075: It’s time to get your Gramma(r) checked with Grammarly (and spelling & punctuation).

Hey there do-it-yourself technicians! We all make writing mistakes, but what if there was an easy way to catch hundreds of the simplest mistakes as you type them? Well, there is! So today I’m going to introduce you to Grammarly!

I’m in the process of writing a book at the moment, so I really have to make sure my writing is the best that it can be. And even when I’m not, I believe communication is important so I really want my writing to be as clean, clear and error-free, as possible.

Proofreading has always been somewhat of a skill of mine and I’ve proofread thousands of newsletters, books, and websites to date, but the one thing I’m not very good at is proofreading my own work. When I go to read it, I know exactly what it was that I wanted to say, so I skip over the words that are actually there, and only see what I think should be there. Not really great if you’re proofreading. That’s why, when I saw the power of Grammarly, I fell in love with it and I’ve been using it ever since. I’ve now been using Grammarly for over a year, which is why this week I received this badge for 52 weeks of constant use!

How does Grammarly work? In its simplest form, Grammarly is a Google Chrome extension that checks your spelling and grammar whenever you type on a web page. For a recap on Google extensions see Episode 024 here. There are also extensions for Firefox and Safari if you happen to use those browsers. When you install the extension and create an account, which you can do using your Google account, you will then see the green Grammarly icon or a number in a red circle at the bottom of a text box on any web page you go to, along with red squiggly underlines for every item that needs your help. This includes Facebook and messenger, Gmail, Google Docs, anywhere you might be filling out large blocks of text, even some forms. Grammarly will be there looking after you.

When you hover the mouse over each underlined section, it pops up not just the suggestion, but also often the reason why, helping you learn in the process. It picks up not just normal spelling mistakes, but intelligently reads the text and attempts to infer meaning from it, so we can recommend the correct form for verbs, add and remove commas and spaces, and change the tense of words that are out of sync with the rest of the sentence.

One brand new feature of Grammarly over the last few weeks has been the introduction of the tone detector, which detects the tone of your writing to see if it sounds the way you want it to. At the moment this feature is in beta and only works on Gmail and Yahoo using the Chrome web browser with the Grammarly extension installed. Once you’ve typed at least 120 characters you’ll get this pop up down the bottom. In this case ‘appreciative, friendly and confident’ is perfect for this email, thanks Grammarly!

Now you probably aren’t writing large amounts of text on your smartphone or tablet, but it’s always a great idea to make your writing the best you can, so there is a Grammarly keyboard available for both iOS and Android. So you can make your small screen typing as good as your desktop or laptop typing. As well as the extensions, there are native versions of Grammarly for Windows and the Mac and a set of add-ins for office on Windows as well. So you can use all of the Grammarly features in Word and outlook, making your business communications the best they can be.

Grammarly also emails you a report of your writing each week. This week was a pretty big writing week for me, writing nearly 16 and a half thousand words and making me more productive than 95% of Grammarly users. I had two hundred and forty-six alerts shown, making me more accurate than 92% of Grammarly users, and using more unique words than 93% of users. My main mistakes were all around punctuation probably because I was just getting ideas down on paper as fast as I could and then cleaning them up later. In total Grammarly has checked over 300,000 words for me in the last 12 months and that’s a pretty serious amount of text!

The premium version of Grammarly takes your writing to the next level, with information about readability, and enhanced vocabulary suggestions as well as genre-specific writing style checks, and even a plagiarism detector! You can get a free month of Grammarly premium by clicking on the link here. Premium plans are just $11 66 per month if you pay upfront for a year total of $139.95 US dollars. In fact, I’m upgrading to premium now I wanted the full experience with the free version for this review but now I want the premium version to get my book finished.

Question of the week: Do you use Grammarly? If so, what do you love about it? Let me know down in the comments below, let me know whether you’re using the free or the premium version too.

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