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How To Become A Better Writer with Grammarly

I've read plenty of blog posts that tell you all about how to write a blog post.

You've probably read them too.

The ones that tell you: "You're not at college now - no need for a formal writing style. You can write short paragraphs or even one-word paragraphs."

The rules you learnt at school can now be broken.

And I agree.

There is definitely a case for breaking free from the rules.

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But likewise, I believe there is no excuse for incorrect spelling and grammar, especially when there are free tools on the market to help you.

I admire those people writing in English when it is not their first language. That​ takes courage. I know that I couldn't write in a foreign language.

And I can understand why any foreigner would struggle with the complexities of the English language. Heck, the native English speakers do, and they started from Day 1.

Yet, I still don't understand why there are so many spelling and grammar mistakes when there are free tools available like Grammarly. In my opinion, it comes down to laziness.

How many articles did you abandon reading because the writer was too lazy to correct basic mistakes?​

Is Spelling and Grammar Really Important?

Obviously, it's not to some people judging how many errors are published, but really it should be the first thing on your checklist before hitting publish!

​Two good reasons you should take care:

1. It Makes You Look Dumb

According to Copyblogger: "the truth is some people will not subscribe or link to your blog if you make dumb mistakes when you write, and buying from you will be out of the question."

2. It's Bad For Business

Research by Global Lingo showed that 74% of consumers notice incorrect spelling on a website or marketing materials, and 59% said they wouldn’t use the services or buy the products from that company.​

Here are a few common mistakes that you should definitely avoid:

Common Mistakes You Should Definitely Avoid

Apostrophes – Apostrophes are only ever used to contract words – as in “don’t” – or to denote ownership – as in “Pete’s bicycle”. Apostrophes are never, ever used to pluralise words. This is the dreaded “grocer’s apostrophe”, and it doesn’t look good at all.

You’re, Your – “You’re” is a contracted “you are”, as in, “you’re having a laugh”. “Your” denotes possession, as in, “I’ve chewed your provender”.

They’re, There, Their – “They’re” is a contracted “they are”, as in, “they’re coming to take me away”. “There” refers to a place – “over there”. “Their” refers to something owned by a group, as in, “coal in their stockings”.

Its, It’s – “Its” is possessive, as in “the cat is licking its paws”. “It’s”, on the other hand, is a contraction of “it is”, as in, “it’s raining men”.

Remember: You only have a few seconds to make a good first impression, so make sure your spelling and grammar have been checked!

My Writing Experience​

When I was at school I was a top speller and my grammar was quite good too. Those lessons have stood me well throughout life and I'm thankful for that. 

But, as a result, I have a natural instinct to spot incorrect spelling and grammar when I read other people's writing. Sometimes I think it's a curse as I'd like to read an article quickly, but when your eye is drawn to unnecessary mistakes it detracts from the reading experience. 

Most of my blog posts start off in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. I find it a great way to write distraction-free when you just have a clean blank doc in front of you. There are other writing tools that offer distraction-free or blackout features, but the above two suffice for me.

I've always been confident that by using Microsoft Word any spelling or grammar mistakes that I missed would be detected by the software. And inevitably there would be one or two that were highlighted.

For example, as I'm writing quickly I'll often forget the apostrophe between the 't' and 's' for "it's".

I think it's a common mistake!

​Grammarly

I'd heard about Grammarly whilst reading other blog posts (like this one on Blogging Wizard) but I hadn't really taken much notice of them as I thought my mistakes would be recognised by Microsoft Word.

A week or so back Adrian Jock mentioned Grammarly were doing a special promotion for affiliates so I took the time to investigate a bit further.​

I don't recommend tools that I don't use, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

And I was pleasantly surprised...

​Using Grammarly

Grammarly is available as both a web tool and a desktop tool for Mac and Windows.

grammarly-1 screen shot

I started off my Grammarly experience by installing the Google Chrome extension and just using the web version. Later on that week, I installed the Mac version.

Here are the key features of Grammarly:

Better Writing Made Easy - Grammarly makes you a better writer by finding and correcting up to 10 times more mistakes than your word processor.

Eliminate Errors - Instantly fix over 250 types of errors, most of which Microsoft Word® can’t find.

Enhance Clarity and Meaning - Find the perfect word every time with context-optimized synonym suggestions.

Become a Better Writer - Learn about your mistakes so that you can avoid them next time.

Write Anywhere - Whether you’re writing emails, essays, or social media posts, Grammarly has your back.

​With the web app working in minutes I was able to start checking my writing.

My Grammarly Test

As I mentioned earlier, I often use Microsoft Word as my Spelling and Grammar check. So I decided to see what Grammarly could find wrong with my writing that MS Word had been unable to detect.

Recently, I wrote a guest post on How To Boost Your Blog Performance with Google Analytics. I decided I would upload my original word document into Grammarly to test what it could find.

  • Grammarly scanned the document and found​ 2466 words, 26 critical issues and a further 49 advanced issues:
grammarly-2 screen shot
  • Grammarly highlighted the type of mistakes in the sidebar option:
grammarly-3 screen shot
  • Grammarly found two issues in the very first sentence of my blog post:
grammarly-4 screen shot
  • Grammarly provided further background information on each issue to help understand the mistake:
grammarly-5 screen shot

WATCH THE VIDEO AS I STEP THROUGH MY GRAMMARLY TEST DOCUMENT


Starting at the top of my document I step through each issue that Grammarly has highlighted and decide whether to accept or ignore the correction. 

I was surprised to see so many issues highlighted in Grammarly that Microsoft Word had not picked up.

Grammarly - Free or Premium?

I'm currently using the free version of Grammarly. Like all FREEMIUM software products, you get a good range of features included in the FREE version.

Grammarly offers a range of individual subscription plans that include generous discounts for quarterly and annual payments:

grammarly-pricing-plans

Here's what you get if you choose to invest in the PREMIUM version:

Here are the Premium features of Grammarly:

Speciality Checking - get the most accurate and relevant corrections for your specific writing style

Plagiarism - finds unoriginal text by checking against a database of over 8 million web pages

Vocabulary Enhancement - provides vocabulary enhancement suggestions to diversify your writing.

Professional Proofreading - a professional proofreader is ready to check your document right now. This an additional service on top of the Premium account.

Why you should get Grammarly

Since installing Grammarly, I've had a constant companion when writing on the web; whether it's a blog post, an email, or a social media update. It's there just nudging and prompting me to write better, and more importantly, correctly. 

Grammarly is available as a free tool and I recommend that you at least try the free version to improve your writing too. It is so simple to install and use that it will not take up any of your time to learn and the end result will be a more polished piece of content.

If you like the free version, then I'm sure you will like the paid version too, especially as they have very competitive prices for quarterly and annual payment plans.

Over to You

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below:

  • Do you think spelling and grammar is important in your content?
  • Which tools and methods do you use to check your spelling and grammar?
  • Are you going to try Grammarly?

Looking for help with your writing and content?

Hire Me to help you build your online presence 

David Hartshorne
 

I'm David and I'm the guy doing most of the writing around here. I'm a freelance writer helping solopreneurs and small businesses build their online presence through friendly, engaging and shareable blog posts.

  • Hi David

    You are right. If there is one thing that frustrate readers, it is text that is difficult to read due to spelling errors.

    Thanks for the tips and reminder. Take Care

    • No problem Ikechi – give Grammarly a try and see what a difference it can make!

  • Hi David,

    This is a great overview of just how helpful Grammarly is.

    I’ve been using it for a while now, I still need to work on making it a consistent part of my writing process but it’s been so valuable.

    I’m working on a new process checklist which includes use of Hemingway App so it becomes more of a habit.

    Thanks mentioning Blogging Wizard, btw!

    – Adam

    • Yep, I remembered that post on Blogging Wizard so I just had to dive back in and find the link.
      I’ve not used Hemingway App yet, but it’s another one I’ve heard of. Is it making a difference to your writing?

      Thanks Adam, appreciate the feedback!
      – David

      • The main issue I have is similar to Grammarly, which is making it a habit.

        But it definitely makes a difference – the main focus of the tool is to improve readability and sentence length.

        It’s well worth trying out and making changes only takes a few moments.

        Sure thing!
        – Adam

        • Ah, yes, habits! I’ve just been reading The One Thing in which the author reckons it takes 66 days for a habit to become a habit.

          • I haven’t read the book, but it sounds about the right length of time. Process checklists are a great way to make this easier.

  • Ilka Emig

    Hi David!

    Thanks for this great overview. Grammarly is a blessing – especially for non-native English ‘writers’. You are right; the free version is enough for grammar issues. I am thinking of getting the Premium version since I write for clients and getting the Plagiarism tool is tempting. First, I can give my clients a ‘plagiarism checked’ guarantee and secondly, I can check other writer’s work while researching.

    Thanks David! Your post came in the right time, Ilka 🙂

    • Hi Ilka,

      I think the plagiarism checker would be a great benefit for professional writers like you. I’m trying the Premium version this month to see how it stacks up against the free version.

      Glad you found the review useful!
      – David

  • Hi David!

    Much like you, (<– Do you see what I did there with the comma?) I have seen references to Grammarly all over the web. That includes Blogging Wizard, as you mentioned.

    But this is the first time I've seen someone actually go into detail about what it does.

    Now you've got me thinking I should check it out.

    I'd like to think my grammar and spelling are fairly good — but hey, no one is perfect!

    Nice post. Will share now!

    Best,

    Brent

    • Hi Brent,

      You’re clearly a genius with your commas! (<– see the your and you're in one sentence ;-).
      But having said that I don't think it will do you any harm to check out Grammarly. Give the free version a roll at least. It is amazing how it picks up even the small issues.

      Appreciate you stopping by and sharing!
      – David

      PS – Looked like you had a fun a week in the sun!

  • Hi David,

    Thanks so much for the introduction to Grammarly. I now have it as an extension in my Chrome apps.

    It’s always the tiny little things that get me so I can see this tool being really beneficial, especially now that I’m going to be contributing to business2community.com, Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post.

    The better the article is written, the better off we’re all going to be!!! Especially me, lol…

    Thanks much David. The video was really helpful.

    Have an awesome week!

    ~ Don Purdum

    • Hi Don,

      Great news on your writing assignments and I’m sure you’ll find that Grammarly helps you out. (BTW, I thought I’d read previously that you were using Dragon Dictation Software for your blog posts – is that correct?)

      Glad you liked the video – sometimes you just need to demonstrate features to get your message across.

      Have a great week!
      – David