How Writers Can Improve Their Work With Grammarly
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From the copy on your author website to the emails you send your readership and the marketing ads and campaigns you create — to thrive in your writing career, you must present your work to the world with professionalism.
One of my favorite tools for achieving professionalism is Grammarly. After crafting and revising content, Grammarly reveals key insights and inaccuracies that help me polish my work before I present it to the world. And making use of this AI-powered text editor is a joy thanks to its easy-to-use interface and various available formats, including:
Online text editor (at Grammarly.com)
Native apps for Mac & Windows
Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge
Keyboards for iOS and Android
An add-in for Microsoft Office
This means you can use Grammarly on nearly any device and with nearly any piece of content you’d like to polish, from tweets and Facebook messages to blog posts, back cover blurbs, agent query letters, and beyond.
How does Grammarly polish your work?
Today, I’ll share with you how I make use of the features available through the online text editor at Grammarly.com.
After creating your account, open a new document within the editor. You can use the editor as a word processor, directly typing and saving content for future access, or you can copy and paste text from an outside source. For example, I often write and revise work in Scrivener, then copy and paste the text into Grammarly to polish it before publication.
As you type (or after you paste your work into the editor), Grammarly will suggest how you can polish your prose. These suggestions will appear as pop-ups on the right-hand side of your screen. View these suggestions as a form of constructive criticism. While they represent the AI’s opinion on how you can improve your work, you have the final say.
Accepting suggestions to correct inaccuracies such as spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes may be an easy decision, but take care when considering Grammarly’s stylistic suggestions. Some may strengthen your work, but others hold the power to alter the nuance of your tone and voice. Be mindful.
For example, I often use a casual tone in my work here at Well-Storied. I don’t want the content I create to read like dry academia, so I strive to write as I would talk. Because of this, I occasionally make stylistic choices that Grammarly doesn’t appreciate, mainly tautologies. In other words, saying the same thing twice in different words. For example:
My words: To succeed in your writing life, you must work according to your own process.
Grammarly’s suggestion: To succeed in your writing life, you must work according to your own process.
Often, I agree with Grammarly’s stylistic suggestions and use them to tighten my prose. But at times, I want the emphasis that a tautology offers or the rhythm that starting a sentence with a conjunction provides. When running your own work through the text editor, remember that Grammarly is a tool. You get to decide how to use it.
Beyond pop-up suggestions, you can also refer to the side-bar in Grammarly’s online editor for additional insights, such as your work’s Overall Score. Clicking on this option reveals how your piece performed compared to other Grammarly users’ work, as well as its word count, the estimated time it would take to read or speak the piece, and its readability and vocabulary metrics.
If you only want to view a specific type of suggestion, you can use the Correctness, Clarity, and Premium filters provided in the sidebar. The latter is available only to premium users, of course. Premium users can also send their work to Grammarly’s professional proofreaders for a final run-through or make use of Grammarly’s plagiarism checker.
Tailoring Grammarly’s suggestions to your work…
Grammarly provides suggestions based on its default settings, but the suggestions given on an academic work should vary from those provided on a casual tweet. To ensure Grammarly offers the most helpful feedback, you can tailor its setting to your liking by selecting the "Goals” option in the editor’s sidebar. In the pop-up that appears, you can toggle the following settings:
• Audience (Are you writing for a general, knowledgeable, or expert readership?)
• Formality (Is your writing formal, informal, or neutral?)
• Domain (Is your work academic, technical, business-related, casual, or creative? Note that this is a premium feature.)
• Tone (Do you want your work to read as friendly, analytical, urgent, or optimistic, etc? Note that this is an experimental feature that helps Grammarly build future suggestions.)
• Intent (What are you trying to achieve through your work? Do you wish to inform, to convince, to tell a story, etc? Note that this is an experimental feature that helps Grammarly build future suggestions.)
Once you’ve toggled your document goals appropriately, press “done” and allow Grammarly to tailor its suggestions to better fit your unique work.
How should writers make use Grammarly?
I love Grammarly for its ease of use and its ability to catch the mistakes that my critical eye is simply too subjective to see. Its stylistic suggestions have also shaped the way I self-edit my work, helping me better present my ideas with clarity and brevity before I’ve run an article or newsletter through the program.
I suggest all authors make use of Grammarly to polish the copy on their author websites and book blurbs, in their emails and marketing campaigns, in any blog posts they write, and even in the more professional social media posts they share.
You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned running your fiction through Grammarly. Doing so can certainly help you catch major spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes, which can be a great way to prevent minor embarrassment before posting a snippet online or sending your manuscript to an agent or publisher. However, fiction is highly stylistic writing.
When running chapters of my work through Grammarly, I’ve found that it offered too many suggestions that would dull my characters’ voices rather than improve the quality of my work. I’d much rather seek feedback from a professional line editor trained to work with heavily stylized pieces than leave this work to an AI. When I do run a passage through Grammarly to polish it before sharing, I use the Correctness filter in the sidebar to ensure I only see suggestions that correct inaccuracies.
Interested in giving Grammarly a try?
Register for a free account today to gain access to the online editor, as well as the native apps and keyboards, the browser extensions, and the Microsoft Office add-in. For users on the free plan, Grammarly offers suggestions concerning inaccuracies and wordiness.
The premium plan of Grammarly dives much deeper, sharing suggestions on unclear sentence structure, overused and ineffective vocabulary, non-inclusive language, inappropriate tone, and more. With premium, you also gain access to Grammarly’s professional proofreaders and plagiarism checkers.
You can subscribe to Grammarly Premium for as little as $11.66 per month if you choose Annual billing. Quarterly and monthly billing plans also available. Click here to create your free or premium Grammarly account today!