Rahul is an app enthusiast who loves scouring the web for alternatives to popular apps and websites. Monopoly mustn't prevail!
Whether it’s a professional email or a personal literary project, it’s imperative that your writing is spotless. An email that’s chock full of mistakes screams sloppiness and unprofessionalism and reflects very poorly on your work ethic. And whilst most, if not all modern text editors come with their own built-in grammar and spelling checkers, they’re hardly useful beyond the basics of writing. That’s where tools like Grammarly come in.
Well-known among writers, Grammarly is regarded as the pinnacle of writing assistants on the internet. It’s made a name for itself even within common folk, thanks to their aggressive marketing.
This impeccable software offers various tools and checkers in order to aid you through your writing tasks, most of which, are powered by artificial intelligence. It’s also flexible and aims to perfect your writing, irrespective of its style or purpose.
The drawback for some people, however, is its bare-bones free version. If you want everything Grammarly has to offer, there is a steep price to pay for its Premium and Business versions.
Not to worry, though. Many other alternatives aim to deliver similar or even better results than the industry-leading giant. And to facilitate your pursuit of an alternative that suits your needs, I’ve compiled a list of the best Grammarly alternatives.
- Hemingway App
- Microsoft Editor
- Slick Write
- Virtual Writing Tutor
1. Hemingway App
Hemingway is, in its most basic form, a simple grammar and style refiner, offering the same features you’d expect from your run-of-the-mill writing assistants, such as eliminating grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.
However, its distinct feature is improving your writing style and its readability. As quoted from their website “It's like a spellchecker, but for style”. It comes with its very own fully-fledged editor for real-time assistance as you write, focusing on beautifying your writing and rendering it easy on the eye.
Hemingway is quite easy to use, thanks to color highlights that demonstrate the specific type of discrepancy in your writing. Red is used for extremely hard-to-read sentences, Yellow for hard-to-read sentences, Green is for incorrect use of the passive voice, Purple for unnecessary use of complex words, and Blue for adverbs.
Since Hemingway is mostly geared towards communication-oriented writing, it frequently flags complex or thought-provoking words, which could make you come across as someone with a limited vocabulary.
To sum up, Hemingway is a fairly competent writing assistant. However, the few niggles that come with it could spoil your user experience.
Don’t like installing unnecessary software? The app works just as fine within a browser. Give it a try before committing to it.
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2. Microsoft Editor
Now, this might come as a bit of a surprise for some of you, seeing as Microsoft Word and all of Microsoft’s office suite comes with a grammar and spelling checker, but Microsoft Editor aims to provide many more features compared to the stock proofreading available on Microsoft’s text editing software.
The software comes with support for over 20 languages with impressive accuracy, especially when compared to Grammarly, which lags behind quite significantly in the foreign language department. While Microsoft Editor has the edge over many of the writing assistants on this list, the slower, less intuitive user interface makes it a less desirable Grammarly alternative.
Evidently geared towards office workers, Microsoft Editor is the best option for people who don’t want to shell out anything. Plus, since most businesses already use Microsoft products, it really is a no-brainer.
In addition, Microsoft Editor comes with a paid version that promises to deliver more accurate and concise assistance for the competitive price of $6.99. If you already own a Microsoft Account, you’ll automatically be granted full access to the paid version of Microsoft Editor.
With Microsoft’s Office 365 garnering a staggering number of users as of writing this list, chances are, you’re eligible for the premium version of the Microsoft Editor. And with Android, Mac, and iOS compatibility, you can enjoy seamless integration with your day-to-day text editor, no matter your operating system.
As Grammarly’s oldest competitor, Ginger effortlessly secures a place on this list. Being the writing assistant that used to be equal or arguably better than Grammarly, it’s no surprise that the software still offers great value. What is surprising, however, is that most of their software-defining features are available without the need for a premium plan.
Although Ginger was and still remains the more intuitive assistant, it’s a little slow and cluttered. Thanks to its illustrious features, however, most of its shortcomings can easily be overlooked.
Their translation feature, for instance, generates accurate translations of your text to over 40 languages without losing its meaning or infringing on its structural integrity. Also, Ginger identifies and rectifies errors that other writing assistants often overlook. Additionally, it provides a featureful browser extension, compatible with all chromium-based browsers.
Additionally, its free text-to-speech engine comes pre-bundled with the stock software, verbalizing your writing and allowing you to hear it back as you write it. The free version of Ginger is leaps ahead of its Grammarly counterpart, only really beaten by Grammarly’s use of artificial intelligence.
As far as writing assistants go, Writer.com is fairly obscure. Not many know of its existence and even less so of its capabilities. So, I’ll start by delving into its features and what sets it apart from other writing assistants.
From the get-go, you can tell that Writer.com is aimed at teams or groups of writers rather than individuals—something that’s evident from their well-developed Team and Enterprise editions of the software. While the free version pales in comparison to its paid counterparts, it’s still nothing to scoff at, offering a generous number of features like autocorrect, grammar, spelling, and punctuation aid at no cost.
Writer.com also promises to protect your data and privacy and request as little of your personal information as possible. In terms of extended use, Writer.com is efficient, accurate, fast, and faultless. I found its suggestions to be sufficiently accurate, with the contextual suggestions being a welcomed addition. The intuitive and easy-to-use user interface makes for a great user experience.
Available as an extension for all chromium-based browsers, Google Docs and Microsoft Word, they’re yet to release a mobile version or even a separate desktop app.
To sum it up, Writer.com is an exceptional free alternative for Grammarly. The features provided at no cost are miles ahead of Grammarly’s free offerings. I highly recommend giving Writer.com a try, especially if you work within a team and can collectively afford a monthly subscription.
SentenceCheckup is as simple a writing assistant as you’ll ever get. As the name suggests, its main focus is on sentences, their soundness, and readability. However, it wouldn’t have made its way to this list if it was that barebones.
To start, SentenceCheckup is a browser-only tool, which means you can’t use it offline. That said though, an in-browser experience means that there is no need for unnecessary downloads or any software installs.
This writing assistant plays on being simple and easy to use, making it a perfect Grammarly alternative for those who’re not as savvy. All it requires is an easy copy and paste into the text box and voilá! You can now analyze and review your text to your heart’s content.
It’s the ideal tool for those in pursuit of improving their flow and the neatness of their writing. In fairness, it’s quite barebones compared to Grammarly, but for the asking price of nothing, it’s well worth trying.
6. Slick Write
Slick Write is always one of the first search results when looking for free writing assistants. Boasting several helpful and valuable features to writers of all criteria, Slick Writer is available to use either as a web app or a browser extension, compatible with both Firefox and chromium-based browsers. Unfortunately, Slick Write isn’t available for offline use nor is it ideal to use on mobile devices.
Coming to features, this proofreading solution analyses your work for a multitude of writing elements, including grammatical errors, lack of variety in vocabulary, use of passive voice, length of words, sentences and paragraphs, and general flow.
The user interface is simple but effective. You get a sidebar that houses all the tools, and another bar at the top with highlighters for different elements, which provides a visual representation of the quality of each sentence, based on the color of the highlight. Upon clicking on a highlighted or underlined section, the tool provides an explanation of the issue and suggests a solution.
Slick Write offers two unique features in the form of the Statistics and Associator options. To explain, Statistics provides a neat overview of your work, while the Associator provides you with a list of associated words for a chosen word. These can be useful features, especially as a last-minute review of your work.
Much like most of these free alternatives, Slick Write offers significantly fewer features than Grammarly. However, the features it does offer make it valuable. It’s the ideal choice for astute writers who only wish to further ameliorate their writing style.
LanguageTool is unarguably the best of the lot, which is no surprise as the tool has been in development for many years and has only been improving each year. And even though their main focus has mostly been on the paid versions of the software, the free version gets equally as much attention, with a long list of features and regular updates. As of the time of writing, the most recent addition is an in-browser Word document checker.
Speaking of browsers, this writing assistant is available as an extension for all chromium-based browsers and Firefox, desktop software for offline use, and plugins for Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and LibreOffice.
Additionally, its user interface is simple and easy to use, only requiring you to copy and paste your written content into the text box and the rest is taken care of by the software. It’s quick and easy, making for a seamless user experience with little to no hiccups.
Like many of the previously mentioned tools, LanguageTool uses color coordinates to facilitate text analysis and diagnostics. On top of that, this tool checks text in several foreign languages as well.
Unsurprisingly, the free version of the tool pales slightly in comparison to its paid counterpart, especially when taking into consideration the 10,000-character limit per check. However, that should take nothing away from its overall value.
Since I’ve already mentioned Ginger, it’s only fitting to mention Reverso, as they both use the same proofreading engine. Marketed as “The world’s most advanced translator”, this tool offers much more than that.
Available for Android and IOS and as a browser extension for Firefox and Chromium-based browsers, Reverso does the job of an entry-level writing assistant, highlighting and rectifying grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors with quite an accuracy. They’ve recently released a desktop version as well.
While you can expect accuracy with Reverso, the 600-character limit can be frustrating. However, depending on your use, it might not be that big a deal. Nevertheless, it’s a great initial foray into writing assistants for non-native English writers.
9. Virtual Writing Tutor
On release day, Virtual Writing Tutor was touted as the best writing assistant and tutor for people looking to learn English. The tool was further popularized after it was formally recommended for training for IELTS exams.
Aimed at English learners and novice English teachers, the web tool boasts numerous functions, including IELTS speaking exam preparation system, scored automatic essay evaluation, IELTS Academic Writing Practice Tests, Job Application Cover Letter, just to name a few.
It’s quite clear that the writing assistant is heavily geared towards learners, but it’s also useful for regular proofreading and text analysis, thanks to a matured proofreading engine that allows for rectifying spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, punctuation flaws, structural flow, and limited vocabulary.
In addition, this tool provides an entertaining aspect to reviewing and improving your work via game-like procedures to rectify your mistakes. Which could undo the tedious and stressful nature of proofreading your own work.
Notwithstanding all the positives, Virtual Writing Tutor does come with some downsides. The user interface, for instance, is a jumbled mess of single-colored buttons and links paired with distracting ads, which takes a lot away from the user experience. Not to mention the general amateur look of the website as a whole. To give them the benefit of the doubt though, it does say that the website is still a work in progress. Here is hoping that things only improve with time.
This tool is obviously no match for Grammarly. But for all the value it offers, it would be remiss to ignore it.
Developed by Greedy Intelligence Co., 1Checker is a cloud-based writing assistant. Available for Windows, Android, IOS, and as a plugin for Microsoft Word and Outlook. Targeted towards non-native English writers looking to proofread and improve their writing, the tool is not limited to proofreading. 1Checker features direct translation to different languages with the aim of facilitating creative writing for non-natives, all powered by Google Translate. Although, they claim on their website’s FAQ section that a more powerful and intelligent service is on its way.
That being said, 1Checker is much more than a mere translator. With the help of the self-proclaimed powerful NLP engines, it provides accurate detection of discrepancies in your writing and recommends easy solutions.
It effortlessly flags and fixes nearly all common errors made by non-native writers, some that are often overlooked by other writing assistants. It accurately corrects discrepancies related to misuse of articles, incorrect use of singular and plural nouns, incorrect use of prepositions, confused words and so much more.
This then brings us to the user interface, which at first glance seems quite amateur and outdated compared to other services of similar nature. However, that doesn’t negatively affect the quality of the user experience, as it’s very intuitive and easy to use. 1Checker neatly highlights the errors flagged in your writing with different colors whilst also providing an explanation with appropriate examples for each error.
It does come across as somewhat limited when compared to Grammarly, as it sometimes fails to flag certain nuances that would otherwise be noticed by Grammarly. Still, the tool provides plenty of valuable features with no character limits.
This well-renowned and powerful tool finds itself very low down the billing. The tool, founded by Chris Banks, is arguably Grammarly’s fiercest rival out of the rest of the tools on this list. Unfortunately, the free version of the service has nothing to do with that notoriety.
ProWritingAid is aimed primarily towards novelists or people with long works of literature. It provides additional grammar checking for fiction writers, which is more extensive and style-specific than your run-of-the-mill grammar checkers, present in most writing assistants.
The AI-powered proofreading that comes with the tool is impeccable. It’s accurate, quick and it makes for much more than a standard grammar and spelling checker. It also allows for near-instantaneous checks and analysis of your works, irrespective of their size or length. It checks your writing for several flaws that could downgrade the quality of your long-form writing, such as clichés, vague words, and overused adverbs and adjectives.
Available on both Windows and Mac devices, the software is easy to integrate with many text editors like Word, Open Office, Google Docs, Scrivener, and many more.
The free version is good at what it does and offers unique features with a very specific group of people in mind. However, the absence of many key features, compared to the paid version, is impossible to ignore. Furthermore, ProWritingAid is disadvantageous for non-native writers or writers not quite as astute as the ones the tool is marketed towards. The paid version does, however, drive a very hard bargain with competitive pricing.
Did I miss out on any other Grammarly alternatives? Let me know in the comments section.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.