Michelle Labels: Grammar Checker, Website Reviews
I've been blogging since 2007 and writing essays and journals since I was in elementary school. I believed myself to be a good enough writer. I know I write with good grammar and can whip up a document or blog post in less than an hour. With this in mind, I tried out a new online tool for checking my writing with regards to grammar. This online tool is Grammarly - a grammar checker - "an automated proofreader and your personal grammar coach." (words in italics are from the website)
HOW IT WORKS
The way it works is very easy. You simply copy and paste or upload your document. Choose your writing style and click on the START REVIEW button. It takes about a minute or so for the site to create a review of your writing. It then comes back with the results of the grammar check, indicating where you have made mistakes in the document. It has a grading system of 100 points according to the number of errors.
There are six writing styles to choose from: General, Business, Academic, Creative and Casual. There are no descriptions available on the site of each writing style, so it's up to you to decide which style you would like to have your document checked on. Each writing style has a set of checks which are not disclosed because those are Grammarly's intellectual property.
I checked one of my writings first under casual, then creative and general. Each check revealed varying grammatical errors. When I had finished editing my article in the Casual style where I finally received a grade of 97/100, I tried checking my edited article in the General style. This resulted in a failing grade of 69/100 (see above) as it found several other errors that were not found in the Casual style. This does not mean that Grammarly is inconsistent. It only means that the writer should be able to categorize his own writing in order for it to be properly edited.
THE EDITING PROCESS
The editing process opened my eyes to the fact that, though I thought myself to be a good writer, I was actually just an average writer. In some cases, I even failed! However, what I appreciated about it is that with every mistake highlighted, Grammarly provided an explanation and, sometimes, a solution on how to improve it. There are two kinds of explanations - the short and the long.
The long explanation provided samples of correct and incorrect sentences or phrases. The short explanation only gave the explanation of the error. It is possible just to ignore the error if you believe your writing is correct. Though if you ignore it, Grammarly will still consider it an error.
The Creative style also provided plenty of possible synonyms. It's very similar to using the Thesaurus in Microsoft Word.
Grammarly also allows you to save your corrected documents in PDF with its accompanying errors and explanations.
One of its neat features is that it is downloadable to your PC for use with Word. This is good if you're using Word to write your article, you won't have to go online, then copy and paste the document to Grammarly.
Grammarly is FREE for the first seven days. If you'd like to sign up for the free trial, you will have to be ready with your credit card or your Paypal account. You will be billed after the seven days trial except if you cancel the subscription before your are billed. After this free full site trial, there are three billing options to choose from: Monthly $29.95, Quarterly $59.95, Annually $239.95.
HERE'S WHAT I THINK
Grammarly is a great tool for homeschoolers and students in regular schools to use. In my case, I really appreciate that the editing process comes with an explanation. It acts like a tutor, and this is what most students, homeschooler or not, need in an online grammar checker. Right now I'm just using a USB connection for my internet, but it still performed quite fast. The results were returned in about a minute. This product is also great for writers and editors who can use this their editing process as it saves them a lot of time. The cost may be prohibitive for some homeschoolers in the Philippines, but the whole family can use one account. The student can subscribe to it until his writing improves, then the subscription can be cancelled any time.