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 - November 14, 2019
- The Best Plagiarism Checkers - November 11, 2019
- The 7 Best Writing Tools to Write More, Faster, in Less Time - April 17, 2019
Grammarly might be the best grammar checker and plagiarism tool I’ve reviewed (after over 20+ to date).
But it’s far from perfect.
What if it’s too expensive for students? Or what if you need multilingual support?
Those are just two of the areas where what the Grammarly tool offers falls short.
Without further ado, here are the best Grammarly alternative checker tools (for grammar and plagiarism, as well as subject-verb agreement) that I’ve purchased and tested, without relying on the premium Grammarly browser extension.
(Best Grammarly plagiarism checker alternative)
ProWritingAid is another full-service proofreading software, grammar checker, writing coach, spelling checker, and punctuation checker, that might go into even more grammar details than WhiteSmoke. Take a look at this grammar and punctuation and spell-check tool for your words and yourself.
#1. ProWritingAid has a strong web-based punctuation checker and punctuation errors version, plus Windows and Mac desktop apps compatible with Word.
The online grammar tool is also compatible with text on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox browsers. All of which are simple to use.
That’s not all to love about this grammar checker app, though.
ProWritingAid and its online grammar app tool works with Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Open Office, Scrivener, one of the top writing apps on the market. In fact, it has many Grammarly features users love.
#2. Premium users get both (a) unlimited device connections and (b) unlimited word counts — no restrictions or limitations to speak of!
#3. Each grammar checker app was a pleasure to use. Login to the web version and you’ll get detailed insight within a few clicks:
Even the Chrome and Word checker versions were simple to use, too.
#4. But I think ProWritingAid’s strongest grammar checker sentence structure feature is the insanely-detailed reporting. It’s not just highly accurate, but its sentence structure tool will break down your writing ability into a few key categories.
The Vocabulary checker app report will tell you both (a) how varied your word choice is, and (b) redundant you should really stop using (like my use of “really”).
The Flesh-Kincaid report tells you how easy (or difficult) your content is to read an understand.
And the Writing Style report helps you spot bad habits, like passive voice.
#1. The ProWritingAid free checker is limited. You can only check up to 500 words at a time, and reporting is limited to only 19. So this isn’t a great ‘free’ alternative.
#2. Like Grammarly, ProWritingAid only works with the English language.
#3. ProWritingAid does not offer any mobile apps at this time.
#4. You have to upgrade to Premium Plus (not just Premium for the grammar portion) to unlock the plagiarism checker. And unfortunately, I had a few issues during my checker tests. It kept reporting 0%, even though other tools have flagged the same document up to ~85% plagiarized.
ProWritingAid Costs, Plans, & Payment Options
The ProWriting Premium plan for the grammar checker is only $50 for the year! And they have a lifetime plan that will only cost you $30 bucks more than Grammarly’s one-year option. Super affordable!
I also got my hands on a coupon that brought the annual cost down to $36.00. A steal for this level of grammar accuracy.
Do I Recommend ProWritingAid?
I definitely recommend ProWritingAid as a grammar checker and browser extension.
The cost is unbeatable. And they don’t sacrifice anything, as the accuracy and reporting are both excellent.
My only gripes are the lack of multilingual options and plagiarism checker and spelling and grammar problems.
(Best Grammarly plagiarism alternative)
WhiteSmoke is more than just a simple grammar checker app. It’s a fully-fledged writing armory, full of all kinds of tips and tricks to help you become a better writer.
And it’s the best all-around grammar + plagiarism checker next to Grammarly.
Here are the pros and cons.
#1. Some grammar checkers only check grammar. Same goes for plagiarism checker ones, too. But WhiteSmoke excels at both, giving you everything you might need in one easy-to-use package. Plus, they even throw in writing tutorials and videos to sweeten the deal.
#2. One of the biggest drawbacks for Grammarly is that they only support English. Not so with the WhiteSmoke checker, which is compatible with up to 55 different languages.
#3. WhiteSmoke has dedicated desktop apps if that’s your thing. They have browser extensions for Chrome, FireFox, Safari, and Opera. They even have a web-based version (that I prefer). All are simple and intuitive.
#4. I use the same article as a benchmark when testing each checker tool. This way, we can really see how accurate they are. And I’m happy to report that WhiteSmoke came in near the top, providing a breakdown on everything from spelling, to grammar, and even style.
#1. For some odd reason, the WhiteSmoke desktop app will only let you analyze 10,000 characters at a time. That’s not much. The good news is that you can use another option (like the browser or web-based one) to circumvent this restriction. Having to break up one long doc into a ton of little ones would be painfully annoying.
#2. Analyzing docs for plagiarism worked wonders on the web checker version. But I had some loading issues on the desktop app, where it would just spin and spin and spin.
#3. There is NO free option for WhiteSmoke proofreading tool (unlike Ginger, ranked #2 below). If you wanna try it, you’ll have to pay for the annual price.
#4. WhiteSmoke customer service took over 24 hours to respond to my support query.
I paid for the Premium Plan ($9.99/month for annual payment) for full access to all of WhiteSmoke’s proofreading tool features.
However, they do have a cheaper plan (Essential) that will only set you back $6.59/month when paid annually. So not bad overall.
Do I Recommend WhiteSmoke?
Yes. WhiteSmoke is my second favorite after Grammarly. So if that option doesn’t work for you for some reason, WhiteSmoke should be the next place you look.
(Budget-friendly, grammar runner-up)
Ginger only checks grammar. No plagiarism support at all. However, what it does do, it does excellently. Take a look.
#1. WhiteSmoke supports 55 languages, which was impressive. But Ginger supports over 60. That should have most of the major worldwide languages covered.
#2. The upgraded (read: paid) Ginger plans carry unlimited checks. That means zero restrictions or limitations to hold you back from checking long documents, or A LOT of them.
#3. Ginger has a web-based version, and it works well with Chrome, Safari, the Microsoft Office product suite, and mobile devices.
#4. It’s also extremely easy to use any of these downloadable apps. Point, click, download, and start using ASAP.
#5. I also enjoyed the Ginger interface. No complicated options or tricky menus. A simple toolbar on the left had all of your options, and you can just copy/paste content directly into the huge white space.
#1. The biggest con was mentioned at the top: no plagiarism checker. Bummer if you need access to both from time to time, because it means you’ll have to use a separate tool for that, too.
#2. Some grammar and plagiarism checkers give you access to beautiful, detailed reporting to help you spot recurring issues and become a better writer (or editor). Ginger, unfortunately, is not one of those tools. Here’s the ugly screenshot of their reporting:
#3. The good news is that Ginger does have a free version. The bad news is that it’s pretty limited. So it might be fine for a few checks here or there. But if you’re going to be relying on it daily, you’ll probably have to upgrade to get full value.
#4. Ginger’s customer service department took over 24 hours to get back to us. Left a little to be desired.
I tested Ginger by paying for the monthly option that will set you back $20.97. (Kinda pricey if you’re using it for longer than one month.)
But you can bring that cost down to only $7.69/month if you go ahead and make the full annual commitment.
I also liked that they offer special spelling and grammar discounts to students. So you fiscally-challenged people can save even more.
Do I Recommend Ginger?
Yes, I do.
Ginger is great at what it does: flag and check your grammar mistakes, including passive voice. It was accurate in my tests. And the pricing is good, too.
But be advised that there is no plagiarism tool. And proofreading reporting wasn’t great, either.
(Good plagiarism, no grammar checker)
QueText is primarily a plagiarism checker. (Think of it like the Ginger for plagiarism.) Here’s what I liked (and didn’t like) during my test.
#1. A plagiarism checker is 100% reliant on its proofreading database. If they’re pulling from too few resources, it means they might miss some obvious errors like passive voice. Thankfully, QueText uses over 51-million sources, including stuff in the ‘net, books, and journals.
#2. Paid QueText proofreading and sentence rephraser users can check thousands and thousands of words at a time. The limitations are pretty high.
#3. QueText will also check plagiarism and errors in multiple languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, and Arabic.
#4. My favorite QueText feature was the in-depth reporting for errors. I uploaded the benchmark article, and received an 81-page PDF in return, highlighting all of the major sentence issues.
#5. You will definitely not need a training manual to use QueText. Paste the sentence content, and push a button to check for errors. It really is that easy.
It’ll highlight the sentences that look plagiarized, providing a few notes and details on why each was selected.
#6. QueText’s customer service responded same-day. Hooray!
#1. The first drawback is lack of grammar support for sentence errors and spelling mistakes. This will only help you with plagiarism.
#2. Free users will hit a 500-word cap (up to three checks per month). My company’s standard article is over 2,000+ words. So this wouldn’t work at all.
#3. QueText works well on desktop and browsers but doesn’t support mobile devices right now.
QueText Cost, Plans, & Payment Options
There is a free QueText plan, or you can upgrade to Pro for about $9.99/month.
There is no annual option to bring down that cost, sadly.
Do I Recommend QueText?
I do recommend QueText, if you’re looking for a plagiarism-only tool and don’t mind upgrading to get full access.
Otherwise, if you need grammar support or powerful checking for errors, or the monthly cost seems high and are willing to pay annual, WhiteSmoke might be a better option.
(Excellent plagiarism checker for educators. No grammar.)
CopyLeaks is primarily aimed at educators and businesses. Here’s why.
#1. CopyLeaks has over a billion+ sources in their database.
#2. There is a monthly subscription option for payment (more on that later). But that’s not your only option. Instead, they also offer a pay-as-you-go alternative, where you can pay for points (1oo points = 25,000 words) and use them whenever the need arises.
#3. CopyLeaks is compatible with all major platforms. That includes desktop, browsers, Microsoft Word, mobile, and even Google Docs.
#4. CopyLeaks checker tools reportedly works with all Unicode languages to check for errors.
#5. I sent an email over to their support team and received a custom answer within a few hours on the same day. Very responsive!
#6. CopyLeaks will not only flag plagiarism issues, but it will also show you the original source so you can compare line by line.
#1. CopyLeaks does not allow you to run individual mistakes reports right now. I’d imagine that’s a deal killer for a teacher who’s trying to run individual reports for each student.
#2. Unfortunately, this is another plagiarism-only checker. No grammar options or checking for other mistakes supported at this time.
#3. The point-based pricing system sounds good in theory. But it can actually get really expensive if you’re a heavy user looking for lots of mistakes. It’s ~$60 each month to access the same word count as Grammarly (150,000 words). But you get a lot of additional features with Grammarly, too.
CopyLeaks Cost, Plans, & Payment Options
A CopyLeaks subscription runs from around $10/month on up to $1,100/month, depending on the volume of credits you’ll need.
Do I Recommend CopyLeaks?
I do recommend CopyLeaks if you’re looking for a strong, plagiarism-only option with a massive database of mistakes to check for.
However, the lack of grammar support, plus no mistakes reporting options, puts this lower on the list than the other Grammarly alternatives listed above.
Bonus for Citation-Needers: Citation Machine
Citation Machine supports both grammar and plagiarism checks, as well as a host of mistakes to check for. And they also throw in a works cited generator and a check for grammar errors. Here’s how that works.
Citation Machine Pros
#1. Citation Machine has a great onboarding experience for new users. You’ll get a simple step-by-step walkthrough the first time after logging in.
#2. I was also able to verify that Citation Machine’s grammar errors checker caught all of the glaring issues on my benchmark article. It ranks near the top in accuracy.
#3. Professional writers, students, and their teachers will LOVE the citation creator. It helps you add in-text citations as you go, automatically compiling a bibliography for you. It supports APA, MLA, and Chicago Style.
#4. You’ll even get some style tips from Citation Machine, with common or redundant words and grammatical errors flagged for your attention.
#5. Their plagiarism option is solid, albeit, paid.
#6. Exporting your results is easy, and all previous history is stored inside your account.
Citation Machine Cons
#1. The free version of Citation Machine kinda sucks to be honest. It’s limited to 20 suggestions on a single piece. So you’ll have go upgrade to look for more grammatical errors.
#2. Citation Machine only sports a web-based version. No desktop or mobile options at this time.
#3. Citation Machine also only supports the English language.
Citation Machine Cost
Citation Machine starts at $9.95 per month after the free three-day trial period.
Do I Recommend Citation Machine?
I do and I don’t.
I do because the grammatical errors checking and plagiarism support is great. The citation creator might be worth the cost all by itself for the right people.
However, the limitations are great, the device compatibility is low, and its multilingual support is nonexistent.
The Winners Are…
Grammarly is great. But it’s far from the only game in town.
Thankfully, there is a plethora of legit Grammarly alternatives that can fill the void and check for spelling errors ASAP.
My best all-around alternative is WhiteSmoke. Accurate, easy to use, supports tons of languages, works across all devices, will check both grammar and plagiarism, and the annual billing starts significantly lower than Grammarly.
ProWritingAid’s grammar checker might be the most comprehensive, and its low annual (or lifetime) licenses are the lowest on the market. But the plagiarism checker and spelling errors tool is virtually unusable.
If you just need an affordable, multilingual grammar checker with an easy-to-use browser extension, Ginger is the next best thing.
QueText is similar, but for plagiarism-only. While CopyLeaks and Citation Machine are reserved mostly for educators (with the latter perfect for people who need to cite sources en masse).