Today we are going to cover some of the best free grammar and punctuation checker tools to help you improve your writing and avoid any embarrassing mistakes.
Whether you have just started blogging and regularly writing content or if you have been doing it for years you are bound to make mistakes when you are quickly trying to get your ideas onto paper or in most cases today, the screen.
Some of these are simply typos or when you have used an expression out of context and no matter how much you proofread your own articles you are likely to skim over things because after all you wrote it and know what it says.
This leads to mistakes slipping through the cracks.
If you want to remain credible and have people respect your work you have to come across as professional and thorough in your writing, it can make a big difference.
But we are human so mistakes we will make! Fortunately, there are pretty advanced tools you can use in 2020 that will scan your content and highlight your errors and they work a lot better than the old fashioned spellcheckers.
Hopefully, we won’t make mistakes as bad as the writer and editor of this magazine below.
I certainly hope Rachel Ray’s family and dog are safe, but now you can see the potential danger of making punctuation errors!
What I love about these tools over traditional spellchecker solutions is that they find contextual mistakes based on your sentence structure and the words you have used together and even when you have started a sentence with the same words too many times or too close together to help you improve your writing.
Personally I think these tools are so good now you hardly need a proofreader, or at least you can massively minimize the proofreading that’s necessary when you have finished your own editing.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at my list of the best online punctuation checker tools and services.
Best Free Punctuation and Grammar Checker
Let’s take a look at some of the punctuation and grammar checkers that you can start using for free.
My number 1 choice and the punctuation checker I use is Grammarly.
I use recommend Grammarly because they offer both a free and premium version of their tool and both are the best in their respected classes but for a lot of people, the free version is sufficient.
I started off with the free version but upgraded to the premium option once I saw the benefits and how cost-effective it was to use this tool rather than having to spend more time proofreading at a snail’s pace.
If you are a blogger, author, journalist, webmaster or anyone that writes or edits content for the web or print then Grammarly is a must-have.
Grammarly offers several ways you can check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation while you work:
- Chrome Extension / Firefox Add-on – So you can have Grammarly scan all of the content you are working on in the browser environment. This means WordPress, Google Docs and Gmail for me but also works on 99% of other websites, I just tend to use the formerly mentioned tools the most.
- Cloud / Web Browser Tool – You can also write and check your content directly in the Grammarly website.
- Microsoft Office / Word Add-on – You can also download an add-on that works with Microsoft Word and the other office programs so you can easily check your grammar and punctuation in your word processor software.
Grammarly’s contextual spell checker is also a fantastic feature that helps you spot words that are technically spelled correctly but not in the context you are using them and the pro version also features a plagiarism checker, which is ideal if you are editing the work of others.
Most people will go for the English (US) variant of the English language however it also supports British English, Australian English and Canadian English which all have subtle differences in spelling and grammar rules.
I will often switch between American English and British English depending on what I am working on. I work with clients on both sides of the pond and I also run/manage websites that target these two different countries.
If a website is targeting an international audience I will go for American English as it’s more commonplace.
In short, Grammarly will give you superpowers whenever you are writing anything, whether it’s an email, a blog article or on Facebook, you can rest assured every sentence you write has been scanned against over 250 different grammatical errors in their database.
This list is being constantly increased and refined over time as they learn more about the common issues people run into.
Grammarly uses both machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to help it evolve and increase its capabilities.
Perhaps the closest competitor to Grammarly’s throne is White Smoke and seems to be a popular option among non-native English writers and bloggers.
White Smoke offers a similar set of features to Grammarly and checks for both grammatical and punctuation mistakes in your content.
The problem is that this tool isn’t anywhere near as good at finding contextual grammar errors as Grammarly.
One advantage it has over Grammarly is that they also offer an iOS and Android app in addition to their browser add-on for Chrome and Firefox.
So if you do a lot of writing on a smartphone then you might want to check this option if you want to use correct grammar and lack confidence.
Ginger Punctuation Checker
Ginger has been around for years and while it looks basic it performs pretty well especially with context-specific grammar mistakes.
There’s both a free and paid version just like Grammarly and offers browser extensions and an MS-Word add-on.
Unlike Grammarly, this tool does have an app available for iPhones and Android devices which replaces the default keyboard.
Personally I don’t do much in the way of work on my phone and so this isn’t a must-have feature for me, but it might be for you.
After the Deadline
After The Deadline is a grammar and punctuation app created by Automatic (The creators of WordPress) and is available as a browser bookmarklet that works with Firefox and Chrome and an extension for Libra Open Office but not Microsoft Word.
This solution is also built into the popular Jetpack plugin for WordPress, so if you use that you can install this service on your WordPress website easily but it won’t work on everything else unless you use the other tools.
There is also a web-based version of this tool that can be found at PolishMyWriting.com
Another web-based grammar and punctuation error tool that’s basic but easy to use and free.
Simply copy and paste your essay or article into the page and click “Get Report” to see the analysis results.
The premium version allows you to check for plagiarism too.
Curiously their website does advertise Grammarly so you shouldn’t expect this solution to be on par.
LanguageTool is a powerful option because in addition to allowing you to check grammar and punctuation errors in English it also supports another 32 different languages! Very useful if you run a non-English speaking website or blog or if you write in more than one language.
The other impressive fact is that this tool is completely open-source and that is a massive win for a lot of people.
There’s a web-based tool, browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, a Google Docs add-on, a standalone desktop application and also an add-on for LibreOffice (Open Office).
I have always been a fan of Open Office, the open-source alternative to Microsoft Word however these days I tend to use Google Docs the most.
ProWritingAid is more than a grammar and punctuation checker, it is also a style editor and “writing mentor” in one package. At least that’s how they describe themselves.
From my brief tests, it is a simple to use and powerful tool that I can definitely see people liking. It almost feels like you have a writing coach.
You can try it for free but there are limitations and I don’t think it can compare with the free version of Grammarly.
Grammar & Punctuation Checker – Final Thoughts
As you probably guessed, I recommend Grammarly out of the options listed above and think any student or professional who’s job involves writing should be using a grammar and punctuation checker.
None of the options are perfect 100% of the time but they are close, and Grammarly is the closest from my testing.
There are three things you need to master to be a good writer:
- Spelling – Spelling is about forming words with the correct letters in the correct order and the ability to do this.
- Grammar – Grammar refers to the whole system and structure of a written language that includes syntax and morphology and sometimes phonology and semantics too.
- Punctuation – Punctuation is the use of symbols like periods/full stops, commas, question marks and apostrophes to divide written words into sentences and clauses.
Notice I said “good writer” because to be great you also need a fourth ingredient – creativity!
Whether English is your first language or your second language it’s important to not take the above for granted and think your spelling, grammar and punctuation are perfect.
Get yourself one of these tools (Hint: Grammarly) and you won’t have to keep checking Google every time you are uncertain of if you are using commas or apostrophes correctly.
Instead, let software and A.I help you catch mistakes before you hit publish and help you learn where you need to improve at the same time.
Here are some other articles you might find interesting:
- Should You Blog, Vlog or Podcast?
- LinkWhisper Review – Build & Optimize Internal Links in WordPress
- How to Perform Blogger Outreach
- Guide to Starting a Blog
- Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas Updated for 2020