I’m testing Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because my content is unique. Just like me.
I was recently contacted by the folks at Grammarly.com, asking if they could sponsor a future post. While that’s an unusual request on the Brandscaping blog, it’s not something I’m particularly averse to. The request was simple – just add an intro blurb to an upcoming post that I was going to be sharing anyways, and earn a nifty Amazon gift card. I like money, so this appealed to me, *but the part I didn’t like was the* phrasing they suggested:
“I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because [insert clever/funny reason here].” (e.g. “copy-cats are not nearly as cute as the original!”)
If I like a product, I have no problem promoting it, but I prefer to have actually used it before saying it’s something I use. I guess I’m weird that way.
I took them up on their offer of a free month of service so I could get a good idea as to how much I would use it and how well it works. With prices ranging from $11.66 to $29.95 per month (you get the better pricing if you buy the annual subscription) it’s not outrageously expensive, but I do want to be sure it’s worth my time and money.
I approached it with one question in mind: Is this something I can use to provide a better service for my clients?
My experience with Grammarly.com thus far:
What I like:
- Simple and easy to use.
- Plagiarism detector – checks over 8 billion websites to see if what you’ve written has already been done.
- Downloadable plugin for MS Office – check your work without copy/paste into a browser window
- Seems to be more effective at detecting errors than MS Word
What I didn’t like
- Autosave and undo/redo don’t play nice with MS Word (pop up informs you that the autosave feature has been disabled as well as a warning to use the undo/redo feature within Grammarly versus the built-in MS option)
- Plagiarism feature is wonky with the downloadable plugin. I’ve had a 50% success rate with this, getting an error that “document has been changed – recheck.” Despite no changes being made (that I’m aware of)
- Grammarly really doesn’t like the word “easy” and continuously suggests that I change it to comfortable.
I think the target market for this product is business people who need a slightly more advanced check of the words they’ve written, or beginning writers who need a second set of eyes on the copy they’ve created. If that sounds like you, I’d recommend you try the 7-day free trial and really put the program through its paces. It’s not a difficult program to use, but you should be aware of its limitations before plunking down your wallet.
A few of the features I’d like to see in future iterations of Grammarly:
- Redundant/repetitive words clearly identified (many writers tend to use the same word multiple times throughout the document. While this is something you can train yourself to overcome, it would be nice to have a program that watches for it, too)
- Comma usage (this is my personal challenge – I’m a recovering comma-holic)
- Readability statistics similar to what’s found in MS Word
If you’d like to check out other reviews of Grammarly, I suggest:
- And an excellent review of four different grammar-checking software tools at goodcontentcompany.com
To be fair, the folks at Grammarly state that their tool is to be used as a second set of eyes, and not for final proofing. I think it’s a good product that will help some people eliminate errors from much of their written communications, but at this time, it’s no substitute for using a professional.
* – This phrase, “but the part I didn’t like was the,” was flagged by the plagiarism checker, and linked to a yelp review. Grammarly suggests that I use MLA, APA, or Chicago citation to reference the content. I think they’ve got a bit of room to improve here. Not checking against Yelp reviews might be a good step in the right direction…