I'm the creator of this site (Grammar Gang). I'm also the founder of Codeless, a long-form content creation company that's been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, The Next Web, and hundreds more.
We produce around ~100 long, in-depth articles each month. So we're relying on these tools on a daily basis. Here, I break down the good, bad, and uuuuuuggggllllyyyy.
Latest posts by Brad Smith (see all)
- “F-You, Pay Me.” How to Get Paid to Write - May 16, 2019
- The 7 Best Writing Tools to Write More, Faster, in Less Time - April 17, 2019
- Why Most Freelance Writers Shouldn’t Waste their Time with Pinterest - February 9, 2019
ProWritingAid is a grammar, spelling, and plagiarism-checking tool that works across a variety of platforms.
They refers to themselves as your personal writing coach, grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor.
After paying and testing it ourselves, we can confirm it does just that.
The real question, though, is where to put your grammar dollars. Do you go with the good, yet expensive Grammarly?
Or does ProWritingAid deserve to be on the same level (at a much lower price point)?
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)|
ProWritingAid Pros +
ProWritingAid is one of the first grammar checking systems that I think really takes the fight directly to Grammarly.
It might just be the best Grammarly alternative out there.
Using this system was an absolute pleasure. All downloads occurred quickly, all 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 software 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 spell-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 writing apps like 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.
Some are high (like Grammarly’s 150k/words a month). While some others are as low as ~600 words at one time. (Not enough to even check this article!)
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 this service.
3. Easy to Install and Use on Multiple Platforms
This is an 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.
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, for example:
Here is the Flesh-Kincaid reading analysis:
And here is the writing style index to help you spot common problems like passive voice:
The details here were excellent.
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 checker, which we will discuss in a later section.
I was 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. All of the features were unlocked after logging in with my ProWritingAid credentials.
I entered our control content once again to see if the Word application would give me the same results as its web-based counterpart. Here’s a screenshot of the results:
Sure enough, I got the same score of 62%. So there are no accuracy issues with conflicting results.
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 checker.
I tip my hat to ProWritingAid for creating a special and thorough product which can be an asset to any writer.
ProWritingAid Cons –
As we just discovered, ProWritingAid is extremely good in several key areas.
However, it is not perfect.
For starters, the multilingual options were limited, 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:
The response was good. However, possibly contradictory, because I’ve read on their site that devices are limited (online only) on the free plan and that the number of reports (19) is also lower than the premium option.
5. Inaccurate Plagiarism Detector
Unfortunately, the plagiarism checker couldn’t live up to the rest of the program.
The first time we tested it (in October 2018), it gave us a 0% plagiarism score on a document that other tools have said as much as 86% is copied from other sources.
So we wanted to give them another try a few months later (April 2019) to see if any improvements have been made.
First, it’s kinda a slow process. Once you have the content inside the editor, you click on the “Plagiarism” option and then you’re met with a spinning wheel:
This thing will keep spinning for anywhere from ~2-5 minutes. You might think it’s not working. That’s what I thought initially, too.
It is working, so try to be patient. It’s just really slow.
After a few minutes, the results will show up on the left-hand side of the editor:
We use this same control document across all 20+ grammar and plagiarism checkers we’ve reviewed to have a fair benchmark to compare them.
This ProWritingAid score is extremely low compared to the others we’ve seen (as high as 86% in some cases). That leads me to believe they’ve missed a ton of issues, possibly because their database is too small.
Either way, I can’t recommend the plagiarism option at this time. A huge bummer considering how good everything else looked.
ProWritingAid Costs, Plans, & Payment Options
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 $29.95. 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?
Yes and no.
If you’re primarily looking for a grammar and writing tool? Then yes, absolutely.
The features are great, it’s easy to use, there are apps available for every tool you use, and you can’t beat the price.
However, if you also need to use a plagiarism checker? Then no, probably not.
In that case, you’re probably better off biting the bullet and upgrading to Grammarly because you literally can’t afford to miss any plagiarism issues.
But aside from that issue, ProWritingAid is an excellent grammar checker — especially at such a low cost.