Smart Tech for a better Web
I am writing a lot in English, but I am not a native speaker. When I read about Grammarly first, I was excited. My vocabulary is quite OK, but I am pretty weak when it comes to proper spelling and grammar. Various blog posts I read were telling me Grammarly would fix my issues.
I made up a free account and got the Chrome plugin. It all worked pretty well at first glance. I got several recommendations that made total sense to me, and soon I thought this was the right tool for me. The paid version would give me additional checks, and it was on sale just when I decided to go Premium. Sort of a no-brainer, I bought it.
The first disappointment was I didn’t get an invoice. I use this for business purposes and would like to deduct the cost from tax. In Germany, I need a proper invoice to do that. Otherwise, I might need additional justifications against the tax office why this is an expense for business and that I paid it. I got this receipt now. It was pretty heartless; auto-generated from PayPal I think. I missed the full address on the receipt at least. I wrote the Grammarly support that I need an invoice. But they told me, invoices are a “feature which is not available for technical reasons”. I wonder what the “technical reasons” are for just not populating the full address on the receipt that is generated by PayPal? I wrote them once again that only a few tweaks would be necessary to make the receipt tax deductible. But the Grammarly support was more or less responding with the same answer as before. Their response made me feel they simply just didn’t care about me.
When my tax accountant told me, it would be still possible to deduct this from tax, I didn’t follow up further. I am still disappointed that they took more than €100 and can’t just put their address on a receipt.
At some point, I realized, that my webmail service (http://www.fastmail.com) sometimes broke because of the Grammarly Chrome plugin. Longer emails were not visible in full, and it wasn’t possible to scroll to the bottom. I had to refresh the browser, sometimes even to disable Grammarly and copy the content to the Grammarly application itself to get my text spell-checked. Eventually, I disabled the Grammarly plugin for FastMail as it was too annoying.
Later I thought I could edit some Markdown files in BitBucket. To my surprise, the Grammarly plugin would not work in BitBuckets online editor. I thought OK, maybe it’s just BitBucket, but it is the same with GitHub. Now I had three interfaces that didn’t work for me.
I found more and more little bugs in the app itself. I won’t elaborate further on them, as they were “not breaking”.
Now I was writing a new blog post over for zenprogrammer.org. I wanted to have as issue free as possible, so I checked with Grammarly and sent them to my Editor later. He told me, my spelling has improved a bit, but the grammar issues didn’t change. In fact, it was even a bit worse, so he said. Grammarly didn’t identify a lot of issues, like a wrong use of the apostrophe. It seems, I suddenly even used more commas in the wrong places than before.
Grammarly can’t make you a better writer. A good Editor can help you to become a better Writer. Grammarly doesn’t fix all your spelling and grammar issues. And while it looks beautiful and shiny first, even Grammarly has some bugs and can’t be used in all the tools you might expect. This and the fact that Grammarly doesn’t want to help you with things like invoices made me cancel my subscription again. I invest the money in a grammar book.
Sidenote: this blog was checked solely with Grammarly. It showed me the error “receipt” was overused, and I should replace it with “revenue”, which doesn’t make sense. I also showed me one use of the passive voice of which I am too lazy to fix. And somewhere is an unclear antecedent. I found it very clear, so I didn’t care. Everything else is not reported by Grammarly.