Contents
- Introduction
- Alexander's Review
- My Questions
- Weekly Statistics
- Conclusion
 

Imagine a free app that shows you grammar mistakes you're making, corrects your spelling, and gives you advice about how to improve your writing. Sounds good, right?

Well, that app exists. It's called Grammarly.

 
Grammarly in action - corrections and suggestions on the right

Grammarly in action - corrections and suggestions on the right

 

It's used by people who write for a living, like Pat Flynn. He is a famous businessman who makes tens of thousands of dollars a month from his writing.

It's also used by some of my students, including Alexander from Moscow.

Here's Alexander's review of this cool software:


Review by Alexander, April 2016

Grammarly is great and free.

It doesn't matter which exam you're taking - FCE, CAE, or IELTS - there is always an essay to write. I believe that Grammarly is a great tool because it checks your essays at a professional level - without professional prices!

Superior Error Correction

Grammarly is the most convenient tool which corrects spelling and punctuation errors. Microsoft Word will find some spelling mistakes, but Grammarly finds more. And unlike MS Word, Grammarly gives advice on your writing, and interesting and useful recommendations about things like word order.

It's a simple plug-in for the Google Chrome browser, so it's all done online and doesn't take up any of your disk space. It saves corrections in case the browser crashes unexpectedly - so you'll never lose your work.

And because all your previous writing is stored in the Grammarly app, you can find anything you've written in just seconds. That's great for looking up phrases you used before, or looking back to see how much your writing has improved.

Finally, there is the option to upgrade and get even more functionality; unfortunately, it is available only for a charge.

In short, Grammarly is able to check essays quickly and with a high level of quality.

Grammarly Saves You Money

Another benefit is that Grammarly is easy on your wallet. The process of preparing for exams costs time and money. Joining an exam course, hiring a private teacher, or even just paying for someone to check your writing - none of these is cheap...

However, the basic Grammarly version does not require money.  Of course, it is no substitute for a professional tutor. However, it is better to use the teacher for deep aspects of the language than to correct basic mistakes. That is to say, Grammarly does routine work and does it for free.

[Note from Andrew - this is a great point! Not to be arrogant but I don't make those 'routine' mistakes which is why I didn't see the value in Grammarly at first.]

In conclusion, if you're starting to prepare for an exam, download Grammarly. It's an assistant who is standing by ready to help you 24 hours a day, and will serve you at no cost until the day of your exam.


Grammarly Questions

Now, that's a pretty convincing review! But I had some questions and Alexander was happy to answer them.

Do you have examples of how it helped your English?

Unfortunately, I can't go back and see the mistakes I made in the past. That's because Grammarly already corrected them!

However, there are a couple of things I remember:

  • That is to say you should... (no comma here! In my language there would be a comma)
  • Facing with the hardships...  (don't use the preposition "with")
  • These mistakes, and others, are not seen by Microsoft Word


Do you know which mistakes you make better now?

Yes. Grammarly told me my problems are:

  • Commas.
  • Prepositions.
  • Verb forms
  • Spelling correction.
  • In addition, feedback is gotten immediately in comparison with a tutor, where the response is only after correction has been done.

Are you interested in buying the premium version?

Yes. Only greediness stops me from doing this. :)

There are some ways to get it free for a week, like telling your friends about it. I will try that.

By the way, Grammarly has been correcting my writing while I am typing this email. I don't have to go to a special page!


Weekly Statistical Feedback

Alexander forwarded me an email he got from Grammarly. They send it to him every week and it has some interesting and motivational statistics.

If YOU wrote 2500 words a week, do you think your writing would get better?

185 mistakes in 2553 words. What do you think about that? Would it be good to know how many mistakes you were making?

Now this is very useful for FCE students. Remember all those times I encouraged you to use special words? Here's a big yellow number that tells you how many special words you used!

OH MY GOD I THINK I LOVE GRAMMARLY.

This is the bit where they try to sell you something. You see, they don't tell you ALL your mistakes. I have seen the premium version and it gives you a LOT of information. You might think it's expensive, but it depends how much you write. If you have an exam soon or if you run a small business you might think the premium price is very cheap.

But the free version is free - you really can't complain about that!

This is great information. I wish I could give statistics like this to my students. 'You made 18 mistakes with the second conditional this week! Go and study unit 11 in the book!'

By the way, this is totally accurate. I've corrected a few of Alexander's essays and articles ARE his biggest problem.

And it finishes with a link to an article about writing. This week it's quotation marks. Another free service!


Final Word

If you want to improve your writing this is a great tool. Go and download it!

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