Using a robot proofreader: Yay or Nay?

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I wanted to pit myself against a robot, or in this case a program, and see if I would survive the robot apocalypse. Something like that.

Okay, not really. I was going to do a post about my favorite freelancer’s tools when I received an email about Grammarly, an automated online proofreader. According to the website, it ‘corrects contextual spelling mistakes, checks for more than 250 common grammar errors, enhances vocabulary usage, and provides citation suggestions.’

I was iffy about it at first but the Grammarly rep emphasized that the tool is meant to be a ‘second set of eyes’ to help people with their writing and not as a replacement for a human editor. Okay then. I figured I can at least do a quick test.

For my initial test piece, I chose an old post titled A Day In The Life of a Shoe from my neglected writing blog. I copied the post and pasted it on the appropriate field on Grammarly. It’s also possible to upload a whole document if I’m not mistaken, but then my test piece is less than 300 words so it was easier to copy and paste.

Grammarly has a plagiarism detection tool and users can select from six ‘paper type’ settings: General, Business, Academic, Technical, Creative, and Casual. I used the default setting, Casual, for the initial test piece.

Here’s the summary of the results.


This summary is what you get from the free sample. If you want to see the specific details you’ll have to sign up for the paid membership. I checked out other reviews, including this one by author Ilona Andrews, and it looks like the level of detail that Grammarly provides is pretty good. The tool catches a lot of potential issues in your text, but it’s important to note that you really have to go over all the issues because not all the suggested corrections are, er, correct or necessary.

I only used the free sample but I can see that Grammarly has more nifty features than your standard spellcheck. I will have to try it out with a longer article or document or something to check them all out for myself.

Anyway, I ran this post through the free check and here’s the result.


Crap. I am uncertain about my survival in the robot apocalypse.

Have you tried Grammarly? What’s your take on it?

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