Grammarly on test - intelligently correct writing errors

Grammarly is an app, a browser extension and a website that aims to improve your writing by correcting mistakes and typing slips. What can the Apple Mac app do for your writing?

Few people can write perfect English (or American), but even if you can, your writing might still contain errors because of typing slips. It is really hard not to make the occasional mistake when typing and it can make you look bad, especially in your work documents, emails, job applications, and writing articles for the web or print. (Note to self, use Grammarly more!)

Grammarly is designed to find and highlight the errors everyone makes when writing and typing and then it enables you to correct them by offering suggested fixes.

The first part of this article will focus on the app for the Apple Mac, but there are other ways to use Grammarly, such as a Safari or Chrome extension, the website, and a Windows app. Scroll down for a look at the browser extension.

 

The Grammarly Mac app

To get the app and extension, first go to the website in a browser and click the big red button, Get Grammarly. A Safari extension is downloaded if you are using Apple’s browser and you must then click the file in the Downloads folder. It is a similar story with Chrome and Firefox and there are extensions to install that add Grammarly to the browser.

Grammarly

Once the extension is up and running you are then prompted to create a free Grammarly account at the website. After filling in the brief registration details consisting of an email address and password, you can log in.

Right at the top of the Grammarly home page for your new account is Add Grammarly to OS X (it prompts you to install the Windows app if you are using Windows). Click the button.

Grammarly website

The app is downloaded and double-clicking the .dmg file in the Downloads folder on the Mac opens this window. Drag the Grammarly app to the Applications folder.

Install grammarly in OS X

Run the app. If OS X security settings will not allow apps from sources outside of the Mac App Store, go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, General and select the option to allow apps downloaded from anywhere. You will need to click the padlock and enter your admin account password to change this setting.

When the app opens, there are one or more tiles. Click New to create a new document and type in some text, or click Import and select a file, such as a .doc file. It imports several popular document types. You can also create a new document in Grammarly and copy and paste text from elsewhere to analyse it.

Grammarly app for Mac

The text is displayed in the app on the left and on the right are the errors that have been detected. Only brief details of each error are displayed, but clicking in the text at a highlighted error displays a box with an explanation that describes what is wrong.

Scroll through the document, pausing at the highlighted mistakes and type in the suggested correction.

Grammarly app for OS X

Grammarly is simply an aid to better writing and it is not always right. For example, if you use technical jargon then words and phrases might be highlighted as errors even when they are correct. The app does not know every technical term, so it is important to use your judgement when deciding whether to apply a fix or to ignore the highlighted fault.

Your text is in red and Grammarly’s correction is in green. Clicking the green text replaces the red highlighted error.

Grammarly app for Mac

Click the pen icon on the left and a panel pops out that enables you to configure the features. The ones displayed here are the free ones.

 

The Grammarly browser extension

Browser extensions are available for Safari, Chrome and Firefox and if you have made it this far, it should be installed and ready to use.

Grammarly is able to detect when you are typing into a web page and it highlights spelling and typing errors, and also grammar problems too.

Grammarly browser extension

In this screenshot, an email is being written using the Mail app at the iCloud website. It has underlined three problems, two of which are spelling/typing errors and one is grammar. Click a highlighted problem and click the green suggested text to fix it.

Grammarly browser extension

This is a good example of Grammarly and even though the spelling of the word weather is correct, it has spotted that the usage is incorrect. Clicking the highlighted word displays a box asking if whether was meant instead. Clicking the green text changes the text in the email.

Some obviously badly written text above is 'wot I wrote' and it has not been highlighted by Grammarly. Why? Perhaps because I am using the free version. It does say that more errors can be identified by subscribing. However, even the free service is well worth having and your writing will be better with Grammarly than without it.

Whether you want to pay for the premium service or not is up to you and the basic free features will suit some people, but others will want to analyse their text further and correct even more mistakes.

 

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