REVIEW: Grammarly, a web-based grammar-checking program

So my friend B found and linked to this site, Grammarly, and I was intrigued, so decided to check it out.

In order to get an actual breakdown of the proofreading, however, you need to register.

And in order to register, you need to give them payment information for a 7-day free trial with automatic billing if you don’t cancel your subscription before then.

SO! In order to save any of my fellows the trouble of doing that, I have done it and am presenting a detailed summary of how well (or not) it works!

TL;DR: it is terrible for fiction, might be good for academic or professional paper writing.

Let’s begin with the interface.

So that’s how it looks. The right-hand side menu gives an overview of how much it found wrong, and also allows you to click to a specific category of errors to navigate through them specifically.

Since I’m just going through all of them, I’m just using that little ‘Next’ link on the error-info window to progress through the list.

Also, you can see it shows the text which was flagged as an ‘error’ in this context highlighted red, with an explanation of the error and a brief grammar lesson thing.

The ‘Long Explanation’ is basically just a less-brief grammar lesson, so I ignored them because I am grammatically educated.

Now, moving on to the actual grammatical analysis.

Okay, that’s interesting. I admit, it’s a kind of odd turn of phrase on my part, so I can see where that comes from. However, the ‘a’ is actually an article on the ‘half dozen’, not on ‘roses’, so it’s fine.

Fairish point, but I’m using it to modify an adjective, not a verb. It’s exactly where it’s supposed to be.

Haha! I didn’t even know “faulty parallelism” was a thing, actually, in the sense of the term. I just call it verb agreement (which is not the same as subject-verb agreement), but I guess this is why I am not a grammar teacher.

Anyway, JOKE’S ON YOU, “being” is a gerund here so my parallelism is not, in fact, faulty.

…er…….. no. “Perfumed” is an adjective here, and so is “origami”. The noun is “orchids”. (To be fair(?), it is a sentence fragment, so maybe that confused it.)

Nice try but no, it is in fact supposed to be an infinitive right there. Sorry.

I sat here for a few moments just going “omitted words? What?”

And then I realized it thinks the subject of that sentence is “myself”. Ha? No?

My complex sentences apparently confuse the heck out of the poor thing.

It says the subject is the word “her”. Can you find the word “her”? HERE’S A TIP: It’s not even remotely a subject. (I actually had to read it three times before realizing “oh, wait, THAT’S the word they think is the subject?”)

…Huh. I didn’t know that. This warrants further investigation. Potentially good catch.

No, that’s not a comma splice, it’s a… I forget what the word for it is. I do it a lot, though. I just call it an introductory phrase.

It’s totally fine, although I think maybe there should be a comma after “Now”?

That is not doing any of the things you think it’s doing; it’s being a serial comma. Then again, you didn’t realize ‘being’ was a gerund, so…

Grammarly does not like my asides, it appears.

Well, I just reviewed it and I can assure you that there are no commas here between the subject and the verb. (Because there’s no subject.)

Okay so this is in retrospect a terribly written sentence, but it is not in fact a comma splice. It should be rewritten anyway.

Yeah… that’s a sentence fragment. I got nothin’.

Oh well that’s okay, this isn’t formal writing! (I skipped all the other ‘And’ ones because boring.)

Yeahhh that’s a sentence fragment alright.

Also a sentence fragment!

As it turns out, I use quite a lot of sentence fragments in dialogue, so I skipped the rest of them because it was getting tedious.

Okay, okay, that is a horrible sentence. It is. I admit it. But it’s not a sentence fragment. (I know, I know, it sounds like one, but it’s not! ‘His amusement’ is the subject!)

Hmm. Interesting thing to catch! I rather approve. In this particular case, however, it is actually relevant. I could theoretically have said “Is this an elaborate joke?” but the “some sort of” gives it a particular impact.

Also, I think they are going more for writing things such as “that is sort of nice”.

Ooh, another one! That’s fair. I could scrap ‘generally’. I wonder if the effect on the tone would be too much.

“Oh it’s this sentence again.”

Grammarly still does not like my asides.

And it’s still confused as all get-out by my gerund “being”. (I copied the whole thing for the passive voice this time so you can see it, but shan’t for the next few.)

This is, in fact, the passive voice. But I think it’s a legitimate use. “A quiet sound from behind me distracted me from my musings.” No, the passive is better there. It keeps the emphasis on “I”, which is where it should be.

Same as the last one. Interestingly enough, I appear to have used the passive voice for partly the same reason both of these times. This one, however, I also used it for the subject agreement with the second clause.

…yeah no that’s not the passive voice this time, it’s just past.

That’s a copula.

That’s still a copula.

“Hey it’s that sentence again!” Is it the passive if you have an implied doer, i.e. what the thing is being done by? Questioning minds would like to know.

Haha, Grammarly does not like my apostrophes. It yelled at me all four times!

Oh boy. Well, this isn’t formal writing, so…

It yelled at me for every single contraction, which I decided really did not need to be posted.

I am sensing this was definitely not designed to accommodate fiction.

…interesting! I like it! This would potentially be very useful indeed.

It caught all of my uses of ones you would expect; very, nice, good. But…

Simple? Really? You think “easy” is less vague and overused than “simple”? Really?

Boring is a perfectly fine word, I shall have you know!

And that’s that. I am definitely going to be cancelling my account; it is really not worth the kind of money they are charging at all. Even if you are writing formal papers and whatnot. (I hope it’s not too difficult to unsubscribe, blah.)

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