o you need a great tool to help you while you are writing that first draft? I am finding that many of my contacts, including professionals and students, are using Grammarly (app.grammarly.com) as a tool to improve their writing. If you are not one of them yet, surf over to the page and try it. The tool allows you to check your writing on several levels: grammatical mistakes, errors in punctuation, tenses, etc. The free version is phenomenal for the price! 😁 For the average letter, or an essay in English 101 (even 102), it is a Godsend! Even I use it for first drafts.

Everyone puts a comma where it does not belong. Grammarly will catch that, as well as all of your other punctuation issues. Do you need a semicolon instead of a colon? Got it. Used the wrong tense or changed tenses in the same sentence? It will catch that! You can even download a copy of the app, for free, to work with M$ word.


Grammarly Screen


It is very easy to use. On the site, you can upload a file and run it through the software. You can also, as I have, load a Chrome extension into your browser. There is also a Firefox, Safari and Edge extension available. When you install the extension, you can decide how much help Grammarly can provide to you as you type emails, fill in forms, or create blog posts! BTW, if you are a blogger, you will find that using the tool increases the readability score.

Grammarly will catch incorrectly spelled words, but it allowed me to place an unnecessary comma in the picture to the left. However, when I check the document M$ Word, the error was caught.

The way errors are shown is great. in this example, I misspelled the word ‘with’. The error is shown, and when I hover my mouse over the error, the correction is not only shown but by clicking on it, the word is replaced. You have a choice to add the item to the dictionary or to ignore the possible error. When you make an error in using tenses or have a sentence fragment that is caught, you may receive an explanation of the error in the correction box.

what happens when you Use incorreCt capitalization and punctuation. You get the opportunity to see more of what you can do with this tool. For this particular paragraph, I would, suggest, that you click the “SEE MORE IN GRAMMARLY” item, or copy the entire paragraph to Grammarly to access more tools?!


When you open Grammarly, you will first see your dashboard:

First Grammarly Window


Click “New” for the next screen. Here you will create a name for your text to make it easy to identify later. When you paste your text into the next screen, a goal setting window will appear. What are you trying to write? If this is an informal document for an email or an internal letter, make appropriate choices. For this blog, I chose ‘Describe’ as the intention, ‘General’ for the audience, an ‘Informal” style, and ‘Mild’ emotion. If I were interested in screening a policy document or a business continuity plan, I would choose ‘Inform’, ‘General’, and ‘Formal’, skipping the ‘Emotion’ choice. Once those choices are made, you are returned to the screen to correct your errors.

Grammarly Premium AlertHowever, it is not any better to Micro$oft Word with grammar checker turned on. At least, the free version is not. In fact, I have found that Word (I use 2010 at the moment – starving artist) is a bit better in terms of catching unnecessary words and fragments. The free version does not tell you that you have run on sentences, or when you have written something that makes absolutely no sense, or when you have typed a split infinitive (find it on this page and let me know what it is). In the paragraph that I used as an example of an error, the incorrect capitalization and poor word choice were not displayed. You must pay for that. Maybe the paid version of Grammarly does catch every error, but I haven’t paid for it yet! I will, I will.

Grammarly is a great program to use for a quick once over on your documents. I would strongly suggest that you use it. Put it in your browser at the least. I get paid to edit documents, and it still catches my penchant for extra commas. This great tool is free. Do not skip it!


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