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I spent one week with Grammarly to help improve my writing skills

We all need a little help with our grammar and spelling from time to time. Grammarly can help you improve how you communicate.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

If you are a grammar warrior who flinches whenever you see the word 'your' misused across your social feeds and know when to use the words 'there,' their,' and 'they're,' you will want to tell all of your less-grammar savvy acquaintances about Grammarly.

Grammarly can help you tighten up your writing. It can correct misspellings and grammatical errors that affect your credibility. It can catch misused commas and other types of punctuation and help you with unnecessarily wordy sentences.

It can also give you feedback on your writing and show you alternatives for your choice of words. I tried Grammarly for a week to see how it helped me with my writing.

There are several features in Grammarly to improve written communications. Some are available in the free version, and others cost $11.66 per month for the Premium version. Grammarly also offers a business version for $12.50 for teams of three, up to 149 people.

Without verbal or visual cues that you get from face to face communication, getting the tone right is important. The tone detector -- available in the free version across limited sites -- ensures your written message is as intended.

It analyzes word choice, phrasing, punctuation, and capitalization to identify the tone of a message. It can check whether you sound disheartening, worried, formal, or egocentric.

Other features checked include conciseness, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

As audiences and goals change from message to message, the goal-setting feature can deliver suggestions that depend on your audience, formality level, for each piece of writing.

The plagiarism checker -- available in the Premium version of the product -- can detect plagiarism across webpages and highlight passages that might require citations. The Premium version of the tool will also check for consistency and suggests synonyms on your mobile device.

To access the features, download the Grammarly editor/keyboard/or extension. Sign in, set your goals, tone of voice and intent, and start to write. You can either use the user interface or the add-on for Office.

My week with Grammarly to help improve my writing skills zdnet
Eileen Brown

The product installs an add-on for Microsoft Office, Windows, and has a free browser extension for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. For Mac there is Microsoft Word, and a browser extension.

You can customize Grammarly for different languages such as British, American, Canadian, and Australian English.

Using it is simple. With any open document in Word, Grammarly makes helpful suggestions. It looks at the language I have used and corrects any spellings.

My week with Grammarly to help improve my writing skills zdnet

I found that Grammarly did slow my Office 365 version of Outlook. Outlook twice disabled the add-on upon startup, as the Grammarly add-on took too long to load.

My week with Grammarly to help improve my writing skills zdnet
Eileen Brown

Using Grammarly across social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter ensured that my spelling and punctuation was perfect before I hit send -- catching a couple of mistakes before I broadcast them to the world. I loved that feature, especially on Twitter.

My week with Grammarly to help improve my writing skills zdnet
Eileen Brown

Grammarly adds several features to the standard spelling and grammar checks offered in Microsoft Office and checks your tone of voice, too. As many of us currently communicate remotely from home, we are using written communication far more than face-to-face meetings.

Learning how to improve your tone, style, and writing consistencies is important when working remotely and could help you maintain the relationships you have with your co-workers.

With Grammarly, sending misconstrued messages could now become a thing of the past for you, and your writing skills could improve for the better.

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