Making simple grammatical mistakes can cause readers to look down on a person's skills in writing, particularly if that person is considered a professional writer. It can make people think that the individual is not competent enough to do the job. Plus, even the smallest errors in writing can cause confusion and misunderstanding.
However, there are times when writers have to rush getting their ideas on paper (or a document) that the rules of grammar go out the window. Luckily, there are great applications not just for grammar checking but also for making sure that your writing is clear and error-free. We will focus on two: WhiteSmoke and Grammarly.
We are going to look at each proofreading software to see which one is more accurate, easy to use, affordable, and functional. We will look at their key differences and try to find out which of the two is better when it comes to ensuring that your work is error-free. But, the quick answer is that the choice will depend on your writing needs and purposes.
Why should you use a proofreader?
Probably the biggest issue, when you use incorrect grammar, is that it can lead to miscommunication. What would happen if you worked for a huge enterprise and caused it to lose a ton of money because of a misuse of a word or misplacement of a punctuation mark? This situation may sound like an exaggeration, but it happens.
Did you hear of the company that lost $2 million because of a misplaced comma? Yes, it happened. Imagine if you were the one who committed that mistake? That would be mortifying. Such situations can easily happen if you work in advertising, marketing, and other similar industry.
Whether you like it or not, people base their initial assumptions regarding your abilities based on first impressions. And in large companies, the first impression is usually made through your written communication. And once you make that impression, it becomes difficult to change. People can doubt your abilities or qualifications.
Imagine if your client notices a grammatical mistake in your pitch. That client may believe that your company is unreliable or sloppy. Another instance is if you and another candidate both qualify for a job. The recruiter would likely choose the person with fewer errors on his resume.
What's more, business websites that have grammatical and typographical errors lose potential customers. The bounce rate of business websites is heavily impacted by the number of errors in their content. By how much? The bounce rate is said to be as high as 85%. Plus, visitors tend to exit from the page 8% faster if they see mistakes.
Visitors tend to believe that if a business cannot afford to have a good quality website, then it probably isn't doing well. So, how are you going to earn from ads or make a sale if the potential customer doesn't stay on your website? These unnecessary losses in revenue could have been easily addressed if the content creators used an editing tool.
What is Whitesmoke?
WhiteSmoke is an easy-to-use grammar checker that offers a host of features. It does everything that your regular word processor's grammar and spell checker plus more. It can check everything you write from essays, emails, articles, and even literary works.
This tool has a fairly long list of features that you can use to improve your written work. First, you can use it on multiple platforms. You can access it on any browser from Firefox, Opera, Safari, to Chrome. WhiteSmoke can scan and check the spelling and grammar of whatever you write on WordPress, Google Docs, or even your emails.
There is also a desktop application for both PC and Mac. You can access this when you get the premium version of the tool. It works on any program on your computer including Microsoft Word. If you have to write or edit your work while on the go, you can choose the native mobile app version. Note that this only works if you are online.
WhiteSmoke is an essential tool that can check for spelling errors. It is also able to accurately suggest spelling corrections, so you don't have to look up a word from a separate dictionary. This is a great feature because the suggestions are already presented when you click on the indicated portion of the text that has the error.
It is good enough to differentiate between a product name and a spelling mistake. You don't have to keep on dismissing its suggestions when you write technical terms, company names, and product names. This feature is helpful for those who always use product reviews.
If you want to find out more about why what you wrote is wrong, WhiteSmoke offers short video explainers for common mistakes in writing. Among the topics it covers are proper capitalization, use of passive voice, auxiliary verbs, and tense of verbs This is an awesome feature since it teaches you how to stop making those mistakes in the future.
Stumped with how to start writing an email or even your CV? WhiteSmoke has a solution for that. It comes with a series of templates that you can use for many types of writing. Writers who have a hard time starting a project will find this extra feature helpful.
The tool also has a translator. It works almost exactly like Google Translate and is quite helpful if you are writing for a foreign client. You won't need to copy and paste your work onto another window because you can translate the text directly from your chosen platform.
Based on several reviews and testimonials of existing users, WhiteSmoke is a fairly accurate checker. This is good if you only care about eliminating any errors in grammar or spelling. Some writers commented that, since this tool doesn't offer a style selector, the suggestions of WhiteSmoke in terms of writing appear somewhat bland.
WhiteSmoke's Usability and Design
One of the most complained about aspects of WhiteSmoke is its design. The software can be a little hard to navigate and are slow from time to time. Plus, the Windows app has a limit. You can only work with 10,000 characters at a time. This includes punctuation marks and space counts.
So, if you write long articles or essays, this can be a major downer. This will also be a huge problem if you are writing a book. You can always cut and paste the text in portions, but the process can be tedious.
Many people, especially students and beginner writers love that WhiteSmoke is so affordable. Its essential package only costs $10 a month. The Premium package is $13.33 monthly and its business package is $22.90 monthly. The website also offers mark-down offers from time to time.
This tool offers annual and 3-year plans that make it considerably cheaper than other grammar and spelling checkers. Unfortunately, you won't be able to use it unless you pay for it since it doesn't have a trial period promo.
Who should Use WhiteSmoke?
This grammar and spelling checker is a helpful tool for new writers who are still building a portfolio and students. Since these individuals are not earning much yet, it is best to use affordable tools like WhiteSmoke. It may be cheaper, but it outperforms most free services online when it comes to ease of use and accuracy.
What is Grammarly?
Grammarly is a writing assistant that has been around since 2009. It is an artificial intelligence system backed by continuously developing algorithms that detect patterns of good writing. The system scans every sentence in the written work and identifies any errors. It scans its huge database for suitable replacements for any errors that it finds.
Just like WhiteSmoke, Grammarly has all the basic features when it comes to integration. It has a desktop editor that works well with any word processor. It even comes in the form of an add-on for Word. It also has an app version that is great for writers who work on the go. This app has both an Android and an iOS version.
It also has a web version that you can use when you are working on content on WordPress or any other blogging platform. You won't need to copy and paste your text anymore. There is also a Google Doc add-on, but it is still in its BETA form and can only function as a regular spell checker.
Free version Features
Grammarly's free version offers a tone detector. It can help writers choose the right words, punctuation, and phrasing to convey the feeling that they want their works to show. So, if you want to send a formal email to a work colleague, you can use this feature to make your work seem more formal rather than casual and overly friendly.
Along with the tone detector, Grammarly also offers conciseness suggestions. If your work is too wordy, it can lose its actual message and confuse its readers. The tool gives suggestions on what words to remove and how to tighten any loose phrasings.
Grammarly has tone adjustment settings included in its premium version. This feature gives suggestions on how to phrase certain sentences to make them sound friendlier and avoid seeming rude. It suggests inclusive language that writers sometimes forget.
It can also give reminders to adjust spellings to avoid sending out something too informal. There are also suggestions to improve the sentences to make the writer sound more confident as required. This can be in the form of changing certain words like "might" to "will".
Besides the suggestions for tone adjustment, the premium version also offers engagement suggestions. It alerts the writer about the use of repetitive patterns. The suggestions here encourage a change in sentence structure to prevent the work from sounding too dry and boring.
Additionally, Premium Grammarly gives fluency suggestions. It is the solution for writers who may not fully grasp the English language and get mixed up with the use of words with multiple or ambiguous meanings.
For example, since the words luck and chance are stated as synonyms in the thesaurus, chances are, a person may use "good chance" instead of "good luck" when wishing another person well. This mistake can easily be caught by Grammarly.
And finally, there is also the plagiarism detector. This useful feature can help prevent embarrassment and probably a failed grade by scanning phrases from your work and comparing them with articles on the web. This will help ensure that whatever content that you post or submit can truly be considered your work and not copied elsewhere.
Just like WhiteSmoke, Grammarly performs well in terms of accuracy. According to a 2017 review conducted by a researcher, the tool was able to find 30 mistakes out of 43 that were included in a sample text. Grammarly showed a 72% accuracy. This number is bound to go up since the system is constantly being improved.
Professional writers agree that while the writing tool is immensely helpful, nothing can replace the human eye and brain in catching grammar and spelling mistakes. It's all a matter of context. That is why you shouldn't automatically approve the suggestions posed by the software.
Grammarly's Usability and Design
Grammarly has a straightforward interface that is quite easy to learn and navigate. There is no need to sign in. After you install the browser extension or land on its page, you can begin working. Just paste the text that you want it to read and it will begin analyzing it for mistakes. The errors are underlined in red.
To fix the mistake, all you need to do is to hover the mouse over the error. The suggestion to correct that mistake will pop up. You can click on the suggestion to apply it to the section indicated or dismiss it.
The interface is quite intuitive too. The error indicators immediately appear as you type. You don't have to click on any button to start the analysis. This beats the other free online checkers because you can easily spot and correct mistakes rather than complete the text and then have to edit everything after.
Cost of Grammarly
Unlike WhiteSmoke, Grammarly has a free version. You just need to go to its website and copy and then paste your text into the given box. The tool will automatically check your work and show any errors along with its recommendations on how to address them.
Besides the free use, you can also try the premium version of the tool for 7 days free of charge. During this trial period, you can access all of the features that only the paid version has to offer. You can take advantage of this if you are still evaluating which writing assistant to choose.
Grammarly has a monthly, quarterly, and annual plan. The full version costs $30 a month with the monthly subscription. The quarterly subscription costs $60 a quarter. But if you want to save a ton, you can go for the annual plan which costs $144 a year. This pricing is for individual use. For the business plan, the cost will depend on the size of your team.
Who Should Use Grammarly?
Grammarly is hailed as one of the top-performing grammar software tools for a reason. It is very easy to use, shows high accuracy, is intuitive, and is quite affordable. Given that the premium version is a little more expensive than the business package offered by WhiteSmoke, it is still cheaper than other software tools in the market.
Plus, its free version offers enough features to fit the needs of most writers. The additional features will only be helpful to those who rely on words for their livelihood. And if that is the case, then the investment of getting a Grammarly subscription is well worth it.
Anybody can and should use Grammarly. Students and budding writers can use the free version and greatly improve the quality of their school essays and articles or blog content. This tool vastly outperforms most of the free online grammar and spell checkers out there so you will be reaping so many benefits at zero cost.