Island

        I didn't realize there was a plagiarism checker available online, though in retrospect, it doesn't really surprise me. :)

      • cleoaddams profile image

        Cleo Addams 6 months ago from USA

        I've often wondered if I should use Grammarly (as I have a subconscious addiction of putting commas where they should not be, LOL!). Thanks to your review, I'll just stick to Microsoft Word and save myself some money.

      • poppyr profile image

        Poppy 7 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

        Great article! Companies do indeed word their advertising to make it sound like they offer much more than they do. The company seems to be doing very well as I've also seen their advertising on YouTube a lot.

        The staff at my job are required to download Grammarly onto Chrome for work, so I have it on my laptop. I think it's OK.

        Incidentally, you can actually use a plaguirism checker online for free, so you don't really need the full version of Grammarly haha.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)