Did you know that your grammar and spelling could be directly linked to your job performance?
We’re typing faster and more furiously than ever before, and it’s all too easy to slip up. Then, there are those grammar rules that are easy to miss, even when you take your time. “Then” vs “than” is only the tip of the iceberg!
This is why grammar checkers are any business professional’s best friend. Are you currently using one you love?
Today, we’re sharing how you can find the best grammar checker for your needs, so let’s get started!
How Does a Grammar Checker Work?
Chances are, you’ve used a spell checker since grade school. This is one of the most commonly used proofreading tools, even if 80 percent of Americans consider themselves good spellers.
More recently, spell checkers on word processing software have given rise to auto-correct features on your mobile device. While we may have myriad tools to help us out in this regard, grammar has long mystified the masses.
Online grammar checkers are designed to help alleviate this burden.
These programs work by first examining each sentence in your text. Then, they define individual words to discern their meaning. Finally, they parse them together to ensure that each word makes sense in context.
By doing so, they can recognize hundreds of grammar errors, including:
- Tense agreement
- Number agreement
- Word order
- Passive vs. active voice
- Spelling and punctuation
These are only a few of the ways your grammar checker can improve your writing. Next, we’ll share how to find the best one.
How Can I Find the Best Grammar Checker?
One quick internet search will reveal that there are a host of grammar checkers available at your fingertips. To help narrow your options, it helps to consider the functionality you want your tool to have.
Let’s take a look at the key features available.
Writing Across the Web
Are you looking for a grammar checker that will only review the documents you create in Microsoft Word? Or, do you want one that will check your writing all across the web, including social media posts, blog entries, emails and more?
If you need a comprehensive writing assistant, look for one that works as an extension to your web browser, such as Grammarly. In addition to the Grammarly Chrome Extension plugin, you can also find a desktop app for Windows and Mac users. It’s also available as an iOS and Android app!
Paid vs. Free Tools
Another distinction to make is whether you want a basic, free tool or a more in-depth, paid version.
For writers on a tight budget, most free grammar checkers offer all the resources you need. These will check for spelling, punctuation and grammar all at once, but the errors will be primarily high-level.
Premium, paid versions will take a deeper look at your writing, helping you understand more nuanced mistakes. These will also include insights that explain why these issues need correcting. For example, the Premium version of Grammarly includes checks to ensure:
- Compelling vocabulary
- Engaging sentence variety
- No plagiarism
If your budget allows, the breadth of features included in a premium version can help both your personal and professional writing shine. However, most casual writers should find that the free version suits their needs.
Language and Linguistic Settings
Does your job require you to change the language in your writing to appeal to a specific audience? For instance, you may write one white paper in American English for your U.S.-based clients, and another in Canadian English for your northern neighbours.
If you frequently switch between languages or require linguistic variations, look for a grammar checker that enables such flexibility.
Grammarly does this, as does another online tool called Ginger. While Ginger allows you to translate your writing into 40 different languages, you’ll need to sign up for access to the free Chrome plug-in. Otherwise, the free version is limited to text under 350 characters.
Word Processor Integration
What software do you typically use to compose your writing? From Microsoft Word and Google Docs to WordPress and Gmail, it’s likely that you switch between quite a few different platforms.
Look for a grammar checker that is compatible with all of the ones you use. Otherwise, you could be limited in how you access it. For instance, while Grammarly integrates with almost every online platform, Ginger is incompatible with Google Docs.
For some, this might not be a deal-breaker. Still, it helps to know how you’ll be able to use the tool before you invest any money in it.
Many online grammar checkers will give users the ability to create custom dashboard views. If you prefer certain font styles, background colors, or toolbar displays, this may be a feature to prioritize.
Research the features of your tool to understand how much customization will be available.
If you prefer a program that will categorize your proposed edits by color, then Hemingway Editor is ideal.
With this program, you simply copy and paste your text into the online editing app, and your results are displayed immediately. It’s easy to understand exactly where you need to make changes when passive voice is highlighted in green, complex sentences are in purple, and so on.
Better Grammar, One Check at a Time
Maybe you write professionally, spending hours each day behind a keyboard. Or, your writing might be more personal, limited mostly to emails and blog posts.
Either way, it’s important to find the best grammar checker to help your final compositions appear as polished as possible. From basic, free versions to premium alternatives, there is a range of tools to choose from. Take the time to think of the features that are most important to you, and use these answers to guide your decision.
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