Grammarly Review – Do You Need the Premium Upgrade?

There is no doubt that Grammarly is a great grammar and spell checking program but the Premium upgrade is expensive.  Is it worth it?  In this Grammarly review, we’ll see.

What is Grammarly?

Grammarly is an online application that identifies spelling, grammar, and punctuation, errors in writing. It also detects word choice and writing style mistakes and its plagiarism checker detects any writing that is similar to any pre-existing writing.  Having identified potential issues the program offers more suitable, context-specific, alternatives.

Grammarly was first released in 2009 and has since become one of the most widely used applications of its genre in the English speaking world.

Who is it For?

Quite simply, Grammarly is for anyone who writes, whether it be an email, a blog, or the next Pulitzer prize-winning novel.  Whether you write for fun or a living, everyone can benefit from this application.  The real question is do you need the Grammarly Premium upgrade or will the free version suffice?

The Basics

OwnerGrammarly Inc.
PriceThe basic version is free
The Premium version is $29.95 per month, $59.95 every 3 months, or
$139.95 annually
What you getDownloadable apps for PCs and Macs and iOS and Android devices and browser
extensions for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge. There is also an add-in for
Microsoft Office, both the Windows and Mac versions.
This list is growing all the time
GuaranteeNone but the monthly membership can be canceled at any time
CRIO rating (0-10)9

Free Versus Premium Features

Grammarly chart comparing free and paid features


The free version of Grammarly identifies grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.  It provides a brief explanation of the error and suggests correct alternatives.

The desktop apps (but not the mobile apps or browser extensions) also give you the option to set goals (within certain categories) for each piece of writing and when you do Grammarly will suggest changes consistent with those selected goals.

Popup showing writing goals options for each piece of writing

Grammarly allows you to choose between American, British, Canadian, and Australian English in every one of its products.


As well as the grammar, spelling, and punctuation checker, Premium includes the following additional features:

  • More critical grammar, spelling and punctuation checker.  It will find mistakes missed by the free version.  It also provides a more detailed explanation of the mistake, compared with the free version.
  • Inconsistent writing style.  You can preselect a genre-specific writing style and the program will warn you if you begin to stray outside that style and suggest alternative wording.  Genres include General, Business, Academic, Casual, Creative, Technical, and Medical.
  • Unclear sentence structure.  It identifies and corrects ambiguous phrasing.
  • Overused words.  It will identify words that are repeated too frequently and suggest alternatives.
  • Ineffective vocabulary.  Taking account of the context it will suggest  ‘stronger’ words for more ‘bland’ words, e.g. “I am very happy you chose me” to “I am thrilled you chose me”.
  • Wordiness.  It will identify verbosity and offer a shortened version.
  • Hedging language.  It will identify and correct unconscious hedging and needless qualifiers, e.g. “We think we should be able to do that” to “We can do that”.
  • Impoliteness.  It will identify and suggest alternatives for words or phrases that may come across as harsh or hurtful.
  • Insensitive or non-inclusive language.  It will suggest alternatives for words that might otherwise appear offensive to certain people or groups of people.
  • Plagiarism.  It avoids your writing appearing too similar to that of others by checking against over six billion web pages.

How Do You Actually Use Grammarly?

Depending upon whether you are working with a browser extension or one of the downloadable apps there are, essentially, three ways to ‘use’ Grammarly:

Type and let Grammarly Suggest Changes as you Go

This is how the browser extensions work.  For example, you start typing an email message and each time you make a mistake Grammarly will flag it in red.  If you bring the cursor back over the word a small window pops up showing the mistake and suggesting a correction.  You then have the option to accept the correction, ignore it, or add your typed word to your Grammarly dictionary (in which case Grammarly will not flag it again).  You also have a fourth option, “See more in Grammarly” and which will pull up a larger window again showing the mistake but this time giving an explanation of the error.

Grammarly popup showing spelling error explanation

The phone apps operate in a similar manner but everything works through the Grammarly Keyboard which is installed as you download the app.

Copy and Paste into Grammarly Desktop App

Once you have downloaded the desktop app onto your PC or Mac you can copy your written work and paste it directly into the Grammarly app interface.  You can also directly import from elsewhere on your computer.

Grammarly popup showing spelling error explanation

Within seconds Grammarly will suggest appropriate corrections.  You can also utilize the Grammarly Assistant (see below).

Type Directly into the Grammarly App Interface

This again works with the desktop app for PC or Mac and also the add-in for Microsoft Office.  As you type, Grammarly notifies you of errors and suggests suitable corrections.  An excellent feature here is the Grammarly Assistant which, when activated, gives you access to several additional tools, including ‘Performance’.

Just click on the Performance tab and a window pops up giving you data on what you have written, including character and word count, reading time, and readability score.  The readability score is based on the Flesch Reading Ease Test and which estimates what level of education is likely needed by anyone reading your work.  The lower the score the higher the educational requirement.  Pretty neat!

Grammarly desktop app assistant

How Much Does Grammarly Cost?

Grammarly Premium is available only by monthly subscription, as follows:

  • Month to month – $29.95
  • Three months – $59.95 (equivalent to $19.98 per month)
  • Twelve months – $139.95 (equivalent to $11.66 per month)

Grammarly does, occasionally, have a sale.  As I write this review, the twelve-month option is on sale at $69.98 (i.e. 50% off the regular price), equivalent to $5.83 per month.

Pros and Cons


  • Excellent and extensive grammar database.
  • Fast and accurate
  • Multiple user options available, including browser extensions, desktop apps, and mobile apps.
  • Switch easily between American, British, Canadian, and Australian English.
  • Simple and easy to use interface for all user options.
  • Excellent mobile keyboard


  • At $29.95 per month, the Premium upgrade is definitely on the expensive side.  Paying for 12 months upfront reduces the price, effectively, to a more manageable $11.66 per month, provided you have $139.95 available.
  • While being an excellent grammar tool it is not a replacement for a professional proofreader or editor, if you would otherwise use one.
  • No offline capability, internet connection required at all times.

So, Is Grammarly Premium Worth It?

For the majority of Grammarly users, the free version is more than adequate.  However, if you write for a living, then the chances are that grammatical accuracy will be important, if not critical, and, if your living depends upon it, it seems to me that $11.66 per month (if you pay annually) is not a lot to pay for the added features that come with Premium.

I recommend starting with the free version and then upgrade later if you feel you would benefit from the Premium features.  Then, if you decide you want to give Premium a try go monthly for a couple of months before switching to the more economical 12-month option.

In Conclusion

I hope you have found this post to be helpful in deciding whether Grammarly Premium would be a useful addition to your writing toolbox.  If you have any comments or questions please leave them in the Comments box below and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.  I would also love to hear from you if you have already tried Grammarly Premium and have some observations you would like to share.

Happy writing.



$29.95 for 1 month $59.95 for 3 months $139.95 for 12 months



User experience


Value for money





  • Excellent and extensive grammar database.
  • Fast and accurate
  • Multiple user options available
  • Simple and easy to use interface for all user options
  • Excellent mobile keyboard


  • Expensive
  • Not a replacement for a professional proofreader or editor
  • Not available for Microsoft Office for Mac
  • No offline capability

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