Grammarly: A Review of an App to “Help you Be a Better Writer”

Grammarly is an app, both for Android as well as iOS, that was developed to find errors in writing. It can detect problems with grammar, spelling, punctuation, and choice of words, as well as style. The  program is based upon algorithms, which can detect issues in the text and come up with corrections for many types of written errors.  

            Initially released ten years ago, on July 1, 2009, Grammarly has a proprietary license. This means that while the program, or app, itself, is free, (there is also a premium version, which individuals must pay for, that offers better text, grammar and plagiarism detectors) the software is actually owned by an individual company. There are restrictions as to the use of Grammarly, and the “source code,” or the “key” that allows individuals to modify, or improve the program, is kept a secret by the original developers; interestingly, the software, though English-based, was developed by two Ukrainians in 2009, Alex Shevchenko and Max Lytvyn, in Kiev. The app is presently owned by Grammarly Inc. of San Francisco, California.

            The benefits of Grammarly include sophisticated grammar checks for writing that analyzes sentence structure, punctuation, and context for word processing, web browsing, and smartphones; it offers vocabulary suggestions based upon the writing goal that you indicate in the app, which enhance your writing, considers the audience for whom you are writing, and factors in the desired style and tone of the text that you are writing.

            There is also a cross-reference that checks for plagiarism within the web, as well as a plethora of academic data bases, to ensure that the work that you are writing is completely original. Considerations with regard to readability, uniqueness, and the inclusion of unusual, engaging words is also included (statistics for these qualities is provided with the program).

Currently, there are over 15 million users, and the numbers of those with the app is reportedly growing exponentially. So impressed were original funders of the software app, that equity funding at the outset topped over 100 million dollars. At present, the platforms that are supported include Apple, Android, Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office and Word, Windows and Mac.

As for the cost, as stated, it can be accessed for free, but for the biggest bang, or protection, for your writing, it is strongly suggested that fans of this program opt for the paid, premium membership. This premium will cost you $11.66 per month, which is the way to obtain the best pricing (totals $139.95 per year). Should you decide to pay as you go, either monthly, or quarterly, the cost is appreciably more, at $29.95 per month for the monthly subscription, and $19.98 for Grammarly’s quarterly membership. The Grammarly company itself suggests that people sign up for the free app, so sure are they that the program is water-tight, and catches every conceivable flaw in checking the production of perfect writing. The company is quite sure that the majority of people will continue to opt for the “paid-in” version of Grammarly, as indications have been positive and growing since their inception ten years ago.

Another advantage of Grammarly, is that it can be purchased with a specific audience in mind. Grammarly for Educational Institutions, called Grammarly@edu, is custom-designed for higher-level education. For a free trial as a student, the contact is Grammarly@edu. For business users, with a minimum of three users, Grammarly Business is strongly suggested as the companion “tool person,” for all things official and business-related. With a minimum of three users, companies have been encouraged by the original entrepreneurs to “trust that Grammarly will make all the difference in their introduction and maintenance in the highly competitive, power-driven world of modern, 21st century  business.”  It is simple, according to the founders: there is absolutely no room for errors, especially those that make people  appear less than 100% accurate in their written expression. In a world where electronic assistance is literally a button away, where cyber-tutors can be sitting by your side for any written task at all, Grammarly takes the guesswork entirely out of written expression. With respect to business, the perks also include administrative and user controls for security, priority 24/7 email support, centralized billing, and monitoring tools for checking engagement trends.

One significant caveat when using Grammarly, however, is that while it is a good tool, especially if English is not your first language, or you have been plagued with a writing task, while “it is really not your thing,” you still do need some basic level of knowledge of English to actually use Grammarly effectively. Another caveat is that with regard to proofreading, there is likely no program that will  work with the  efficiency and nuanced expertise of a human proofreader.  The Grammarly Handbook, however, has helpful tips to guide you, particularly if you are really not very at ease with either English or the  writing process altogether. For use by a native English speaker, who just wants the reassurance that his/her work will pass muster with even the pickiest of grammarians, it does serve as a very useful tool to have by your side as you hit the keyboard.

The Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School is a prestigious NYC Jewish Day School in the heart of New York City.  Located in the Upper East Side, this Jewish Day School promotes academic growth through community and collaboration.