Every writer needs an editor. If you want to be taken seriously as an author, there’s just no way around it. A good editor will strengthen your work and find the errors that you’re too close to see. I’ve spent years editing other authors and still have little chance of catching my own mistakes.
But there are many times when it’s not practical or possible to access an editor, proofreader or second set of eyeballs on short notice. This is especially true for authors who are blogging!
So I was excited recently to hear from a publishing friend in the northwest that he had discovered an online app called Grammarly. Said Dale, “It’s interesting and is a lot better than simple spellcheckers.”
I checked it out and had to agree. The program lets you check and correct over 250 different types of grammar mistakes, spanning everything from double negatives to faulty parallelisms. It’s easy to paste in your work and correct it right there. The results are well-defined. (I tested this unedited post to produce the feedback shown in the above graphic).
But it can also check a piece for originality, which is quite interesting. “I loaded a couple of things into it for its review,” said Dale, “and one piece was identified as being over 80 percent unoriginal. I was curious about that, so I clicked on the comment line and it pulled up three versions of the piece. How it found them is beyond me, but it’s cool to think it made some serious internet search for content.”
According to their website, “Grammarly’s plagiarism checker crosschecks your text against over 8 billion web pages, detecting plagiarized passages and highlighting sections that have been previously published elsewhere.”
That’s impressive. I went in and tested a few pieces myself, both original and bits I knew ran elsewhere, and found equally surprising and impressive results. This might even prove a useful tool to check if others are out there “borrowing” our words…
The site has a trial available, and pricing based on how many months you purchase. I went ahead and grabbed it for a year. As much as I write and don’t have the proper time to read through as carefully as I should, I figure it ought to save me at least that $12 a month in embarrassing errors!
And, even if a piece is heading to your editor, it’s in your best interest to make sure it’s already as tight as you can get it. Your editor can spend less time on spelling and grammar issues and more on the meat of your message.
So, while we’re always going to stand by using an editor, this is one nifty tool that can make both your lives easier. And, it will serve as a great virtual assistant for any of your writing that requires a quick self-edit.
Has anyone else given Grammarly a try? Please share your thoughts with your comment below!