When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.
No matter how fluent you are in English, you probably still have specific questions around grammar, punctuation, and spelling from time to time. However, it can be tedious to always consult a style guide or Google search for one-off grammar queries.
Grammarly is a Chrome extension that can help you quickly edit your writing in emails, messages, documents, and social media platforms. It can work as an alternative (or addition) to spellcheck, offering more detailed feedback and even writing advice. There’s a free version available for download as well as a paid premium extension (which is 50% off until February 17) and add-ons for software like Microsoft Office. As of now, it’s only offered in English, but lets you choose between American, British, Australian, and Canadian English settings.
Here’s the difference between the free and paid versions of Grammarly.
What the free version covers
The free version of Grammarly provides grammar, spelling, and punctuation suggestions on all sites, plus tone correction and conciseness notes on select sites.
Once you download the plugin, you can click in and customize your settings, such as automatic spelling changes.
Once you actually get to writing, a little green Grammarly logo pops up at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. Similar to spellcheck, it’ll highlight potential errors and give you the option to dismiss or add them to your Grammarly dictionary.
The more standout features are Conciseness and Tone Detection, which only work on select sites. Conciseness will suggest omitting words or phrases that are redundant — for example, it suggested I take out “individual” from “each individual course.” Tone Detection, on the other hand, focuses less on technicalities and more on the overall feeling of your writing.
While the free version doesn’t provide detailed feedback or an explanation of why it thinks your tone sounds a certain way, it’s been helpful to me as a sort of quick tonal check-in. Especially when sending out a public call for pitches on Twitter or an introductory email to a colleague, it’s nice to know that my writing sounds friendly and confident. Grammarly also gives you the option to customize their feedback to you by telling them if you thought their tone detection was spot-on or not (which is important, since your language may need to change depending on different circumstances and contexts).
Overall, the free version can be a helpful additional writing tool and features like Tone Detection can even provide an extra confidence boost that your tone comes off as you think it does.
What the premium version gets you
The premium version of Grammarly provides users with more detailed feedback, including suggestions on which words to swap out to change up your vocabulary usage or make your tone more polite. Beyond checking if your grammar is correct, the premium version can enhance your writing to make it more active, engaging, and easy to understand. It also has a plagiarism-detection tool and can also help you formalize your writing more.
The payment options are either $29.95 a month, $19.98 a month quarterly (billed as one payment of $59.95), or $11.66 a month annually (billed as one payment of $139.95). There is also a Grammarly Business team plan available for $12.50 a month per member.
The free version of Grammarly is essentially a broader version of spellcheck, with a few extra writing style features that are available on certain websites. It’s great for showing you where to add a comma or take out a word, and can provide a quick tone check before sending out an email. Premium offers more thorough feedback and writing suggestions to enhance the actual quality of your writing. Depending on your needs, the premium version can be a good tool for improving your writing without having to take a class.