Do you have problems with spelling and grammar?
Even if you speak English as a mother tongue, there may be grammatical rules that confuse you – and you may find that you spend a lot of time thinking about your draft text and figuring out what needs to be done.
This is where grammar checking apps can really help. They go far beyond the simple spellchecking of the past: you see cases where you used a real word, but in the wrong context.
Many of the more advanced indicate cases where your style could also be revised (e.g., if you used a more complex word than you need, or if you included clichés in your writing).
There are so many grammar checking apps that you may be wondering which one to use. We’ll go through seven of the best in a moment, but let’s look at why it’s important to test grammar checkers before using them.
Testing the grammar checking apps
An important consideration when choosing a grammar check app is whether it actually works or not. After all, you don’t want to use an app that ignores half of your mistakes.
To make it easier for you to compare the different apps, I tested the free versions with a standardized, incorrect text:
Last I went to London. I visited the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace. I would have bought a couple of soovenirs too, but ran out of money.
The text should read as follows (I printed the corrections in bold):
last, I went to London. I have visited the tower of L.Ondon and Buckingham Palace. I would have bought some Souvenirs Also, but I ran out of money.
As you can see, the original text contains four errors:
- A comma should follow the introductory sentence “Lastly”.
- “London” should be capitalized in the second sentence.
- “Would be from” should “should” (or “should have”).
- “Soovenirs” should be written as “souvenirs”.
How did the different grammar checking apps develop? Let’s find out. Note that most of these apps require you to create a (free) account to log in and use them.
You may also want to create your own incorrect sample text so you can see if the grammar checker recognizes your mistakes.
Google Docs is a free online word processor from Google. You may have used it to collaborate on documents with others at work or school, as it is an easy way to have a document that can be commented on and edited by multiple people.
Google Docs has a robust built-in spelling and grammar checker that highlights misspellings with a red, shaky underline and grammatical errors with a blue, shaky underline.
Google Docs correctly identified that “London” should have capital in the second sentence and that “soovenirs” was misspelled. However, the incorrect expression “would of” was not displayed, although this is a common grammatical error. It was also not suggested to insert a comma after “lastly”.
If you’re already using Google Docs, it’s definitely worth checking any words or phrases that may be labeled as incorrect. However, it is not a dedicated grammar checking app, so not everything is covered.
Microsoft Word is so pervasive that you almost certainly have used it at some point in your life. Although you can think of it as software installed on your computer (preinstalled on Windows PCs), you can also use the free online version Office Online from Office.com.
Microsoft Word displays grammatical errors with a double blue underline and misspellings with a shaky red underline. You can right-click to see possible corrections and (in the case of grammatical errors) a brief explanation.
I was impressed to see that the free version of Word Online displayed all four errors (and displayed the correct corrections). Interestingly, the missing capitalization of “London” counted as a misspelling rather than a grammatical one.
If you’re already using Word, the built-in spell and grammar checker might be enough for you. However, it is still worth using one or more of the other apps as a backup, especially if you are working on a particularly important document (e.g. an essay or your resume).
Grammar is one of the most popular grammar checking apps and you may have seen ads for them. But does it deserve its reputation?
While you’ll have to pay for the premium version of Grammarly if you want more features (e.g., the ability to detect passive language abuse), the free version offers an impressive array of features. You can try it out on the grammar website by simply copying and pasting your text. However, for long-term use, you’ll probably want to install it as a Chrome plug-in or as a Microsoft Office download.
Grammar highlights all errors, whether grammar or spelling, in red. As you can see, all four problems with my sample text were discovered. A great feature is that grammar provides a detailed explanation of the mistakes so you can find out where you made a mistake.
For example, when I click on the underlined “London”, I get a short explanation that I can expand to see more examples:
Grammar is a great option not only to check your grammar and spelling thoroughly, but also to learn Why something was marked as wrong. It integrates with many other software (such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Office, Outlook, etc.) so you can use it when composing emails and messages, as well as checking documents.
I discussed the premium version of ProWritingAid in detail in this post (which also includes a discount code). But what is the free version like? The good news is that it is rich and contains many reports that you can run to pick up on things like overused words, clichés, and more.
You can also see how your work matches that of other people using ProWritingAid. Statistics like “Your sentence diversity was higher than 56% of ProWritingAid users”.
ProWritingAid took up all four errors in my sample text and provided brief explanations if necessary (although it did not provide any more detailed information, as is the case with grammar):
ProWritingAid offers a variety of reports – these can help you get a better feel for how your writing works overall. (For example, you may find that your average sentence length is too long.) It’s a great app for anyone who works on a long piece like an entire book, although you can certainly use it for shorter pieces as well.
Hemingway Editor takes a completely different approach to grammar checking apps like Grammar and ProWritingAid because the focus is very much on writing style. It promotes a style that includes simple, straightforward sentences, avoiding the use of the passive voice and using too many adjectives.
This means that the Hemingway editor may not recognize all grammatical errors and is not a spell check, so it may not be recognized any Spelling mistakes – as you can see from the test.
The Hemingway Editor app has not been included any the error in my example text: it is marked as “last”, not because it needs a comma afterwards, but because it is an adverb.
The spelling mistakes of “Souvenirs” and the lack of capitalization of “London” are not shown because Hemingway Editor is not a spell checker. The expression “would of” is also not corrected.
If you want to write in a simple, clear style, Hemingway Editor should help. However, sometimes sentences are displayed that are perfectly readable (even if they are rather long) and some direct errors are also ignored. However, it is best used in conjunction with another grammar and spell check, otherwise errors can occur.
After the Deadline is a WordPress plugin (although you can too Use an online version here), which checks blog posts for grammar and spelling errors. It is a simple, reduced grammar check. So if you find apps like Grammar or ProWritingAid a little overwhelming, it may be worth trying.
Like Hemingway Editor, you can also use it completely free on the Internet without having to provide your email address or create an account. This makes it a handy tool if you use a public computer (e.g. in your local library) and don’t want to log in to a number of different websites.
After the deadline, it was not determined that “London” needed an uppercase letter or that there should be a comma after “Lastly”. However, it has picked up the wrong “dignity of” – unlike many other controllers. Attention was also drawn to the spelling mistakes of “souvenirs”.
After the Deadline is ideal for bloggers as it is compatible with WordPress and Windows Live Press. This is also a great option if you’re running a social network with BuddyPress or a forum with bbPress. The list of compatible software can be found at their download page. This includes Chrome and Firefox, so you can use After the Deadline even if you’re not a blogger!
You can try Ginger online, but it’s really designed for use with other software: it can be downloaded for Windows or iOS and used on mobile devices. In addition to the grammar checker, it offers a “phrase rewriter” that gives you alternative ways to write your sentences, and a “personal trainer” that helps you learn to write English correctly by identifying the pattern of mistakes you make.
Ginger also offers some features that go well beyond many grammar checks, such as: B. the possibility of Ginger reading your text to you and a translation tool. However, please note that not all functions are available in the free version. There’s also a (free) Android keyboard that you can install on your phone: it appears as a keyboard every time you type it, so you can instantly check your spelling and grammar.
When I tried my sample text with the Ginger online tool, three of the four errors were recognized (you can see the original text with the errors highlighted in red and the corrected text with the corrections in blue). However, it was not “would be caught by”.
Ginger is a great option for Mac, iPhone, or Android users. It works with Apple’s Pages word processor and can be used as a replacement keyboard for Android phones. This allows you to check the grammar and spelling of everything you write.
You can also try the online tool without creating an account or logging in. This way, you can easily check some sentences quickly.
No app can be a substitute for careful self-editing or hiring an actual editor to do your job. However, apps can provide valuable support and help you better identify your own mistakes.
Which grammar checker app should you use? All of this could work well for you. Since they all offer at least one free trial, try some of them to see what you prefer.
If you’re not sure where to start, these are my favorites grammar and ProWritingAid (discussed in detail here) – Grammar as a great all-round checker that offers detailed explanations and ProWritingAid for anyone working on a long text due to the detailed reports it offers. Why don’t you try one of these this week?
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