Is Grammarly terrible?

I’m often asked by students if Grammarly is any good. I always advise against relying too strongly on it. I have worked with clients who have used it as an alternative to paying a professional and have quickly discovered its limitations. That said, I do sometimes find Grammarly useful, but in a in a limited capacity and in specific contexts. 

My standard proofreading process is to read through a document on paper first – this is the best way for me to get the gist of a document – the language, the tone and level of formality of the writing. I enjoy working on paper because it’s easy on the eye and I can work anywhere, usually away from my desk. I will then create a query sheet or work using tracked changes or comments on the document, depending on the client’s preferences and the format of the work. Once that is done I will have another read through on screen. Finally, when I am happy it is ‘good enough’ I will prepare it to use with Grammarly. 

Working in-document can get quite messy – so if there are comments or tracked changes on a document, I will save it as a new document and accept all changes and delete any comments. Only then do I switch Grammarly on, and working with this document side by side with the master document, I may pick up on a few additional errors. I wouldn’t expect any typos to be in the document at this stage, but Grammarly can be good at picking up on idiosyncratic issues such as use of tense. Once I’ve made any further corrections, I will print off the master document, make a cup of tea, and work through the whole thing one final time. Editing a document follows a similar process albeit it is longer and with a few more rounds. 

So to summarise – Grammarly and other similar programmes have their place – but they cannot replace professional and experienced proofreaders and editors. 

local_offerevent_note March 29, 2021

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