ProWritingAid is a grammar, spelling, and plagiarism-checking tool that works across a variety of platforms. This service refers to itself as your personal writing coach, grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor.
That’s quite a list of titles, but does ProWritingAid actually live up to this statement? Is it simply blowing smoke, or is this a game changer that helps to craft better writers?
That’s what we’re going to find out in this ProWritingAid review.
|ACCURACY||62%, 73%, 52%|
|DEVICE COMPATIBILITY||Desktop, Browser, Office, Scrivener|
|CUSTOMER SERVICE||24+ Hours|
|PRICING||$4.16/ month (Annual)|
I will start off by saying how amazingly impressed I was with this system. ProWritingAid is one of the first grammar checking systems that I think really takes the fight directly to Grammarly.
Using this system was an absolute pleasure. All downloads occurred quickly, all installation files installed in under 30 seconds, and when I was checking my content, it completed reports in real time.
ProWritingAid integrates into a huge variety of programs, and its premium package comes with no restrictions.
Let’s dive in and bask in some great things offered by this program.
1. Extensive Integrations with Every App You Use
A grammar checker that comes with its own desktop app or web-based editing platform is fine.
It’s a simple matter to copy and paste your documents into a blank page and let the service get to work. But when you can seamlessly blend the full power of a grammar and spelling checking system directly into the platforms you use the most, you create a convenient system that goes above and beyond.
That’s what ProWritingAid does here.
Not only does it have a desktop app that works for both Windows and Mac operating systems. Not only does it have a web-based editor and works efficiently. It has add-ons for some of the most well-known and popular writing platforms on the market today.
For starters, you can download a Google Chrome add-on to ensure that your content is being corrected nearly everywhere that you type online.
I downloaded the Chrome add-on directly from the Google Chrome store. It was free and installed within 30 seconds. I ran a test on the effectiveness of this system immediately and it impressed me. I’ll go into more detail on this in a later section.
ProWritingAid also has an add-on for Safari, a browser popular with Mac users. As of this writing, they are waiting for approval on their new add-on for Firefox, another popular web browser.
And ProWritingAid integrates into popular writing platforms, too.
It has a Microsoft Office add-on that allows users to connect the power of ProWritingAid to both Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Word. This ensures that whether you’re writing a report or sending a professional email, you’re covered and connected to ProWritingAid.
You can install ProWritingAid on Open Office, Google Docs, and even Scrivener, which is a writing program especially popular with novelists for its organizational system. This is the most inclusive program I’ve seen, hands down.
ProWritingAid can be used on multiple devices with the same license as well. So you can install it on every platform that you use. If you wanted multiple users, you would have to purchase additional licenses.
2. Unrestricted Premium Plan
Most grammar and spell checking services put restrictions on paying customers.
Thankfully, ProWritingAid bucks this trend and doesn’t come with limitations. There are no word count limits to report.
Premium members can enjoy unrestricted access to the system, included with the price of your license. This is a major bonus to businesses and individuals who write a lot of content in a one-month period. Authors and professional full-time writers can get a lot of mileage out of such a service.
3. Easy to Install and Use on Multiple Platforms
This is a highly accurate system that is simple to use and easy to understand.
We run the same piece of content through all the grammar checking programs we review. We consider it our “control” content. Grammarly rates this content at 86% in terms of performance. So, that’s always the measuring stick we place our new checkers up against.
I accessed ProWritingAid through its web-based editor first. It is a simple blank page with a series of tools up at the top.
I pasted our control content into the page, and the system got right to work, giving me corrections in real-time. Once it finished, I could access a full comprehensive report of all this program’s findings.
Here’s a full breakdown of their accuracy and reporting.
4. Excellent Accuracy, with Best-In-Class Reporting
The first thing I noticed was the overall score we received. ProWritingAid gave this content 62% our of a possible 100%. I was surprised when this program beat our Grammarly test, giving us a lot more issues to work through than its strongest competitor.
The report can be printed or emailed, another nice feature to add to an already impressive system.
It goes on and on, cycling through ProWritingAid’s wealth of features, showing examples and graphs to help you gauge precisely where your writing can improve.
Here is the vocabulary breakdown:
Here is the Flesh-Kincaid reading analysis:
And here is the writing style index to help you spot common problems like passive voice:
I was beyond impressed with this level of detail.
The interface features a long toolbar at the top, which lists everything that ProWritingAid checks for.
It checks for grammar and spelling, but it also looks for cliches, readability, repeated words, passive voice, and much more. It also includes a plagiarism checking system, which we will discuss in a later section.
I was so impressed with this web-based editor, but I was still concerned about the add-on applications. Could they live up to the lofty expectations I expected from this service?
First, I installed the Microsoft Word add-on.
The download was instant, and once I opened Word, it was right there in the top toolbar. After logging in with my ProWritingAid credentials, the full scope of the system’s services was available to me.
I entered our control content once again to see if the Word application would give me the same results as its web-based counterpart.
Sure enough, I got the same score of 62%, so you know the Word app runs with that same stellar efficiency.
I moved onto the Chrome browser extension and started typing up some horrid email content. I made sure that both my Grammarly and ProWritingAid extensions were working at the same time. I wanted to see if they would find the same issues.
The blue and yellow underlines are ProWritingAid and the red is Grammarly. As you can see, ProWritingAid caught the use of “it’s” when no apostrophe was appropriate.
However, Grammarly caught one glaring mistake that ProWritingAid missed. I used “affective” instead of “effective” and ProWritingAid wasn’t very effective at catching that. (See what I did there?)
I threw in some improper comma use as well, which both systems missed.
You can open up a ProWritingAid interface right in your email browser by clicking on the small icon located in the lower right-hand corner of your text box.
This gave me a full accounting of the corrections the system made.
This was one the best hands on tests with a grammar checking program I’ve ever had. I tip my hat to ProWritingAid for creating a special and thorough product which can be an asset to any writer.
As we just discovered, ProWritingAid is a tremendously effective system. However, it is not perfect.
For starters, it is limited in its language offerings, and there is no mobile app to speak of. To top it all off, their plagiarism detection software was kinda a letdown.
1. Limited Free Plan
There is a free version of ProWritingAid. However, it’s pretty limited. You can only check 500 words at a time and get 19 reports.
You’re going to have to upgrade to a paid plan to unlock the most useful features.
The silver lining, however, is that the paid plans are extremely affordable (more on that in the Costs section below).
2. English Only
ProWritingAid does offer various styles of the English language. Beyond American English (the only right kind of English 😉), you can check your content in UK English, Australian English, and Canadian English.
English is the most popular language around the world, but that still leaves out a massive audience in latin-speaking countries and across Asia.
3. No Mobile Apps
You do a surprising amount of writing on your mobile device.
Whether it’s your smartphone or tablet, you’ll be texting or responding to emails via mobile platforms on a daily basis.
That’s why it’s slightly disappointing that ProWritingAid does not have mobile applications for Android or iOS devices.
That’s not to say you can’t use the service on a mobile device. The web-based editor is still available through your mobile browser, but that would involve copying and pasting your content into the mobile browser, correcting it, and pasting it back into your email or texting app of choice.
It would be much easier and more user-friendly to simply have a dedicated application that could police every keystroke you make into your phone without the extra steps.
4. 24+ Hour Customer Response Time
ProWritingAid’s customer service is good, albeit slightly slow.
Look for the “Help” icon in the corner of your screen:
When you start searching for the issue you’re dealing with, you’ll get a “Suggested For You” option that will recommend help desk articles to read through.
Otherwise, you can submit a message directly through email (although it looks kinda like a live chat):
Around 24+ hours later, I received a friendly email response:
It was good, however, possibly contradictory, because I’ve read on their site that devices are limited (online only) and the number of reports (19) is also lower than the premium plan.
5. Inaccurate Plagiarism Detector
I’m guessing there was some kind of error.
That’s the only way I can explain it.
Everything else was so positive. But my test of ProWritingAid’s plagiarism checker was odd to say the least.
Especially considering it’s not included in the ‘main’ Premium plan. You have to upgrade to Premium Plus to unlock the plagiarism checker (which I did for this review).
The first thing we look for in a plagiarism detector is the size of its database. ProWritingAid is tight-lipped about that. It’s important to know how many sites your checker is looking through to gauge the level of plagiarism in your work. ProWritingAid states on its official website that it looks through “millions” of websites in the search for plagiarism. Another section says that it pulls from a database of “thousands” of sites.
To put this in perspective, Grammarly’s plagiarism database contains 16 billion websites.
We test each plagiarism checker with the same document that has TONS of plagiarism. Seriously, this thing is bad. But that’s how we can draw a clear benchmark to compare them all against.
Other tools, like Grammarly and WhiteSmoke, have correctly reported back that around ~85% plagiarized. (See? Told you it sucked.)
I put the same content through ProWritingAid’s program and this is what we got back:
Can’t be right, especially as you’re upgrading to the premium version to even get access for it.
Worst case, the plagiarism checker simply doesn’t work. Best case, it’s glitchy. Either way, it’s tough to recommend ProWritingAid if plagiarism detection is your number one concern.
ProWritingAid Costs, Plans, & Payment Options
I was highly impressed with the cost of this service. Most grammar checkers charge you monthly, but ProWritingAid sells licenses on an annual basis.
And their prices are super low. Like, low low.
One year of ProWritingAid Premium is only $50. That’s by far the cheapest price I’ve seen across any (good) paid grammar tool.
You can also snag a lifetime subscription to this service for $175(!).
To compare, one month of Grammarly Premium is $30. An entire year would run you $140. For another $35, you could have ProWritingAid for the rest of your life.
I picked up a coupon and paid $36.00 for one year of ProWritingAid’s Premium Plus plan:
Payments can be made either via credit card or PayPal. All Premium subscriptions come with a 14-day money back guarantee.
Do I Recommend ProWritingAid?
I was so impressed with this system. Not only was the grammar check arguably more thorough than Grammarly, but it comes in at a fraction of the cost.
This was a huge home run for me. I loved its overall usability and the ability to have it on all the programs I use to write.
That being said, I can’t recommend the plagiarism checker at all. It’s seems like a flop. But you have to buy an extra service for that (Premium Plus vs. just Premium), so I can still safely recommend the Premium version.
In an ideal world, I’d also love to see some mobile functionality and language expansion in the future.
But aside from these slight issues, ProWritingAid is an excellent grammar checker — especially at such a low cost.