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Posted on Jun 11, 2021

ProWritingAid: Grammarly for Serious Writers? (+ Discount Code)

ProWritingAid is a writing tool that aims to help you improve your writing by flagging grammar, spelling, and other writing errors or weaknesses in your text and suggesting appropriate remedies. It’s available as a browser extension, an online web editor, a desktop app, and an add-on feature for Office and Google Docs.

This review will go over ProWritingAid’s functions, accuracy, cost, and how it stacks up against the competition. At the end, we’ll also provide a discount code for 20% off any subscription if you’re ready to take the plunge. But first, here's a quick summary:

Pros: 

  • Offers stylistic reports and suggestions along with grammar and spelling checks 
  • Compatible with a variety of file types and operating systems 
  • Suitable for a range of writing styles (copywriting, academic writing, book writing, etc.) 
  • Cheaper than Grammarly 

Cons:

  • Often slow and unreliable when working with large files on the Web Editor
  • Suggestions can be inaccurate and will not be enough to copyedit or proofread a book
  • Requires a live internet connection — even with the desktop app

Given its functions and its broad compatibility with other writing platforms, ProWritingAid is considered one of the best alternatives to Grammarly. In fact, the “Grammarly vs. ProWritingAid” question is a hot topic in the realm of grammar checkers — one which we will address later on in the post. Before we get there, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of ProWritingAid’s functions and costs. 

Feature overview 

For the full user experience, you have to subscribe to ProWritingAid’s Premium plan.  Beyond the basic real-time grammar and spelling checks, this package gives you access to the desktop app, where documents of various formats (Scrivener files included!) can be imported and scanned for a range of different reports. We’ll go over these features below. 

Real-time grammar, spelling, and stylistic suggestions   

Real-time suggestions are the bare minimum you should expect of any grammar app. With a real-time function and browser extensions, ProWritingAid follows whatever you type and underlines words and phrases that it thinks can do with some improvement as you go. The suggestions are color-coded for your ease of use:

  • Spelling mistakes in red; 
  • Grammatical errors in blue; 
  • Sticky words and crutch words in yellow; 
  • Passive voice in purple. 

You can then hover your mouse over the underlined word or phrase, and a list of suggestions for improvements will appear. Whether you make a correction or ignore these suggestions is entirely up to you. 

This real-time function can be used on multiple platforms, including Word, Google Docs, and our free writing tool, the Reedsy Book Editor

ProWritingAid | Used with the Reedsy Book Editor
Correct your book while you're writing it on the Reedsy Book Editor!

You can also update the app’s dictionary and language preferences to suit your needs, i.e., to include the spelling of names that are not common in English or to follow British spelling and punctuation rules rather than American ones. 

Be aware, though, that not every suggestion that ProWritingAid makes will be correct — particularly regarding grammar. This, of course, is an AI limitation shared by all of PWA’s competitors.

ProWritingAid | Grammar Mistake Made by App
Much like your phone’s autocorrect, ProWritingAid doesn’t always understand what you mean.

As such, it’s important to remember that even though ProWritingAid is good at spotting breaks from standard English syntax, it can’t replace actual human insight into the nuances of the language. It is helpful in that it visibly highlights potential mistakes. However, you still need to make a judgment call yourself on whether to act on suggested fixes or work with a professional editor who has enough expertise to do so. 

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In-app explanations 

If the app only makes suggestions and you still have to exercise some personal judgment, is it actually that helpful? Google Docs and Microsoft Word have grammar- and spell-checking features themselves, while the Hemingway App also provides recommendations regarding sentence length and passive voice. What might make a writer want to use ProWritingAid more than these other writing apps?

Well, the added benefit of this particular tool is its focus on educating the user. Rather than expecting you to make sense of its suggestions on your own, every underlined instance comes with a brief explanation of the reason why it’s flagged. For a more extensive learning experience, you can access videos and quizzes in the desktop version. That way, you can feel better equipped to make an informed decision as you self-edit your work!

ProWritingAid | In-app Explanations for Mistakes
There are explanations provided for each mistake.

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Specific reports to tighten your prose 

All that said, the real thing that sets ProWritingAid apart from other programs is the range of reports that it offers. With the Premium plan, you get access to 20+ reports on different aspects of your document. Below are some of the reports available which go beyond the usual grammatical recommendations. 

  • Pacing Check: looking at paragraph length and use of dialogue to flag potential slow-paced sections
  • Readability Report: using the Flesch Reading Score’s scale to detect purple prose 
  • Dialogue Tags Check: highlighting unusual/inappropriate dialogue tags or opportunities to show, rather than tell 
  • Diction Report: flagging up instances of vague words that make sentences unnecessarily long and inefficient 

When you choose your desired report, suggestions for that particular facet of the writing craft will show up via underlines throughout your document — just as with basic errors in the real-time editor. 

With these reports, you can see why ProWritingAid claims to be a writing mentor as well as a grammar checker. What's more, the reports are fit for many purposes: the Pacing and Dialogue Tag Checks will be best appreciated by novelists, while copywriters might find more use in the Readability Report. 

However, remember that these are computer-generated recommendations, so they can sometimes be formulaic and unsuited to the context. The heftiness of the program also means the app can sometimes be slow or even crash, especially if you’re using the Web Editor rather than the desktop app and you’ve imported a heavy file. 

Plagiarism checks available on demand

The final ProWritingAid feature we want to highlight is its plagiarism detection tool. It scans your document for any sentences similar to existing sources, either written by others or yourself, so that you can either rephrase or add accurate references. The similarity is measured in percentage so you can know how far you need to adjust your writing. 

With the Premium subscription plan, you’ll have to top-up your plagiarism checking credit, the minimum amount for which is $10. With that, you get 10 checks, and each check covers a maximum of 2,000 words — the more credit you buy, the lower the price of each check. 

This added extra can be a convenient tool for any writer who wants to publish something, be it books, magazine articles, or academic papers. In any case, it's a helpful add-on for anyone who needs it on top of the editing suggestions. 

Pricing plans

Thus far, we’ve reviewed the Premium plan features since it’s the plan that would probably be the most useful to most writers. But you might be glad to know that there is also a feature-light, free version of ProWritingAid — as well as a super-premium package for those feeling a bit flush. 

 

ProWritingAid Free

ProWritingAid Premium

ProWritingAid Premium Plus

Price 

Free

$20/month

$79/year

$399/lifetime

$24/month

$89/month

$499/lifetime

Platforms 

- Web extension

 

- Google Doc/MS Office add-ons

 

- Web Editor 

Same as Free, plus:

 

- Desktop app

Same as Premium

Reports 

Limited to 500 words

For documents of any length

Same as Premium, plus:

 

-60 plagiarism checks per month 

The most crucial difference between the free and Premium plan is access to the downloadable desktop app, which tends to be better for long-form writers because:

  • It’s less likely to crash due to document size than the browser version 
  • It can import and export documents in a wider variety of files, including Scrivener and Final Draft ones (the Web Editor only exports Word documents) 

If you’re just writing for communication purposes (i.e., emails, presentations, short articles), then the free version may suffice. But if you’re working on a lengthier project and you think you can benefit from this writing tool’s features, then the Premium plan is the way to go. 

The Premium Plus plan is similar to the Premium one, only with 60 plagiarism checks per month. Academic writers who rely on this kind of checks regularly might find this package handy. 

20% off ProWritingAid Subscriptions

For readers of the Reedsy Blog, we’ve secured a discount of 20% off any ProWritingAid subscription! To take advantage of this rate, sign up with this unique link

Is ProWritingAid better than Grammarly?

Now that we’ve covered the functions and pricing of ProWritingAid, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: how does this app compare to the grammar-checking giant Grammarly? Both are grammar checkers with free and premium plans, compatible with various platforms, and offering a desktop app. 

However, some key differences between the two might mean that one is better suited for authors and long-form writers than the other.  

ProWritingAid 

Grammarly 

  • High compatibility with many kinds of text files 
  • Wide variety of functions that applies to long-form fiction and non-fiction writing
  • $20/month for the Premium plan  
  • Higher accuracy thanks to bigger database 
  • Focuses on conciseness and clarity, best for professional writing 
  • $30/month when subscribed as a single user

While Grammarly tends to be more accurate in its suggestions, its criteria for good writing are based mainly on how concise and efficient the text is. Unlike ProWritingAid, Grammarly is not designed to consider pacing, dialogue, and more complex aspects of the craft.

Naturally, Grammarly thus has fewer features, even though its premium plan costs more than ProWritingAid. If you use our discount code, then the monthly subscription for the latter will only be about half the former’s!

So if you’re a writer, and you work with long texts that you’re planning on publishing, then ProWritingAid might be the more suitable option. If you want help polishing your day-to-day professional writing, Grammarly could be the way to go. 

Is ProWritingAid right for you?

If you’re still uncertain if ProWritingAid is a good fit, this 30-second quiz can provide a quick recommendation as to what writing tool will suit your needs best!

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Generally, there are several situations in which ProWritingAid can be helpful:

  • When you’re drafting your book on Scrivener and want to polish your prose as you go;
  • When you’re revising a draft before sending it for review from an editor or a peer. 

Regardless, you should try to see ProWritingAid like a pair of special glasses — ones that scan your document, highlight potential errors, and recommend amendments. These “glasses'' might help you combat the weariness of re-reading and correcting your writing by preventing things from slipping through the cracks. However, there limits to the correcting power of such a tool. Your ProWritingAid goggles cannot be used instead of a professional editor if you’re preparing your manuscript for publication. 

Hopefully, this comprehensive breakdown has given you a clear idea of what ProWritingAid offers and that you’ll find the appropriate assistance for perfecting your draft!