I saw a Facebook post the other day where you could download Grammerly that read: Sick of making grammatical and spelling mistakes? Perfect writing is a click away! There was also a download button, but I have an aversion to clicking on anything on Facebook.
The question is, how good are available spelling and grammar checkers, really? Even if they aren't all THAT great, I wish more Facebook posters would type their stuff in Word and spell check it then copy and paste it into the post. Hastily typing something usually results in spelling and grammatical errors to be sure, but I am convinced many of my friends just can't spell or write proper English. That does NOT mean they are stupid or anything, but all the spelling and grammatical mistake make them LOOK that way.
Running spell check is very important, but it is not a foolproof means of making sure your documents are error free. It will let you know if there is a group of letters that doesn’t actually spell anything, but it won’t let you know if you have used the wrong word. So, it's a good idea to proofread your work yourself rather than rely completely on spell check. Also, if it is an important business document, it's a good idea to have someone else proofread it!
Don’t take a chance on making a careless mistake just because you won’t take the time to proofread what you wrote. It's easy to miss your own mistakes.
I found a site that tested some of the "free" checkers with a block of text containing eight different errors and here is what they found.
This one claims to be the "World’s Most Accurate Grammar Checker." It promises to identify over 150 text errors, offer synonym suggestions and to check for plagiarism.
It's free to get your text checked, but the hook is you need to sign up for a seven day trial to see the details of the problem. You can pay $19.95 a month, $13.32 per month for a quarterly subscription or $7.95 per month for a yearly subscription...that's almost a hundred dollars for a year!
In the test Grammarly found three spelling errors plus two other issues where it made suggestions for changing the wording of the text which actually was OK as written. Score: 3 out of 8
It claims to be a do-it-all grammar and spellchecker. It can be downloaded and it's supposed to add proofreading functionality to Microsoft Word, Outlook, Powerpoint, Internet Explorer and Firefox.
A small control bar appears whenever you’re actually using one of the applicationa. By clicking on the control bar it will check for any any spelling errors or grammatical errors and suggest corrections.
It has a "hook", too. You can test a 600-character demo for free but the premium version costs $198, $132 for spelling and grammar correction only or you can subscribe for about $20 a month.
The premium version also claims to have a text-to-speech function that enables you to hear your text read aloud in a digital voice. It also has a "learning" feature (you learn, not the software) that acts like a tutor to teach you not to make mistakes.
Score: 3 out of 8
How did this one do? Score: 4 out of 8
After The Deadline
This one can be used with bbPress, Confluence and OpenOffice and linked to Firefox or Google Chrome browser and you can access it via a WordPress plugin. It also allows you to cut-and-paste the copy into a web page. That's with the download version.
There is also an online version, but in the test, it only found one spelling error and didn’t spot any of the grammatical mistakes. When it was tested using the WordPress plugin it did better...it found all the misspelled words. Score: 4 out of 8
A knowledgeable human using care is still the best, but while these tools can be useful for checking spelling and grammar thus preventing you from embarrassing yourself, Microsoft Word's (or, in my case, Libre Office's) built-in spell checker provides better results for free.