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Imagine you’re on a deadline to submit a report to your new and very exacting boss, or you’re writing an article for your favorite website. Either way, you want the content to be excellently written.
There was once a time and place where all we needed was MS Office, and it’s a trusty spell checker. Now, there are way more sophisticated tools out there.
You’ll be pleased to hear; they’re easy to use and offer more than just spelling and grammar checks.
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These two writing tools are the best of the best, so if you’re unsure which to opt for, you’re in the right place. We’re going to take a look at both of them and list their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.
Let’s dive in!
As soon as you hit its home page you see a plethora of five-star reviews:
WhiteSmoke is a one-stop writing software tool that checks your grammar, writing style, punctuation, and spelling. It’s designed to suggest improvements to your writing style and highlight all potential mistakes a writer might make.
Whitesmoke is used all over the world both by native and non-native English speakers, it uses Natural Language Processing or NLP technology and algorithms to mimic or “learn” how the brain works while you’re writing.
The company has invested millions of dollars into developing its products and has been rated the number one tool for English grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style.
They also provide companies with tailor-made applications that improve the quality of their English communications.
So, what do you get for your money?
Desktop Premium does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a grammar, spelling, punctuation and style checker that can be used on your desktop both online and offline. It works in Outlook, MS Word, web browsers (such as Chrome and Firefox) as well as other popular editing tools.
With WhiteSmoke Web, you can log into any web browser, start writing and this product will check and correct your grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style.
You can access WhiteSmoke’s mobile app using either the Apple Store or Google Play. Once downloaded, it will ensure you use excellent writing, style, punctuation, and grammar while you’re on the go. You can also access a few English Writing tutorials to help improve your written communication skills.
Prices start at a basic ‘web only’ package for $49.95 a year and extend to the business bundle at $137.94 (which is compatible with Windows, Mac, and all internet browsers). The downside to all these payment plans is that you can’t try before you buy, although they do offer a demo video on their website.
As you can probably tell from the pricing, the business bundle is the most comprehensive of all the above packages. As such, you’d expect to receive a lot for your money- never fear, WhiteSmoke doesn’t disappoint.
You’ll get access to all of the following:
Once the software is up and running on your computer (or smartphone), it basically offers to edit anything and everything you enter. It shows spelling errors in red and grammar issues in green. You’ll be given suggested changes that appear above your text. Plus, WhiteSmoke explains why what you’ve written is incorrect to help you improve the quality of your future work.
However, if you disagree with their proposed amendments- you always have the option to ignore!
There’s also a translator tool that translates your writing into different languages. Some of it’s free, however, after a certain threshold, you’ll be taken to a partner site which charges seven cents a word. Presently, their website doesn’t make it clear just which languages or how many WhiteSmoke can translate- reviews vary between 11 and 47!
There’s also an all-important plagiarism checker. This is an essential tool for students, content marketers, writers, and authors. Plagiarism (albeit accidental) is a big no-no in all these fields!
When TopTenReviews tested the software themselves, they were impressed. However, they said it didn’t catch everything. For example, it missed capitalizations and only picked up on some repetition. However, despite spotting a missed question mark, it lost an incorrect use of a semi-colon- but, it successfully caught a few howlers, such as the misuse of there, they’re and their.
Interestingly, the reviews over on TrustPilot.com beg to differ. Their site’s littered with complaints about chronically poor customer service, software bugs, lifetime licenses “expiring,” deleted text you can’t retrieve, and difficulties obtaining a refund.
Grammarly is another hugely popular online grammar, spelling and punctuation platform. Employees and entrepreneurs across the globe love it!
Launched back in 2009, they now have offices in San Francisco, New York, and Kyiv. Their proofreading tools check against more than 250 grammar rules!
At the time of writing, Grammarly boasts more than 15 million subscribers and works across emails, documents, and even social media posts.
In fact, Fast Company lists it as one of the world’s most innovative AI companies in 2019, and when a TopTenReview writer reviewed it, she called it the; ‘best grammar checker out there.’
Unlike WhiteSmoke, Grammarly offers a free account in the form of a Google Chrome extension. It only takes a couple of minutes to get up and running and checks your text’s grammar, punctuation, and spelling, when using either a mobile or desktop device.
Not to mention, if you head over to Grammarly’s site, you can read through all its research on linguistic technology- which is pretty interesting stuff!
You can also join their Facebook Community, follow them on Twitter and read their daily blog for a better insight into the world of writing. In short, Grammarly appears much more outward facing than WhiteSmoke.
Unfortunately, Grammarly for MS Office isn’t supported on Mac. As the name suggests, this tool conducts grammar checks while you use MS word. You don’t have to copy and paste all your work into the online app; instead, it scans for errors while you’re writing. You just need an internet connection, and you’re good to go!
Best of all, just like the Chrome extension, Grammarly for MS Office is also completely free of charge!
There’s a real push for users to sign up to Grammarly Premium, including claims that 85% of Premium customers report being a better writer as a result of using the service.
The best price for Premium is their annual subscription of $139.95. It’s cheaper than both their quarterly and monthly rates.
Users access not only grammar, punctuation, spelling and plagiarism checks but also suggestions on how to improve their writing style to make it more unique.
The premium option also provides other features such as:
There’s also a proofreading service, but this costs extra and is charged either per word or hour.
If you’re unsure whether Grammarly Premium is for you or not, their website has “live” examples of how their checker works and what it looks like.
This is an easy to use Mac application for Grammarly users. You just have to drag a file you want to proofread into Grammarly, and it does the work for you.
This is a neat little keyboard that helps you write better in all your apps, whether it’s to write an email or publish a Tweet.
We love that Grammarly doesn’t take a ‘one size fits all approach.’ Instead, you can select the writing profile that best suits your content:
Once you’ve made your selection, Grammarly tailors its recommendations accordingly.
These days with there being so much content on the web, it’s never been easier to plagiarize your copy (albeit accidentally). This is why Grammarly’s advanced plagiarism checker is particularly handy.
It scans your copy and tries to sees where your text is present elsewhere on the internet. Not only is this good practice, but it’s also vital for SEO, making it an excellent tool for digital marketers.
If you click on the scores highlighted at the bottom of the app, you’ll get a detailed report showing you which parts of the text are plagiarized. You’ll be pointed to all the specific websites showcasing the same copy as you, so you can make the necessary amendments.
You should note: by ‘scores’, we mean a percentage of how much of your content is plagiarized.
A premium annual subscription costs $11.66 per month, which is taken as a one-off $139.95. Alternatively, you can pay a monthly $29.95 per month or quarterly which works out to be $19.98 per month.
In addition to paying for Grammarly Premium, you can also send your work (or extracts from it) to a human proofreader via the Grammarly app. Depending on how quickly you need your copy returned it’ll cost you anywhere between $0.02 and $0.12 per word.
When Bryan Collins tested the software, he found that the Grammarly editor highlighted errors in the following places:
These all appear in the sidebar of Grammarly’s app. You can then scroll through these issues and fix them with a simple click. Bryan also notes that Grammarly provides sufficient context to explain each of these mistakes.
Although Whitesmoke is cheaper than Grammarly Premium, Grammarly is the best when it comes to value for money. It’s easy to use, adapts to the needs of your specific writing style, and is excellent at checking for plagiarism.
All in all, if you’re a content marketer, blogger, author, student, or a teacher- this is a fabulous tool to use.
Conversely, WhiteSmoke is also a pretty decent resource- especially, if you’re using more than one device. As such, you don’t have to be glued to your laptop to get to work. Not to mention, WhiteSmoke’s translator service is another handy hallmark.
WhiteSmoke’s ideal for those who regularly do business with international clients speaking a different language to you, or if you want to work from numerous devices.
So, it all comes down to your budget and the nature of your writing needs- but really and truly, they’re both fabulous programs, you can’t go too far wrong with either.
Have you got any experience using either of these tools? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments box below. Speak soon!
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Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist who specializes in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to the Digital Merchant, you can also find her published on E-commerce Platforms, E-Commerce Champ, and Crazy Egg. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.