There is nothing worse than sending off a business email or posting a blog entry, only to realize later that you have typos or poor grammar. How did that happen? After all, you use Microsoft Word, which has a built-in spell checking feature. Unfortunately, this type of spell checker is basic, nothing fancy.
The good news is you don’t have to solely rely on your word processing software to help you avoid embarrassment. There are other grammar checking and proofreading resources out there to assist in your writing endeavors.
Although most of these tools have free versions, albeit, with limited features, you will still find them effective. What and where can you get one of these helpers?
Whether it's via websites, browser plugins, or apps, checking grammar has never been easier. Here is a rundown of five popular prose checkers you may want to give a try.
New writers and professionals alike will find Grammarly an affordable writing tool that is available as a Word add-in, browser plugin, an app for desktop, Android and iOS devices. Grammarly will identify:
- Spelling errors
- Grammatical mistakes
- Wordy sentences
- Repetitive words
- Passive voice
Unlike Microsoft Word’s spell checker, Grammarly will not automatically correct your errors. That is up to you using the suggestions Grammarly provides.
A premium subscription ranges from $29.95 per month, $59.95 quarterly to $139.95 yearly. They offer additional features such as advanced checks for punctuation, grammar, context and sentence structure, genre-specific writing style checks, and a plagiarism detector.
ProWritingAid is geared toward professional writers, including authors, editors, copywriters and students. It will help improve content with an easy-to-use interface that includes a style editor and writing strengths/weaknesses reports. Plans range from $60-$210 for a premium subscription and $70-$320 for the Premium Plus, which provide 50 plagiarism checks per year.
Similar to Grammarly and ProWritingAid, Ginger is a real-time proofreading tool for online use and as a browser plugin. This powerful web app is ideal for writers of all levels and provides a few unique features such as the ability to translate text in 40+ different languages and a text reader.
Both are available with the premium subscription plan, priced at $20.97 monthly, $41.97 quarterly, or $89.88 yearly. The benefit of Ginger’s text reader is text is read out loud, helping you hear and visualize any errors.
Available for Mac OS, Windows desktop, web and mobile use, WhiteSmoke features are comparable to other word editing tools. While this grammar checking application is proficient at detecting mistakes and offering corrections, it provides over 100 document and letter templates, and translation of full text and word-to-word in 55 languages.
Another advantage WhiteSmoke has over its competitors is its video tutorials and error explanations that won’t leave you wondering about mistakes. Whether it's for freelance work or professional use, WhiteSmoke has monthly, annual and 3 year subscription options.
Depending on your desired plan, prices vary from $9.95 per month to $299.95 for a premium 3-year subscription. The bad news is there is no trial or free version of WhiteSmoke.
The Hemingway app is best for writers of all ages as is evident with its ‘readability’ score to help ensure sentences are not too difficult for readers. In addition, the free web version can check an unlimited number of words for the overuse of adverbs, passive voice and offers simpler alternatives to phrases.
One disadvantage to the free edition of Hemingway is the inability to save or export your work; it’s all about cutting and pasting. However, there is a desktop app available for a one-time cost of $19.99, which provides the ability to perform both these tasks. The desktop version also allows for editing of HTML and direct publishing to Medium, WordPress, other blogging platforms or CMS.
While these tools are efficient at catching most misspellings and other errors; they are not perfect and should not be considered a replacement for a human proofreader. Depending on your needs, you may decide to use one or a combination of them.
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