Grammarly: 1 Easy Step to Improved Writing

Writing is one area where students tend to lack confidence, so I am always on the lookout for resources that can help them. Previously, I shared Quill and NoRedInk, which both guide students through independent practice of writing and grammar skills. They really appeal to the teacher in me that believes students need to practice their way to mastery. Today’s post, however, is about an entirely different type of resource and one about which I feel some amount of conflict.

Let’s take a look at it first. Grammarly is a browser extension that works with both Chrome and Safari that is designed to proofread your work automatically. According to the site, “It checks for more than 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, enhances vocabulary usage, and suggests citations.” An ad for Grammarly on Facebook caught my eye, so I decided to try it. Who doesn’t want to improve their writing and avoid making embarrassing mistakes like using the wrong their, there, or they’re? Even if people know the rules, it is still easy to make mistakes from time to time.

Signing up was simple. I use Chrome, so I clicked “Add to Chrome” on the main page, clicked “Add extension” when it popped up, and then it installed. From there, I had the option to sign up with Facebook or enter my name, email, and a password to get started. Finally, I could choose the free or premium account and was on my way! The tour explained the primary features of Grammarly, and I was able to get started with my exploration.

The demo document that comes with the account really shows what Grammarly is all about. Errors are underlined and clicking on one brings up the rule or rules they violate and what they should be changed to, so it is like having a ton of mini-lessons tailored to the mistakes you have made. If it is not an actual error or the writer chooses not to make the change, then it can simply be ignored and the underline will disappear. Since I installed Grammarly as a Chrome extension, I hopped over to Facebook and typed “I are happy today.” which was automatically checked and I was able to view the suggestion to change the verb to am. The little green Grammarly circle also showed up in Gmail and other sites I visited with areas to input text, too. Besides the browser extension, Grammarly can be installed on your desktop and even as an add-in to Word using the same email and password as the online version. I was really impressed with my experience using it, and now that it is installed and the account has been made, the hard part is done, so I suppose I may as well keep it.

Here comes the conflict, though. As a teacher, do I really want my students using this? It seems a lot like cheating to me, especially if students just click through and accept the changes without reading through them. On the other hand, spellcheckers do the same thing for spelling, have been around forever, and are viewed as an acceptable resource to help us avoid mistakes. Shouldn’t students be able to utilize all available resources to help them succeed? I realize that in my ESL classes, I need students to be able to demonstrate their mastery of English grammar independently without the aid of something like Grammarly. Having said that, I teach adults and college students whose writing for work or university classes is about communicating, completing tasks, demonstrating understanding or in-depth thought on complex topics, and so much more than grammar rules.

So there you have it. Feel free to ponder this conundrum and share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

About Tara Arntsen

Tara Arntsen
Tara Arntsen recently completed her Master's degree in Teaching-TESOL at the University of Southern California. She currently teaches in the Intensive English Program at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She has taught ESOL in China, Japan, and Cambodia as well as online. Her primary interests are communicative teaching methods and the use of technology in education.
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One Response to Grammarly: 1 Easy Step to Improved Writing

  1. Selva says:

    Hi Tara,

    I am preparing for an English teat. Writing test is one of the module. I need some one to validate my writing skill, can you please validate the following email writing and send your feedback. I have written answer for two questions, please validate both of them.

    Question 1

    Read the following information.

    Child Care at Work Survey

    You work in a very big office. There is a popular and cheap restaurant in the building. The boss is thinking of removing the restaurant and replacing it with a child care facility for the working mothers in the office. Your company has asked you to respond to an opinion survey.
    Option A: Restaurant: I think we should keep the restaurant.
    Option B: Child Care Facility: I think we should replace the restaurant with a child care facility.

    Having restaurant in our office premise is good option but I I feel the best option is to go for daycare facility for the working women in our office because the number of ladies working in our office is more and we know that they are struggling to take care of their kids.

    Based on the review of past three years attendance we did in the last month, we observed that most of the time ladies are coming late to the office and leaving early. The reason told by them is they need to drop their kids in the daycare in the morning and pick them up in the evening. For example our accountant Kate has two kids, her husband is in travelling most of the time for his job. She is the one should take care of the kids, so many time she is facing issue in coming to office on time.

    Moreover our office is in center of the downtown, we have many restaurants in just two minutes walk distance. Furthermore many of our employees bringing lunch from home having at our cafeteria.

    So I suggest having daycare facility with subsidized rate for the working women in our office which will help them to improve their performance at work.

    Read the following information.

    You are a high school teacher. A student of yours has just graduated with excellent marks from high school. This person wants to find work.


    Dear Michele,

    I am very happy and proud of you for the achievement you did in your high school annual exams. Getting 10th rank in the province in high school exam is not simple task, you achieved it.Also I was delighted when you scored 3rd rank in the province in mathematics the subject I taught you.

    I know your family situation demands you to go for job immediately instead of doing higher studies but I suggest you to go for higher studied in university. You may get job based on your high school qualification but the salary will be very less and also the possibility of career growth is limited. If you are getting university degree in specialized area the opportunities are wide open.

    Moreover based on my understanding you are capable of studying masters in mathematics and can join in some research institution because you have very good basic knowledge and problem solving skills in Maths. So I am suggesting you to go for college education instead of going for job now.

    Looking forward to hear from you the news about your college life in the next email.

    Warm regards,