I think that it’s safe to say that one of the most important skills that a person can have is the ability to write. Regardless of what professional field you ultimately decide to specialize in, you’ll find that you have to write wherever you go. As technology has advanced, we’ve seen word processing software become more and more advanced, as well. Features like spell-check have evolved into auto-correct. In this day and age, it’s a pretty heinous offense to turn in a paper that contains a spelling error. However, grammar is a different story.
The difference between spelling and grammar is that grammar is largely contextual. If I spell the word ‘conscious’ as ‘conshious’, it doesn’t matter how or where I’m using the word. It’s always wrong. However, the difference between proper and improper grammar doesn’t ever really come down to one word. It’s about the other words that surround that one word. So finding tools that are able to catch and correct grammatical errors has always posed a challenge. At this point in time, none of these tools will ever really be as effective as a well-trained and well-educated eye. Still, computers are learning. In this article, I’m going to talk about the top five best online grammar and punctuation checking tools. There are quite a few tools out there, but in my opinion, these are the best options in 2017.
GrammarCheck earns a spot on this list for convenience. GrammarCheck.me is a website where users are given a mini-word processor to do their work in. I found that this word processor was surprisingly robust, letting you format your document in ways that most web-based word processors don’t let you. For anyone experienced with the WordPress platform, GrammarCheck’s test editor is very similar to WordPress’s. After you type (or copy and paste) your text into the box, you click a button and wait for the website to work its magic. Then, it will point out each grammatical and spelling error that it spotted, allowing you to correct your mistakes. This website also features a little blog that posts different lessons on grammar and writing in general.
It’s a nifty resource, and I think that this particular website is ideal for someone who will just need to check for grammar mistakes every once in a while. I think that using it any more than that could prove to be inefficient. The text editor is great, but it is prone to bugs, and I had to refresh a few times to get it to do what I needed it to do. Plus, it doesn’t always catch errors. You see, GrammarCheck is a stripped-down version of a different, more comprehensive grammar tool called Grammarly. I don’t think that GrammarCheck is affiliated with Grammarly, either. The reason why I decided to place this tool so low on the list was because of that. You can easily get a more superior and similar product elsewhere. Still, it’s better than a lot of other grammar and punctuation checkers out there.
For a long time, Ginger has been thought of as one of the world’s premier grammar checking software. It’s easy to use, it’s affordable, and it is one of the more popular tools available. How did it become so popular? Ginger offers a plethora of different features that enables users to correct their grammatical errors in real time. With GrammerCheck.me, you input text and click a button for it to be checked. With Ginger, you download something to your computer, and the program is constantly checking and correcting your typing as you go. It is significantly much more convenient to use than some of the other “manual” checkers out there, and it is easy to get a hang of, too.
Ginger also places quite the emphasis on user education. It won’t just point out an error and tell you to fix it. The premium version of Ginger provides you with analyses to look at what sorts of errors you are making most often, and it offers lessons and exercises to help you work on those areas. It’s pretty ambitious, as far as grammar checking tools go, and unfortunately, I don’t think that it always works. Ginger is an older tool than some of the other grammar checking tools that I’ll talk about further down, and I think that shows in its effectiveness and implementation. You’ll find that the majority of grammar checking tools can be installed as a browser extension, whereas Ginger is a program that you have to fully download to your computer. That’s more or less excusable, but in my experience, Ginger isn’t very good at catching every kind of grammatical mistake. It isn’t as thorough as I think most people would like for it to be, which is why I chose to place this paid software so low on the list. Still, if you want a software with more of a reputation, then this is the one for you.
You may have noticed that I mentioned that Ginger is a paid software. It may be hard for you to see yourself spending large amounts of money on an application that performs such a simple purpose. You may be surprised to hear that a lot of grammar checking software is paid, offering annual, permanent or monthly licenses to use. Whitesmoke is one such software. You can purchase lifetime licenses for their regular and premium versions, which will run you $160 and $300, respectively. For reference, a month of Ginger costs around $6. I think that a lot of you may be reeling from sticker shock at this point, but let me take a moment to reassure you. Whitesmoke is a really great, high-quality product. Their premium version includes features like letter templates, a multi-language dictionary, and writing tutorials. All of these fantastic features come included along with standard plagiarism, spelling, and grammatical checkers. It is a really deep software, and I appreciate the level of quality and innovation that it brings to the table.
Still, for most people, spending money regularly (or spending hundreds of dollars at one time) on a grammar checking tool is hard to swallow. Whitesmoke offers a free Chrome extension for use, but I think it’s somewhat misleading to actually call it free. It still requires a license to use, which means that this software completely, without a doubt, costs money to use. (In fact, I would argue that the Chrome extension is actually a drawback. A quick Google search will show that it is very difficult to uninstall, and many people consider it to be something like an adware.) The software ahead of Whitesmoke on this list are free or at least offer a cost-free payment model. Although this may technically be the best software on this list, I don’t think that the cost is worth what you’re getting, in the end.
PaperRater is a little different from some of the other tools on this list. To begin with, it is primarily aimed at students. This website advertises itself as being a place where you can grade your papers before turning them in for an actual grade. Automated processes check spelling, grammar, punctuation, and even go so far as assigning scores to your papers. This is a surprisingly inexpensive tool, too. The basic plan allows you to send in papers with a maximum length of 5 pages. You can also purchase a standard license (which costs around $7 a month) which lets you submit papers that are up to 20 pages long. The paid version of the software is ad-free, offers more plagiarism checking, and is generally faster. Although I don’t think that this software is ideal for people who need a grammar/punctuation checker for regular or business use, it is an excellent tool for students.
For what it sets out to do, PaperRater does an excellent job. It’s effective, it’s fast, and it’s easy to use, even if you’re just using the free model. I feel like I should note that this software doesn’t actually grade your work based on content. It assigns scores based on grammar, spelling, word choice, and so on. Just because PaperRater says that your paper is perfect doesn’t mean that it actually is. However, if you’re someone in an academic setting who struggles a lot with these finer details of writing, then I can’t recommend this one enough. I would have loved to place this software at the top of this list, but I feel like the perfect grammar and punctuation checking tools should be a bit more versatile than this is. The next item on this list can be used in academic, business, or personal settings, and it offers a level of quality roughly on par with PaperRater.
As far as grammar and punctuation tools go, Grammarly is by far the top of its class. Grammarly can be installed as a Chrome extension, a Word extension, or a native app. This software checks your work against over 250 advanced grammar rules, it checks your spelling, and it even lets you know when you’ve used the same word too many times. The premium version of this software costs $11 per month, but in my opinion, it’s fully worth it. It’s updated often, and I can say without hesitation that it is the most advanced and comprehensive grammar and punctuation checking tools currently available on the market. Even if you choose not to drop the money on a premium license, the free version is more than more writers would ever need. The basic version checks your work against over 100 grammar rules, offers contextual spell check, and works anywhere on the web. As you write, Grammarly has a little counter in the corner of any text box that informs you when you’ve made a mistake. It’s unintrusive, but it’s enough to work.
Not only that, but Grammarly is very highly praised for its customer service, as well. One of the bigger issues that you may encounter with these more hands-off forms of software is that, in many cases, developers tend to be just as hands-off. If you run into an issue with something like GrammarChecker.me, for example, your complaints may fall on deaf ears. This software, however, is actively developed, actively monitored, and it has such a large user base that at the very least, you should be able to find a fellow user to help you out with any issues that you may have. Grammarly is unparalleled as far as grammar checking software goes, in my opinion, and I implore you to give it a look. If you’re still on the fence, you can take a look at some customer reviews regarding the product, as well.
And that’s that. Those are the top five best online grammar and punctuation checker tools that are currently available. Did I miss out on of your favorites? Disagree with how I placed some of these? Feel free to drop into the comments section below and share your thoughts.