August 13, 2017

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links. I am recommending Grammarly because I have such a great experience using them, but I will also receive commission if you create an account after you click on any of the links in this post. The commission helps me to keep Butterfly Classrooms going. 

You might not know this about me, but I am not actually English speaking. I grew up speaking Afrikaans. I didn’t even take English on a first language level while at school. At university, we spoke so little English that in our final year my friends and I had a standard “English night” coffee date, where we would only speak English because we realised that we would need it once we enter the working world.
So you can understand that it was a daunting task when I decided to start Butterfly Classrooms in 2015 and realised that I would be writing in English…A LOT. Since I left university I spent a lot of time speaking English, so by now my spoken English is excellent, but my written English is still nothing to write home about.

And then one-day Grammarly popped up on my Facebook feed. I was somewhat desperate to try anything to make Butterfly Classrooms more professional, so I thought to give it a go. Within weeks I upgraded to the Premium version, and I have not looked back once.

Grammarly is a spell checker on steroids. Yes, I know Word does have its own spell checker, but you have probably come to the same realisation that the spell checker only picks up on the most obvious spelling mistakes and seldom on grammar mistakes. Grammarly picks up on everything. Not just mistakes but also on other little things you can do to make your writing better.

Some of my favourite features are:

Unnecessary words: I have a habit of using unnecessary words like “actually” or “so”. Grammarly is very quick to point out that the meaning of the sentence will stay the same even if I leave them out.
Over used words: We all have favourite words, but it often makes reading your work tedious, Grammarly quickly points out to you when you have overused a word.
It doesn’t auto-correct: This might seem like a negative, but I like the fact that unlike most spell checkers Grammarly does not automatically correct my writing. It identifies it and offers a solution (often with an explanation). Not only does it give me the freedom to choose if I want to change my work, but I can learn from it.
Plagiarism check: The content on Butterfly Classrooms are mostly freshly created, so I don’t use the plagiarism check that often. But if you are doing research and referring to sources the plagiarism check is great to keep you on track.
Great Feedback: The weekly email I receive from Grammarly might just be my favourite part. Every week I get to compete with myself and learn from my mistakes. As you can see, I have no idea where to put a comma in a sentence.

How does it work?

For most teachers, the free plan might just be what you need. It checks all your spelling and grammar, but you do not get the extra features. Click here, create a free account and you are ready to go. (Just for the sake of transparency, if you click on the link I do get commission from Grammarly, but that is not why I am suggesting it) I would suggest you add the extension to your Chrome browser, that way anything you type on Chrome will automatically be checked. You will also have access to the web-app where you can type your document and just copy and paste it once you have corrected all the mistakes.

However, if you are like me, you will quickly find that you are willing to pay the $139.99 per year to have all the extra features. If you are not convinced yet, give the free version a try, you have nothing to lose.

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