Grammarly is a plagiarism detection and writing-enhancement tool, has anyone tried it?
Grammarly with Canvas LMS - YouTube
Hello there, Charles McCann...
While I have never used Grammarly myself, I wanted to share these links with you that I've found here in the Canvas Community. In each of these discussions, there's at least one mention of Grammarly that you might want to look at:
Alternative to Turnitin?
Is there a free app for a plagiarism checker?
Provide Turnitin to Students
Student word count minimum for Discussion Post
Also, your question doesn't sound like it may have one "Correct" answer, so I am going to convert your Question (where a response can be marked as "Correct") to a Discussion. I hope this is alright with you.
People should be aware of the extremely poor quality of Grammarly's grammar correction (so-called), which is true also for all of these automated grammar checkers. The people who are able to benefit most from such systems are the ones who can be sensitive to the numerous false-positives and false-negatives that such systems produce, especially the false-positives (telling someone there is a grammar problem when there is no problem at all). That means these products are the least helpful to the students who most need help.
For helping students with work on writing mechanics, see this helpful post from Jennifer Gonzales:
How to Deal with Student Grammar Errors
About Grammarly's plagiarism-detection, I have no experience with that because I do not believe in using automated plagiarism detectors (more on that).
I test the grammar checkers always hoping that I will find one good enough to recommend to my students; so far I have not found one even worth recommending, although ATD is the least bad based on my testing (fewest false-positives), for whatever that's worth, so it is the one I recommend to my students, but that's only to use as a spellchecker which they can access on any computer (without grammar checking that is going to do more harm than good):
Online Course Wiki / Word Count and Spellcheck
Charles, I'd like to echo what Laura Gibbs has said. Many of the students in my higher level writing intensive classes struggled with basic writing skills—yet they viewed Grammarly and other mechanical grammar correcting programs as some sort of panacea. I urged them to ignore Grammarly, and instead to take their work to our Writing Center or avail themselves of the services of The specified item was not found. (which allows students to work one-on-one in synchronous sessions with live tutors or submit their work for asynchronous grammar feedback).
I find the problem is that many students want last minute help before their midnight deadline, when an academic writing tutor is not available!
Oh, Carol, I completely agree; I've seen plenty of that work come through my SpeedGrader. :-) And I take great pains to tell them well in advance that if that's the road they choose, their work will reflect that—and so will their grades. As it happens, though, Tutor.com's live tutoring service is available 24/7 (and I take great pains to tell them that too).
I ain't no good writter. I am using Grammarly, a Russian product, now and the only thing it caught in that first sentence is writter. Automated anything has its limitations. While the AI dream and nightmare is a future reality, it is not here now. Simply ask Siri a number of questions to see this reality. I still use Grammarly to catch my use of passive verbs and I like their spell checker.
We reviewed Grammarly's anti-plagiarism capabilities and found that the tool is targeted at the student to use prior to handing in a paper and not for the teacher to use. The teacher was able to upload student papers, but this was not a process like you have with Turnitin.
There is nothing scarier in my job than writing an email to English professors as an IT geek.
FWIW the English professors are just as scared of HTML. :-)
Yeah, well, the eggheads put ain't into the dictionary not so long ago so Grammarly would allow "ain't no."
Just wondering Laura Gibbs, Stefanie Sanders, David Willmore, Danny Wahl and anyone else if you have used the premium version of Grammarly as opposed to the free version. Automated checkers of any kind can only do so much but it looks as though the premium version claims to catch twice as many errors as the free version. Curious if anyone has experience with the paid version.
Not really of interest because I would never urge my students to pay for such a service, but if somebody has a paid account and wants a copy of one of the proofreading assessments I used to use with my students, I would be glad to share the piece of writing and then compare the results to what I usually see with students.
Here's an example of that comparison against WriteCheck (aka WriteMeACheck), TurnItIn's service to rip off students with hyped promises of writing "help"
Yes, mine is a premium version. We have it available for all of the proposal writers here at Instructure. I don't know that I could quantify the amount of errors from when I was using the free version vs. the paid version. Though I doubt that I will be renewing my subscription. In fact, it's turned off right now (as evidenced by the grammar of this reply ).
As writing teachers all know, the choice of word order, word form, punctuation, etc., depend on the writer's MEANING. Even the spellchecker fails to identify misspellings because it doesn't understand what things mean.
I'm hopeful that in the near future we might get a smarter spellchecker, informed at least by the frequency of word usage and some phraseological collocations.
Meanwhile, I don't think people are even seriously working on grammar checkers because it is a lost cause; the real work is going into automated translation services, and those make no promises of perfection but just "good enough / better than nothing."
P.S. Just after returning to work after writing that comment, I found parish for perish in a student's story.
A smarter spellchecker cannot come soon enough for me... :-)
I agree on the smart spellchecker. Then again Stephen Hawking did warn about A.I. ending the human race so maybe it shouldn't be too smart!
Mwahahahaha. Now I am imagining a spellchecker with apocalyptic powers! :-)
I liked and clicked No on helpful. That was very funny Laura.
It's been a while, Eric, but if I recall correctly, my school had a license for Grammarly. But as I said upthread, I encouraged students to use our online live (human) tutoring and our face-to-face Writing Center resources and skip the mechanical shortcuts altogether. My writing assignments required far more than correct grammar, so I didn't want to mislead my students into thinking the bar was set that low. Mechanical checkers do not help students structure their essays with strong introductions and conclusions, write thesis statements, craft good arguments, and support their assertions with peer-reviewed sources.
I pay for the premium version, and it adds little to the free version for me when it comes to grammar checking my work, but it has helped educate me in my printed work. Often I find Grammarly offers suggestions that I do not follow but do investigate. The investigation makes me more aware of the syntax why and why not of the English language.
Paying for the product is not necessary to get the basic functionality. I use it because it is indirectly educating me on a subject that I am subpar. Grammarly is not a panacea and accepting its judgments on grammar should never be done without the writer knowing exactly why or why not they should accept the Grammarly advice.
Writing is a mix of syntax and art and English syntax is a mess.
suggestions that I do not follow but do investigate
Being offered additional options to consider, this is how I'd use it.
Thanks David Willmore. I've used Grammarly myself and with students in the past, with similar goals and cautions as you indicated.
Grammarly doesn't do a great job of explaining that different components of their tool are only available in different areas. There are three main ways to use grammarly:
The browser plugin, which is the only one that "works" with Canvas, has the least amount of features. It does not perform style checking, plagiarism detection, vocabulary enhancement, or allow proofreading. It is simply a spell check and grammar check tool. That said, the spelling and grammar check do work.
Also, I haven't tested it with Canvas since around August, so features may have changed.
I use the free version that I added on my browser and desktop. I would like to know if it is worth paying for the product or if the free version is good enough?
Hi Brooke. I have only used the paid version, so don't know how this would compare to what can be done free. I had a relatively positive experience with the paid version, as did many of the faculty and staff I know utilized the tool. As David Willmore mentioned, everyone I knew who used Grammarly evaluated suggestions and determined on a case-by-case basis whether to accept or disregard the change. We had an institutional license so I didn't have to pay myself for the premium version and our institution used TurnItIn for plagiarism checks so Grammarly was mostly to look at basic grammar, sentence structure, etc.
The paid version adds a little more depth to its commentary on your findings. It flags things that, while not critical, are things that you might want to think about.
But it does nothing to save you from sentences that do not make sense. I meant writing and not findings above.
Just visited this page, I use grammerly all of the time, next best thing to sliced bread!!! It will also look at any of your other file in your computer, it will do an analysis of your writing form and critic it will the new document you are working on. worth the money.
Thanks for the insight Faith! I didn't know that the program could analyze your writing form and use this for critiquing another document. I will give this a try sometime.
I've not tried the paid-for version of Grammarly, though colleagues who have are frustrated by the number of false positives. My gripe with Grammarly is the way they persuade students to cough up for the full version by playing on their insecurities. A while back a student came to me in a panic because Grammarly (free version) had indicated a substantial amount of copied text in his uploaded document. In order to view the text match he would have to pay. I ran his document through Turnitin and there appeared to be no problem. Similarly, the free version has detected errors in my flawless prose which simply are not there (if you REALLY want to irritate an English teacher, try correcting their English!).
Like Laura Gibbs and Stephanie Sanders I would always direct students towards human help.
At the same time, I'm interested in exploring the use of grammar checkers in teaching writing. Has anyone evaluated the Grammar and Style options in MS Word 2016? (We are still using 2010).
Hi Carol Bailey! I ran the proofreading assessment that I give to my students through Microsoft Word and the results were ridiculous; it may do better on standard academic prose (?), but it was clueless about how to work with narrative fiction. At least it had fewer false positives than TurnItIn's WriteCheck... and your comments made me wonder if those false positives in WriteCheck were a feature, not a bug, trying to increase insecurity and feelings of dependence in the user so that they would keep on paying for the service. Ouch! At least MSWord has no such negative incentive since the money has already been paid up front.
This is a test I ran in 2012, but I doubt the results will be substantially different in a newer version of Word. That is not something Microsoft is investing in aggressively. Google is going to be the winner here if/when they deploy a product because the same kinds of phraseological/collocation AI they are building to support their translation services will also be extremely valuable for writing checks. I've already seen huge improvements in the OCR from Google Books for the same reasons... and using that kind of automation on an OCR scan makes perfect sense; I doubt it will ever be truly useful to language learners who do not have the skills to critically interpret the results on their own.
The MSWord "spelling and grammar check" (so-called) for the proofreading prac...
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