8 minutes to read
Grammarly vs ProWritingAid vs MS Word Native Grammar Checker: Which One is Best for Nurse Writers?
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Editor’s note: Many aspiring nurse-writers wonder if their writing skills are really good enough to go pro. Fortunately, you can get software to help you navigate the stormy waters of the Oxford comma or how to use “whom” correctly. In this article, Senior Reporter Amy Isler details three common grammar checkers in use today so you can purchase the one that’s right for you.
I’m a late adapter to new technology. I’m just getting comfortable with Google Docs, and I’m the most comfortable writing with the old-school Microsoft Word. This article will branch out and review two popular writing applications; Grammarly and ProWritingAid. Both of these applications allow you to easily add a plug-in extension to your desktop that gives real-time feedback as you write. However, I prefer to write a rough draft in Word and then cut and paste it into the browser option.
Grammarly bills itself as “the world’s best grammar checker,” and it certainly seems to be the most popular editing tool on the market today. The Chromebooks provided by my son’s middle school even have this writing app pre-installed and ready for use. As part of its subscription-based model, Grammarly offers the following packages:
- Free version: provides feedback on only spelling, grammar, and punctuation
- Premium Package: $30/month. Feedback on style, clarity, tone, language, fluency, etc.
- Business Package for Teams: $12.50/ team member. Includes the premium features plus brand tones, analytics, style guide, email support, etc.
I found the app easy to use. I especially liked the friendly user interface, formatting, and color-coded suggestions. Upon copying and pasting my article from Word to Grammarly, it quickly gave me an overall score, which my inner competitive nature appreciated. My new goal is to get 100% on my first try.
As I went through all the suggestions one by one, it gave me helpful insight into making the sentence or paragraph better. I quickly realized that many of my sentences were too long and clunky. Grammarly pointed this out by suggesting different ways I can make it better. I was able to fix it in real-time and watch my score get better. It also allows you to change your audience and desired tone before scanning the document, which I found helpful.
After playing around with Grammarly, the only negative feedback I had was I couldn’t figure out how to undo a change I had just made. I also had to reformat my draft when I moved the edited version back into Word and, as I tightened up my writing, I found my word count went down, which is only a bad thing if you were on the cusp of meeting word count expectations.
Before writing this blog post, I had not heard of ProWritingAid, so I was eager to check it out and see how it compares to Grammarly. The subscription fee and benefits are similar to what Grammarly offers:
- A free limited version
- $20/ month or $399 for lifetime access. Includes 20 in-depth writing reports. [Ed. note: RN2writer Daily readers can get 20% off ProWritingAid by using the code HONEY20 at checkout!]
While the overall goal of Grammarly and ProWritingAid is to help people improve their writing, ProWritingAid goes about it in a more analytical and data-driven way. My first impression was that it’s interface is clunky and hard-to-follow. It also removes all the formatting from your document, making it difficult to read. It took me several minutes to figure out where the feedback was, and I had to click several tabs to figure it out.
After reading more about ProWritingAid, I realized that this tool is designed for people in academics. The cool thing about ProWritingAid is that it breaks down your mistakes into 20 different reports using bar graphs and pie charts to highlight your strengths and weaknesses. If you like this type of feedback and have time to read and analyze data, this could be a great way to improve your writing. It also contains links to videos, quizzes, and tutorials for further practice and guidance.
MS Word is a word processing tool used to format documents, provide templates, insert graphs and pictures, and improve the overall appearance of your document. It is an application already embedded in all computers that run on Microsoft Windows, so you don’t need a subscription.
While Word has some great features, its overall goal is not to improve your writing. It provides only a basic grammar checker and spelling checker. The feature I use most while writing in Word is the thesaurus and maybe the clip art if I’m trying to be fancy.
Now that I have experienced what writing applications can offer, I’m a bit embarrassed to have turned all my writing assignments in with only Word as a guide. In trying out these new tools, I found myself daydreaming about all the ways I can use this in my daily writing in the future.
As a freelance nurse writer, I found Grammarly to meet all my needs and then some. I recommend it to anyone looking to improve their writing and gain good editing tips.