How To Learn Grammar and Improve Your Writing Fast – Grammarly Review

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grammarly logoYour website and all aspects of it including design, images, and even code, exist to support one thing,

words.

And yet many sites pay little attention to their lifeblood. Content is cranked out to meet some arbitrary posting schedule or to share an idea without giving it much thought. If you’re among them don’t beat yourself up, many of us have been at one time or another, but it’s time to come to grips with the fact that mediocre content isn’t worth bothering with.

There are a lot of things that contribute to making content mediocre but among the easiest to change is grammar. I’ll admit, grammar it’s not my forte’ but I’m working on it. Fortunately there are tools available to help those of us who are grammar challenged.

By using the right tools, you’ll find that your writing will naturally improve, and you will learn (or relearn) many of the rules once forgotten. Best of all, if you write regularly and use the tools at your disposal, you can improve quickly.

Grammarly – The On-Line Grammar Tutor

Grammarly is like having a virtual grammar tutor. If you’re grammar challenged, every, post, page & landing page should go through it.

Using Grammarly is as simple as copying your text and pasting it into Grammarly’s window and clicking “Start Review.”

Depending on the length of your post Grammarly will take several seconds to run checking over 250 aspects of grammar. Once the check is complete, Grammarly will give you a score (from 0 – 100) on how you did and highlight the issues it finds broken down by type. From there Grammarly will walk you thorough recommend corrections.

Your goal isn’t to score 100. It’s fine if you score 100, but you might be intentionally doing something (like my break-out of the word “words” at the top of this post) that will make it flag an error. It’s good to know the rules, even when we mean to break them.

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A grammar error identified and explained in Grammarly

Making corrections is as easy as clicking on the suggested change in most cases. But since we’re here to learn, it’s helpful to pay attention to the explanations Grammarly provides for each flagged item.

Issues With Grammarly

Occasionally, I do run into a couple of glitches with Grammarly. For example, it will tell me that I’m missing a comma so I’ll add the comma as recommended and re-run the check. On the next pass, it will tell me the comma I just added is not correct. It doesn’t happen often but is confusing when it does, though most of the time it’s easy to tell whether a comma is out-of-place.

The contextual spell checker occasionally suggests “too” when you used “to” even though “too” is correct.

Other than that, I’ve not had any notable hiccups.

Additional Benefits of Grammarly

One of the added benefits of Grammarly is the built-in plagiarism tool which is helpful if you’re extensively quoting or referencing large sections of other works but don’t want to go overboard.

Grammarly also offers context optimized synonyms, which is a fancy way of saying that it will flag words that might benefit from being replaced with something more specific or correct.

The spell checker will also check spelling context, so you don’t publish “too” when you meant “to” (but see above under “Issues”).

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Personalized Grammarly Dashboard (click the image to enlarge)

Grammarly also provides you with a dashboard which will show you a personalized breakdown of your most common grammar errors as well as a customized grammar handbook based on that breakdown. So when I say Grammarly is a virtual tutor I mean it!

Finally, if you are a Microsoft Office user, Grammarly comes with an add-in so you can run it right from within Word and Outlook.

Grammarly is a powerful tool, especially if, like me, you struggle a little with the myriad of confusing rules of grammar.

Take Grammarly for a free spin and if you sign up let me know how it works for you!

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Comments

  1. Will Heigh says

    I am wondering if you used Grammarly on the text on this page. If you did, then it should not be a program/service that you should trust. Here are several examples why:
    1) “And yet many sites pay little attention to their lifeblood. Content is cranked out to meet some arbitrary posting schedule or to share an idea without giving it much thought. If you’re among them don’t beat yourself up, many of us have been at one time or another, but it’s time to come to grips with the fact that mediocre content isn’t worth bothering with.”
    Ignoring the fact that you start the first sentence with a conjunction and end the third with a preposition [I know, but it's still poor form], the topic of the paragraph is suggested by “many sites” and “content is cranked out”. Suddenly you break with topic and write “If you’re among them” — them what? If “I” am among the websites? Surely, you meant to write “If your site is amongst them”. Few grammar checkers identify this type of break with logic and precision.

    2)”I’ll admit, grammar it’s not my forte’ but I’m working on it.”
    A fine sentiment, but forte is not spelled with an apostrophe. It is also not spelled using “é”. It is spelled “forte”. Your desire for the apostrophe or the “é” suggests that you also want people to pronounce it “FOR-tay”, which is incorrect. The word “forte”, meaning “an area of expertise; personal strength ” is pronounced “FORT”. The word that is pronounced “FOR-tay” is a Latin word, a musical term meaning “play this LOUDLY”.

    Next: people are not “grammar challenged”, they are “grammatically challenged”.

    3) “Best of all, if you write regularly and use the tools at your disposal, you can improve quickly.”
    As opposed to writing “irregularly”? Surely, you meant “often”, because only by writing often can anyone improve.

    4) “If you’re grammar challenged, every, post, page & landing page should go through it.”
    Ampersands (&) are not grammatical substitutes for the word “and”.

    5) “like my break-out of the word ‘words’ at the top of this post”
    There is no term “break-out” (including a hyphen) in the English language, or any of its dictionaries. Also, your diction helper should have helped you choose “emphasis on”.

    6) “…though most of the time it’s easy to tell whether a comma is out-of-place.”
    Here again is a grammar/spelling issue. There is no term extant where the phrase “out of place” contains a hyphen, let alone two of them.

    These diction/grammatical/punctuation errors are obviously not being caught by Grammarly, and therefore I suggest the use of a published style guide of some sort. ‘The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage’ is wonderful; ‘The BBC News Style Guide’ is quicker and easier to find. For the former, any good bookstore should have a copy; for the latter, contact me at the above email and I’d be glad to attach a copy to my reply.

    Cheers to good writing!

    Regards,

    Will