Grammarly, a developer of cloud-hosted online grammar checking and plagiarism detection tools, is on a mission to help users catch inconsistencies in punctuation, spelling, and formatting throughout essays and articles. To that end, it’s rolling out a tool to Grammarly Premium subscribers that’s able to spot discrepancies in dates, capitalization, spelling, hyphens, and acronyms throughout a document.
“We tend to think about writing mechanics like spelling and punctuation in terms of rules,” Grammarly wrote in a blog post. “English is full of gray areas, where there’s no single ‘right’ way … What you really need to pay attention to is consistency — picking one style and sticking to it.”
When you’re using Grammarly’s web-based Grammarly Editor, you’ll see alerts from the new consistency checks when they detect multiple variants or styles within the same work. Niftily, they’ll prompt you to choose which style you’d like to use and offer to apply it throughout the target document, and they’ll even take context into account when suggesting corrections for things like capitalization (so as not to insert lowercase words at the beginning of sentences).
In practice, Grammarly Premium’s consistency checks will transform sentences like “Applications are due July 10th, and we’ll make a decision by 25 Aug” to “Applications are due 10 July, and we’ll make a decision by 25 Aug” or “Applications are due July 10th, and we’ll make a decision by August 25th.” Meanwhile, snippets with inconsistent acronyms, such as “The book goes on sale March 1 in the US and March 15 in the U.K.” will become “The book goes on sale March 1 in the US and March 15 in the UK” or “The book goes on sale March 1 in the U.S. and March 15 in the U.K.”
In addition to Google Docs, Office, and other platforms, Grammarly’s spell-checking tools are available on smartphones in Grammarly Keyboard, a keyboard replacement for iOS and Android that scans text messages, documents, and emails for errors in four English dialects: American, British, Canadian, and Australian. Grammarly Premium users get style and vocabulary recommendations.
Grammarly Premium costs $30 a month (or $140 a year). Grammarly’s other paid plan, Grammarly Business, is $15 per user per month.
Grammarly — the brainchild of Kiev, Ukraine-based developers Alex Shevchenko, Max Lytvyn, and Dmytro Lider — was founded in 2009 shortly after the sale of Lytvyn and Shevchenko’s first startup, MyDropBox, to educational services company Blackboard. In May 2017, Grammarly raised $110 million from General Catalyst, IVP, and Spark Capital in its first venture round, and it has since grown to over 200 employees across offices in Kiev, San Francisco, and New York.
Grammarly says its services are used by nearly 20 million people across all platforms.