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Does Grammarly Work?

Grammarly is a free service which checks your spelling and grammar as you type via a Google Chrome plugin. There are other ways to use Grammarly – Word plugins and so forth – and also a paid version with a desktop app.

You people – yes you – seem to like the Chrome plugin – over 10 million of you downloaded it, and it’s got a lot of stars for the reviews. Silicon Valley likes the notion too – $110 million was put forward by eager venture capitalists in 2017 to help the company grow.

grammarly-for-chrome

So Do I Use Grammarly?

I did. For a bit.

GrammarlyExampleI learnt grammar four decades ago. I’d like to say I’ve forgotten more about grammar than you’ve ever known, but that’s so blatantly untrue – I can’t even remember learning any grammar in the first place. I have pretty shoddy grammar most of the time, but don’t realise it. The odd time I do a writing course, people very gently tell me about “dangling modifiers”.

My brain thrives on the ambiguity of most English sentences. When I say thrive, I really mean, gets easily and frequently confused by.

So in theory, having a writing assistant and editor constantly helping might seem like a good thing. I could be clear of word and meaning. My sentences could be very highly graded by readers and google alike. ( google the great false god to which we worship, hoping to get more reads, likes, shares, subscribes or whatever to gain some external validation for our meaningless lives).

paperclipAnd I liked it for a bit. Who doesn’t love red pen on your exercise jotter – at least it means someone is reading your heartfelt missives right? (Oh that’s right, no snowflakes like red pens. Even less people like red pens than like cheery paperclips  – thanks uncyclopedia for the  reminder image of word processors of nightmares gone by.)

Do I Use Grammarly Now?

That would be a no.

Why Did I Like Grammarly?

  • I felt my writing was being read and critiqued
  • It seemed I was learning some grammar rules, even though it was at a glacial pace. Very hard to steer glaciers from the downhill.
  • I liked arguing with it when I thought my sentence was better (though perhaps less technically correct)
  • I passed it along to my former boss and former assistant, as I arrogantly thought their written communication was much worse than mine – it felt like I’d discovered a silver bullet for poor writing.

Why Don’t I Use Grammarly?

  • I’m sick of plugins. They each have a lifespan of a few weeks before I boot them out of the pram.
  • I don’t like sending everything I type to someone if it’s not going to be public.
  • It’s like when I use a satnav – it takes me 10 times as long to learn a route to somewhere if I’m using the satnav (GPS for you American people) to navigate. (Yes grammarly would have whooped my ass for the last sentence and my full stops are all wrong).
  • I’m sick of freemium upsells and have no intention of spending $30 monthly on anything that doesn’t at least give me a foot massage.
  • Gmail already reads most of what I write – it also suggests what I might type to people and does that thing that really annoys my family when I do it – finish the sentence. At some point, my half-bot gmail will be conversing with someone else’s half-bot gmail while I play video games in a bath of nutrients in a waking dream, but I’m not sure if I want to dilute my half with Grammarly.

Would I Use Grammarly Again?

Possibly. I might install it for a while during the great book writing push. (Yes, I’m aware that every person has a book inside them, and that’s perhaps where it should stay.) For now though, I’ll just keep splitting my infinitives, making my antecedents vague and occasionally see what grammar and punctuation errors the masses are making and steer clear of them as much as my human brain can manage.

Should You Use Grammarly?

It only takes 90 seconds to sign up, but that doesn’t make it okay. I’d give it a whirl so that at least you can have an opinion at last year’s dinner party when it was still interesting to talk about it.

Why Am I Writing About Grammarly in 2018?

About 90% of the ads I see on YouTube are for Grammarly, so I thought I’d check in to see what it’s about.

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