As helpful as spell- and grammar-checks are, writers need more. This editing software comparison seeks to determine if the premium platforms of Grammarly, ProWritingAid, Ginger, or Hemmingway Editor help writers improve their craft. And if they’re worth the expense.
Note: This post contains affiliate links for both Grammarly and ProWritingAid, denoted in by red links. The links for ProWritingAid include a 20% discount for TreasureChestofMemories.com readers.
This post was not written as an affiliate post. Rather, after testing all four products for this editing software comparison report, I applied for affiliate status for Grammarly and ProWritingAid because I feel confident in recommending either of them.
The Overview: Editing Software Comparison
- Nothing beats a professional, experienced human editor. But most of us don’t have one of those handy on a day-to-day basis.
- The best way to improve writing is to write. Writing with a critique group or partner is even better!
- These products are not necessarily a replacement for your word processing program’s built-in spell- and grammar checks. Often one program’s algorithms will pick up errors that the other program missed.
In the below infographic, you’ll see how the four products compare in terms of price and features.
Pros and Cons by Product
I used two documents to test the four products: a 1,100-word non-fiction article and a 6,600-word fiction excerpt.I tested these apps using a laptop and did not delve into the mobile-friendliness of each product. In addition, I’m using both Grammarly and ProWritingAid to review this post.
All the products made suggestions that I rejected. That’s the nature of a digital editor.
If you’re already using Grammarly’s free version, as I was, you’ll find the premium platform quite an upgrade.
The Grammarly menu in Microsoft® Word allows you to turn Grammarly on and off and offers seven categories of grammar checks. It worked seamlessly with Word’s Review Mode. It also provides an exhaustive list of writing-type settings.
Grammarly’s suggested corrections appear in a dialog box on the right. You can accept a suggestion by clicking on the green box or reject it by clicking on the trash can icon.
According to Grammarly.com, Grammarly has a readability check. I could not find it in the Word Add-in or desktop app.
Overall, Grammarly did an excellent job of identifying errors. In a few cases, it simply recommended “Re-Write sentence.” We all need that kind of advice!
Like Grammarly, ProWritingAid’s Microsoft® Office Add-in provides another menu in the upper menu. It also lets you set your writing style (but not in as much depth as Grammarly does) and works within Word’s Review Mode.
There are twenty-five icons for ProWritingAid’s various checks and style reports. (Read more about ProWritingAid’s features.)
Regardless of which check you’re running, suggested corrections appear in a dialog box on the right of the screen. You can choose to reject or hide them by clicking on the eye icon or accept via the checkmark. ProWritingAid also allows you to add unknown words to the dictionary.
Although you can run a summary report, individual reports make ProWritingAid excellent for advanced writers. You can run the checks that are most relevant to your writing project or personal pitfalls.
For example, for blog posts, I like to check that my paragraphs are not too difficult for readers to scan. I love that besides giving a reading level for the entire document, ProWritingAid identifies individual “difficult-to-read” paragraphs.
According to ProWritingAid.com, their “Combo Check lets you customize a report to look for your own specific problem areas,” something I’ve yet to explore.
Ginger Premium, like its competitors, has an Add-in for Word, and found typos, subject-verb disagreements, and suggested other corrections. Ginger makes suggestions in full-sentence format.
However, whereas Grammarly and ProWritingAid would home in on style problems, Ginger often overlooked them. In the example below, Ginger quibbled about whether shoes needed an article, but did not address the passive and confusing construction.
Ginger offers training, which works off the errors it has collected from proofing documents. Unfortunately, I found that training too basic for my needs. For instance, Ginger took my typo in Sample 1 above to suggest a “misused words” training.
Because I didn’t test Ginger for longer than a week, it may not have been able to gather as much data for the AI to work well. I suspect the personal trainer feature would be much more helpful for beginning writers.
Hemmingway helped identify difficult to read paragraphs and passive constructions but doesn’t come close to Grammarly and ProWritingAid in improving text. It doesn’t have a grammar or spell check, which makes it a non-starter for me.
I did not try the publishing tools to WordPress or Medium.
Editing Software Comparison: Final Words
We improve our craft of writing by realizing where we need to improve. I would recommend either ProWritingAid or Grammarly to advance writers and family history writers. For me, they are worth the expense. Both are very helpful as Word Add-ins and online use.
Though they weren’t ideal for my purposes, both Ginger and Hemmingway could be helpful to students.
Have you tried any of these products? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. I’ll also try to answer your questions.