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)
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Scribens is a no-cost grammar checker that claims to correct more than 250 types of grammar, spelling, and stylistic errors.
They also claim to correct 10X more mistakes than Microsoft Word.
Their site reads, “Scribens employs a sophisticated syntactical recognition algorithm that detects even the most subtle errors in a text.”
But how good is that algorithm? Especially if it’s free?
Let’s find out if any of those claims are true…
1. The Interface is Simple and Straightforward
Scribens has a simple and comprehensive user interface that offers suggestions that can help writers avoid repeating the same mistakes time and time again.
Moreover, getting started with it is extremely easy.
You don’t need to create an account or install any app. Just open the site, copy/paste or upload your content, and hit the red “Check” button.
As soon as you do that, it starts doing what it’s known for – spot grammar and spelling mistakes.
Scribens also has special APIs for Google Docs and MS Word (see ‘Pro #4 below) so that you get the same benefits without leaving your writing space.
2. Helps Users Write With Clarity
While the checker doesn’t blatantly state it, it can help users write with more clarity by suggesting better replacements for common words.
And in this regard, they perform much better than many of the paid grammar checkers.
Thanks to its vast dictionary, you can always find a better alternative of your current words.
But Scriben doesn’t stop here.
On the left-hand side, it breaks down your entire document based on various grammar issues like redundancy, cliches, subjectivity, run-on sentences, and more.
Click on any section and it highlights that issue on the document.
Similarly, the right-hand side displays a general statistic about your content that includes total word count, Flesch reading score, sentence length, word pattern, and more.
Scribens not just spots errors but it can also resolve many of the issues like redundancy, word reduction, and word replacement in a single. And just like Grammarly, the tool refers to different grammar rules while tackling the advanced grammar issues so that you don’t make the same mistakes again.
In fact, they have an entire section on grammar rules to educate their users.
3. Doesn’t Seem to Have Limitations
Most tools have daily word or page limits. Especially the free ones.
But Scribens is an exception. Compared to the free versions of may premium tools, it doesn’t appear to have a limit on the number of characters or words that can be analyzed.
4. Diverse Device Compatibility
When it comes to device compatibility, Scribens blows most grammar checkers out of the water.
It offers extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari.
During the test, I used their Chrome and Safari extensions for a full day and never faced any snag.
And like other grammar checking tools, the browser extension can scan almost everything you write online including your emails. So I will highly recommend adding those extensions to your browser.
On top of that, the tool is also compatible with:
- Word 2016 for Windows
- Excel 2016 for Windows
- Word 2016 for Mac
- Excel 2016 for Mac
- Word Online
- Excel Online
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
- Mozilla Thunderbird
There’s even an option to add Scribens to your website with CKEditor.
But not everything about Scribens is perfect. Here’s what we would change about Scribens if we could.
1. Inaccurate Grammar Checker
If a grammar tool lacks accuracy, you can never be sure that you’re not missing important errors in your writing.
Unfortunately, Scribens missed this incorrect use of the word “their” when we tested it out.
The online tool appears like a decent option on the surface, finding other issues like incorrect brackets.
But except for commas and incorrect brackets, it can’t analyze other punctuation marks. So, you might call it a decent option for checking grammar, but it’s certainly not an ideal punctuation checker tool.
On top of that, it also recommended spelling out numbers between ten and two, which is recommended by most style guides.
2. No Plagiarism Checker
There is currently no plagiarism checker feature with Scribens. The same can be said about any sort of reporting tool.
That means you’ll need to sign up for a separate product for a mere plagiarism check. Bleh.
3. No Grammar Reporting
Besides plagiarism check, there’s also no reporting option.
That’s a pain because there’s no way to track results and compare documents over time to, you know, actually become a better writer.
It also won’t work for teachers or managers who need to provide feedback to a group of people.
4. No Multilingual Options
The only language currently supported by this checker is English. However, the online tool does let you choose between British English or American English vocabulary.
5. Customer Service Form Doesn’t Work
On the Scribens site, users can fill out a contact page to get in touch with the Scribens team.
But when we filled it out to test the quality and speed of their customer service, the “Send” button didn’t seem to work.
After reloading the page and trying to send the form several times from different browsers and devices, we eventually gave up.
6. No Confirmed Database
The most powerful grammar checkers we’ve reviewed will confirm the database size or variety.
Think about it this way:
They check your document against their entire database to catch each and every issue. If the database is small or not kept up to date, it’s going to be inaccurate (see Con #1 above).
Luckily, there are no current costs associated with using Scribens.
Do I Recommend Scribens?
Scribens is a bare-bones tool. The online tool houses some of the features you’re probably looking for and works well with Chrome, Safari and other popular browsers, but the overall accuracy leaves a little to be desired.
The fact that it’s free and doesn’t really have many limitations is nice. And you can use it on a daily basis to quickly check a paragraph or two.
But some of the better alternatives we’ve seen, like Grammarly or ProWritingAid provide similar benefits, are more accurate, and a lot easier to use. In fact, the free version of Grammarly is better than Scirbens and can also avail a plagiarism checker if you’re ready to open your wallet.
I’d recommend you check out other options, instead.