Let’s say you’ve got grammar down cold and don’t think Grammarly Grammar Checker is something you need in your writing resources toolkit. Maybe you’re right and maybe instead of saying, “Improve your writing with Grammarly,” I should say, “This is how I improved my writing with Grammarly.” However, a blog I read this morning made me think the lessons I learned from my experiment may be applicable to others.
The post was called, When it Feels Like the World is Against You – Stay Positive in Your Job Search. This paragraph reminded me of my experiment:
Strangely, considering the application is made electronically or via paper, employers can tell when a person is not motivated to work for the company by the tone of the application. If you’ve grown tired of filling in application forms, this can be reflected in what you write. This is very easy to do and quite often people don’t even realise that they’re doing it.
When I was Putting Grammarly to the Test, a couple of interesting patterns emerged:
- When I was bored, I tended to overuse the passive voice.
- When I was feeling upbeat, I tended to overuse “you.”
I know better than to do either, but I was doing them both unconsciously. Grammarly picks these things up and recommends making appropriate changes.
Sometimes, I deliberately use the passive voice when I want to sound neutral or a touch pompous:
The new laws have been bitterly opposed by critics of the administration.
“Critics of the administration are bitterly opposed the new laws” seems a little too active to me when I’m trying to remain neutral. Depending on the rest of the content, it may sound as if the author is strongly for or against the “new laws” they are writing about. The passive voice takes some of the sting out of the statement.
Some editors say there is never a place for the passive voice. Demand Studios, for example, demanded using “actionable” verbs only. Better editors understand that there is a place for it, and a conscientious writer uses the passive voice consciously. Grammarly helped me become conscious of it again and improve my writing.
Grammarly gives you the option of choosing general, academic, technical or casual writing styles. For my articles, I chose “general” and was stunned to discover how often I used “you” in some articles. That’s fine to a degree, but I was overdoing it in some of the articles on subjects I am passionate about. Writing something like, “Have you ever wondered why . . .?” can draw the reader in and personalise an article, but if you keep on doing it, you’re in danger of sounding preachy or amateurish. This is my blog, so I don’t really care that much, but when writing for others, I try to be a little more professional and impersonal. Once again, Grammarly helped me become conscious of a habit I had become unconscious of.
When I was writing fluff for article mills, I learned how to write 500 words fast and paid little attention to research or the elements of style. The only way I could even approach making a living wage was to limit research to 10 minutes and bang out the words in about half an hour. When I started getting better paying work, I was able to afford to give every article my best effort. That paid off in raised rates, repeat assignments and great referrals. That’s why I’m so passionate about Grammarly: I really believe it can help you make more money as a freelance writer.
I want to draw your attention to one more thing before I go. The Grammarly Plagiarism Checker is fast and super accurate. I tested it against Copyscape and it picked up some “plagiarism” even Copyscape missed. They were common phrases and didn’t really count as “plagiarism,” but it was nice to know it was doing its job. I’m sure Copyscape does its job equally well, but having a grammar checker and plagiarism checker right there on Word really helped speed up the proofreading and editing process.
Go on, give Grammarly grammar & plagiarism checker a try. If you don’t like it, just cancel your account in the specified time and it won’t cost you a dime.