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Grammarly Review: The Free vs Paid Version

In today’s post, I’m going to break down everything you need to know about Grammarly. This Grammarly review is the most in-depth you’ll find, including tons of screenshots and examples.

What is Grammarly?

The short explanation: Grammarly is a tool to help make you a better writer, checking for both spelling and grammar errors.

The detailed explanation: If you spend a lot of time writing on the computer then you probably wish you could have a personal proofreader to help you.

Grammarly could be that proofreader. While no tool will be the same as having a human proofreader, Grammarly, even the free version of Grammarly, can save you from making embarrassing errors.  

Grammarly works best as a Chrome extension checking your writing on the web, but can also work within Microsoft products. It goes beyond the typical spell check.

Grammarly is your personal writing assistant, checking grammar, repeat phrases, and helps you to improve your writing skills by explaining your mistakes.

In this review I’m going to explain how Grammarly works, the differences between the free and paid version, and why I love using Grammarly.

How Grammarly Can Help You

Whether you have a 9-5 job, are a student, are freelancing, or just trying to build your own business on your corner of the web, Grammarly can help.

Stand Out at Work

We’ve all seen them, the office email with a terrible typo or just straight up using the wrong word, like “your” instead of “you’re”. It can hurt to read it and its extremely embarrassing if you’re the one who sent the email.

Grammarly can help you to make sure that doesn’t happen because unfortunately not all of us have assistants to check that for us.

Grammarly works in Microsoft Outlook, and on the web, so pretty much whatever tool you use for email, you can use Grammarly.

While a typo here or there in an email can be forgiven easily enough, an error in a presentation, contract, or other work product could have much bigger consequences. Unfortunately, the longer you work on a project the less likely you are to see any errors.

Grammarly can help point out, explain, and prevent those errors from making it through to the final version.

Grammarly Can Help Students Improve Their Grades

When I was in school Microsoft Word’s spell checker and grammar checker was the only option for a technical set of eyes to review your work, and while it would catch errors it didn’t help me become a better writer.

Unlike some other tools out there Grammarly not only catches any mistakes it also explains it’s suggestions so you can learn and not make the same mistakes again.

Which means students become better writers even when they aren’t or can’t use Grammarly.

Freelance Faster

When I was working to grow my freelance writing business, writing well was essential. Which meant proofreading was essential. However, the best proofreading came after taking a break from work.

But when I was rocking my business, I had lots of work and I didn’t always have time to walk away from my work and then come back to proofread. Which is where having Grammarly (the paid version) came in, it helped me to quickly check my writing.

Become a Better Blogger

There is so much content creation involved in blogging. It’s not just blog posts, it’s also writing social media copy, freebies, paid products, image descriptions, the list goes on.

When you’re constantly creating content that is sure to be judged by internet trolls having help from a writing assistant goes a long way.

But not all bloggers can afford to hire an actual writing assistant or VA. Which is once again, where Grammarly can help. The free version is always free and even the paid version is a lot less expensive than a virtual assistant would cost to check all your work.

What Grammarly Does

Grammarly checks your spelling, grammar, and even provides suggestions to improve your writing. There are three different ways you can use Grammarly:

  • Within Grammarly’s site 
  • With the Grammarly browser extension on your preferred browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer) that will check any writing you do online
  • As a Microsoft Office extension (Word, Outlook)

What all Grammarly checks will depend on if you are using the free or paid version.

Grammarly for free will check for critical spelling and grammar mistakes.

But the paid version, known as Grammarly Premium, does more than just check for critical errors, it will also check:

  • Punctuation
  • Context
  • Sentence structure

But the paid version doesn’t just check your writing for errors it will also provide suggestions to improve your writing.

Grammarly Premium gives you:

  • Vocabulary suggestions
  • Style checks
  • Plagiarism checker

How Grammarly Works

Within Grammarly’s site:

First, you need to sign in, then you’ll see your writing dashboard:

To start a new document either click New or Upload.

From there you’ll see your new document and all that’s left to do is to start writing:

Once you start writing you’ll see Grammarly start to check your work and show you what changes it suggests and why.

To make the change all you have to do is click on the change, highlighted in green.

Using the Internet Browser Extension:

I suggest that the first time you use the browser extension, you check the settings:

Then once you start typing you’ll start to see the Grammarly logo spin and you’ll either see a green or red dot letting you know if there are any errors. When you hover over the dot it will give you the option to edit in Grammarly.

If you click on it, a pop-up window will show up giving you a mini Grammarly editing page, similar to using the Grammarly site directly.

To make any changes just click on the suggested change.

From there you can return to the site you were working in by clicking the left top corner button.

Alternatively, instead of editing in Grammarly you could choose to make the changes directly in the site you’re using, in my case Facebook:

Using Grammarly for Microsoft Office

If you’ve got a PC, there is also Grammarly for Microsoft Office. Unfortunately, it is not supported on Mac, so I don’t have experience using it that way. But I find I do most of my writing online anyway.

(By the way if you use Grammarly for Microsoft Office, please let me know what you think of it in the comments!)

Using Grammarly in Google Docs

I just found out and am super excited that Grammarly is currently beta testing having Grammarly work in Google Docs. For a long time, this was my biggest issue with Grammarly.

I do most of my writing in Google Docs and to have it checked through Grammarly always meant having to copy and past it somewhere, but no more!

For a chance to get invited to the Beta, make sure you have the Grammarly extension installed and turned on when working in a Google Doc. Just like anywhere else it will underline suggested edits in red.

When you hover over the mistake it shows the suggestions and when you click on the word it makes the change.

Grammarly Settings To Personalize Your Experience

Different industries will often refer to tools or terms that aren’t part of the dictionary, like solopreneur. Or words that may be spelled differently depending on where you’re from, like favorite or favourite. You don’t want to constantly have to make those changes or stare at red lines in your document.

Grammarly has thought of that and allows you to customize your Grammarly experience with your personal dictionary and language preference.

Personal Dictionary

Your personal dictionary includes all the terms you add. You can add terms either by typing them into your personal dictionary under your Grammarly profile:

You can also add terms when making corrections to your document:

Language Preference

Grammarly offers you the choice of four different language preferences:

  • American English
  • British English
  • Canadian English
  • Australian English

They even explain the differences between them:

You can decide on your language preference under your profile settings.

How Grammarly Could be Better

While I love Grammarly, it’s not a perfect tool.

Occasionally, when I step away from a page for a while to work on something else, I find I have to save the draft and refresh the page to get Grammarly checking my work again.

Though it is nice that I can always tell if it is actively checking by the Grammarly symbol in the bottom right-hand corner of the text box.

Now that Grammarly is in beta testing for Google Docs, the only other issues I have is that when working in the Grammarly desktop app, you can’t break up your writing with headings.

How Much Grammarly Costs

So now that you know what it does and how it works, you may be wondering how much it costs. Well, that depends on the version you get.

Grammarly has a free version that I used for a long time when I was just blogging. However, if you are looking to pursue freelance writing, I would recommend upgrading to the paid version.

Grammarly offers three different price points for the Premium paid version, the longer the subscription the cheaper the monthly cost gets.

You can pay:

  • Month-to-month for $29.95.
  • Quarterly for $59.95 (monthly cost = $19.98/mo)
  • Annually for $139.95 (monthly cost = $11.66)

As a freelance writer, just one writing gig a month would more than cover the cost (if not, you need to be charging more) of Grammarly. Heck, one writing gig could pay the entire cost ($139.92/year) for a year.

When is Grammarly Premium Worth it?

When you can see a return on the investment.  If you’re looking at a cost of $139.95 then you should be able to see a return on that investment. That return could be in:

  • Higher paying freelance writing clients
  • A job promotion from producing perfect presentations and emails
  • A great grade that helps you land a job or internship
  • More money from your blog where you produce perfect blog posts (that are well monetized)
  • Get fewer emails from grammar trolls (though the exact value of this will vary)

How to Sign up for Grammarly

First, you need to go here and click “Add to [your browser”  to start creating your profile. Starting with your email address:

Followed by creating your password:

And finally your name:

Next, you have the opportunity to personalize Grammarly by selecting the reason for your writing and your skill level:

After clicking the Continue button, you’ll need to click the button at the bottom of the page to save your settings:

Finally, it’s time to choose whether you want the free or paid version of Grammarly:

Signing up for Grammarly for Free

To sign up for the free version of Grammarly simply click the “Continue to Grammarly” button. It will take you to the web app version of Grammarly:

Signing up for the Premium Version of Grammarly

If you want to sign up for the Premium version of Grammarly, you’ll click the “Get Grammarly Premium” button.

Next, you’ll be taken to a page to select the Premium plan you would like:

After selecting your chosen plan, you’ll be taken to the payment screen, you can pay via credit card or Paypal:


Upon completing the checkout process you’ll get directed to the Grammarly web app and see a lot more suggestions and corrections.

Grammarly Review: Quick Pros & Cons

To sum it up for you here is some more information in the form some quick pros and cons.


  • Grammarly is Free to use
  • Explains what is wrong so you can learn from your mistakes
  • Sends you a weekly update on how much writing you’ve done and the number of mistakes
  • Integrates with the other tools you use for your writing


  • More advanced corrections are only available on the paid version
  • Sometimes the requires the page to be refreshed in order for Grammarly to actively check your writing
  • When using the Grammarly site you can’t use headings in your writing

Bottom Line

It’s a no brainer to sign up for Grammarly for free and if you’re working towards a goal where your writing can play a role in the outcome, Grammarly Premium is likely worth the cost of just $139.95 a year.

With its ability to work almost anywhere you write, Grammarly makes it easy to have a second pair of eyes checking your writing.

Have any questions about Grammarly? Let me know in the comments!

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