Should You Use 'Grammarly' Anymore?

Screenshot: Grammarly

I used to love Grammarly, the helpful browser plugin that analyses what you type and calls out your poor spelling and grammar choices — for you to fix or ignore, depending on what kind of a writer you are. I ended up uninstalling it after a few months because it seemed to be a bit of a resource hog, and I found that Chrome’s built-in spellcheck was all I really needed, anyway.

More importantly, there has been a regular back-and-forth between Grammarly users and the company about what kind of window Grammarly has into your online life. The extension works by analysing what you type, after all. It collects this data, processes it, and (presumably) deletes it when it’s done. While that sounds innocent on paper, and Grammarly swears by its privacy practices, that’s still a healthy dose of trust you’ve giving to a company you know nothing about.

Can you trade the convenience of a grammar-checking tool against the trustworthiness of a company that says it deletes the copious amount of data you send it? That all depends on your comfort level. (Even then, privacy-perfect companies can have... issues.)

Before you make your decision to stick with Grammarly, or leave, you should take a few moments to see what data Grammarly has collected about you. Request your personal data report, a process that isn’t automated per se, but instead goes through Grammarly’s regular support/ticketing system.

To Grammarly’s credit, it only took the company a few minutes for them to create my report and send it on over. Since I haven’t been using the service for some time, and I’ve never actually uploaded documents to store on Grammarly’s servers, I didn’t see any interesting data in it — no reams of stored text from old Facebook posts, or blogs, or any other content Grammarly’s add-on previously checked.

Instead, my personal data report mentioned when I created my account, which IP addresses I’ve used to log into it (and from which locations), a list of the Grammarly products I’ve used, and a quick blurb about my writing statistics.

If you’re a heavy Grammarly user, your report might have more pertinent information than mine, but you probably shouldn’t expect to see lots of secret, stored text. You’ll have to make your decision to stick with Grammarly without its insight, but that shouldn’t be difficult.

Worse comes to worse, you can always just copy and paste copy you have questions about into a something like an offline version of LanguageTool or, better yet, Hemingway App.


Comments

    Grammarly is an absolute game-changer for me, my education wasn't exactly exemplary and my memory is getting worse over time, so I love it. It seems just from what you've mentioned here that it doesn't keep much if anything of your private stuff and it may or may not be a bit resource heavy, as far as I'm concerned I'm good with that. The ability to use my own language in text form in such a way as to keep me from seeming uneducated is a Godsend.

    It's become something I am depending on and would get anxious if it's not there. I am not the worst speller or have really bad grammar but it just picks up the little things you don't notice that you would think shouldn't matter but it does. Now if only Youtube and Facebook would implement it into their site so and automatically changes people's terrible spelling and grammar, that would be great. The resource hogging is a bit concerning so will have to look into that.

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