Grammarly Review: Features, Pricing, and Free Alternatives  

by Soundarya Durgumahanthi
grammarly review alternative

As a leader in the AI writing tools industry, Grammarly has established a strong foothold among various target audience segments due to its first-mover advantage. Until recently, researchers, PhD students, and authors have also relied on Grammarly to improve their academic writing skills. 

Grammarly acts as a great assistant that can proofread and edit your writing to enhance readability and follow a conversational or confident tone, but does this hold relevance for academic writing? We aren’t so sure. In this detailed Grammarly review, we explore the features, pricing, and websites similar to Grammarly tailored to academic writing; we also explain why Grammarly may not be the best choice for research writing. 

Table of Contents

What is Grammarly?

Grammarly is a comprehensive AI writing assistant offering grammar checking, proofreading, spell checking, and plagiarism detection on a single platform. While core grammar improvement benefits most users, Grammarly extends beyond basic error correction with features tailored to various content types. 

Ideal for bloggers, content creators, students, and authors, Grammarly offers: 

  1. Proofreading: Catches grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, and punctuation issues. 
  1. Tone and Fluency suggestions: Provides writing feedback and tone recommendations.  
  1. Rewrite and Paraphrasing: Provides suggestions to improve language clarity through generative AI paraphrasing and rewriting.  
  1. Plagiarism detection: Flags specific sentences for similarity, provides information about the source, and calculates an overall originality score for your document.   
  1. Generative AI Capabilities: Grammarly Go allows you to quickly compose, rewrite, ideate, and reply with basic prompts.   
  1. Exclusive Features for Academic Writing:  
  • Thesis Statement Generator: Share some basic details, and Grammarly provides ideas for your thesis statement.  
  • Free Citation Generator: Add your citation information, and Grammarly formats it as per APA, MLA, and Chicago style.   
  • Free Essay Checker: Grammarly’s free version is customized to identify grammatical errors in essays. 

Grammarly goes beyond simply identifying mistakes, empowering users to strengthen writing skills through detailed feedback and learning tools. Now let’s review Grammarly as an AI tool for academic writing through its pros and cons. 

Pros of Grammarly

  1. Real-time language and grammar suggestions: Grammarly helps you check and fix grammatical errors as you write, resulting in a cleaner final result.  
  1. Clarity and readability suggestions: Grammarly helps improve the clarity and flow of your writing by suggesting simpler word choices, restructuring sentences, and highlighting confusing passages. This can enhance your writing’s overall quality and accessibility to readers. 
  1. Citations and formatting: Grammarly offers basic citation suggestions and formatting checks. This can save you time and ensure consistency in your references. 
  1. Generative AI Capabilities: Based on your prompts, Grammarly provides you with polished drafts in seconds. 

Cons of Grammarly

  1. Aggressive elimination of passive voice: To make your writing sound more natural and clearer, Grammarly always nudges its users to use active voice. While using a friendly and inviting tone can be beneficial for marketing and business-related tasks, passive voice is not unusual in scientific writing as it encourages a more objective style when describing data collection or outlining methods.  
  1. Limited suggestions for academic tone: Grammarly’s tone suggestions are less attuned to the formality required in journal submissions. The AI writing tool also misses out on the usage of patient-first language, a crucial aspect of academic writing, particularly in the fields of medicine and healthcare.   
  1. Limited detection of stylistic inconsistencies: While Grammarly catches inconsistencies in language and hyphenation, it has limitations in academic writing. It doesn’t consistently enforce specific academic style guides and often misses errors in tables, equations, figures, and number formatting.  
  1. Academic precision relies on expert prompts: Grammarly’s Gen AI does a great job of streamlining day-to-day tasks, like writing an email, rewriting, and paraphrasing generic text. However, crafting precise academic content requires real prompt mastery, and fine-tuning it to get your desired output can be time-consuming.   
  1. No language translation capabilities: Many ESL researchers grapple with effectively communicating their ideas in English. While Grammarly offers valuable assistance in correcting grammatical errors, incorporating a real-time translation feature directly within the writing process would be even more beneficial. This feature would empower ESL researchers to write seamlessly in their native language, with the tool automatically translating their thoughts into clear and accurate English. 

Looking for a Grammarly alternative for academic writing? Try Paperpal

Grammarly’s Pricing Plans

Grammarly’s pricing plans are as follows –   

  • Free – Access basic language and tonality checks and 100 Generative AI prompt usage at no cost. 
  • Premium – At US$30.16 monthly or US$142.34 annually, Grammarly allows access to tone adjustments, check plagiarism, build citations, and use 1,000 Generative AI prompts.   

While Grammarly’s free version allows users to experience the platform, it also employs persistent reminders about additional features and benefits unlocked through Grammarly Premium, which can be frustrating or distracting.  

However, researchers should be cautious while using Grammarly for academic writing. While the tool provides suggestions on style, usage, and tone, it doesn’t fully understand academic writing conventions and can misfire in cases that need strict adherence to academic tonality, avoiding accidental plagiarism, and more.  

Fortunately, there is a better Grammarly alternative for academic writing – Paperpal. Let’s delve into the details of this trusted AI academic writing assistant and compare Paperpal vs Grammarly.    

Why Paperpal is a Better Alternative to Grammarly for Academic Writing?

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI academic writing assistant that offers real-time, subject-specific language suggestions to help you achieve publication success faster. When you compare Paperpal vs Grammarly, you’ll notice that Grammarly’s coverage of errors and language suggestions is pretty low. Paperpal’s ML models outperform Grammarly, providing 2 to 3 times more suggestions on par with corrections by professional academic editors. With over 21 years of STM expertise and robust AI trained on millions of published research manuscripts, Paperpal helps academics write 2x faster with precise language and grammar suggestions, generative AI capabilities, academic tone adherence, and more.   

In the previous section, we discussed how Grammarly’s free features are designed to entice you to buy a Premium plan. Well, with Paperpal, a free Grammarly alternative, you get much more than just a teaser! Let’s dive into why Paperpal is the AI academic writing tool you’ve been searching for. 

Top Features of Paperpal

  1. Language Suggestions: Paperpal understands academic writing structure and conventions, offers precise language suggestions based on scientific contexts, while retaining references, equations, technical terms, and non-English words.  
  1. Plagiarism Checker:  Paperpal checks your paper for similarity against 100 billion online webpages and provides you with a detailed report with a similarity score that lets you address actionable items, cite overlooked sources, and avoid accidental plagiarism.    
  1. Contextual Synonyms: Struggling with vocabulary? Just highlight a word and Paperpal instantly dives into a vast database of high-impact research, analyzing how similar words have been used in published papers. It then presents you with a list of relevant academic alternatives, ranked by their usage and context, so you’re always using the right words.    
  1. Academic Translation: Translating academic text with DeepL and Google Translate often leads to unnecessary context-switching or introduces distractions, which can lead to miscommunication and delay the process. With Paperpal, which covers 28 languages, you can write in your preferred language and get precise English translations in one click!  
  1. Academic Consistency Checks: Paperpal’s consistency checks ensure style uniformity in the presentation of numbers, tables, figures, equation labels, word forms and spelling, and statistics. By automating these tedious manual checks and providing a simple click-and-fix solution, Paperpal saves researchers both time and effort.  
  1. Paperpal Copilot: Paperpal’s secure generative AI technology is tailored to academic writing conventions and based on proprietary large language models. Paperpal Copilot enables users to brainstorm ideas, generate outlines and emails, and rewrite or trim text. 
BENEFITS Unblock yourself by brainstorming ideas, get on-point assistance on varied topics, and expert tips for your research. Get instant outlines, paper titles, abstracts, summaries, study highlights, keywords, and email templates  Enter your text to paraphrase and add variety, ensure correct academic tone, or trim length to meet journal word limits.  
  1. Check and Refine – Once you’re done with your writing, Paperpal also helps with editing and refining your text. Students and academics can use its suite of checks to correct and enhance their language, grammar, word choice, phrasing, consistency, and more! 
  1. Be Submission Ready – Paperpal knows that academics need to check several elements to ensure their work is submission ready. It provides 30+ language and technical compliance pre-submission checks that are designed to boost your manuscript’s chance of acceptance.   

Get 200+ language and grammar suggestions tailored to academic writing with Paperpal. Try it for free.

Paperpal’s Pricing Plans

Compared to Grammarly’s free version, Paperpal offers a whole lot more. You get access to the following features:  

  1. Language Suggestions – 200/month  
  1. Paperpal Copilot – 5 uses/day  
  1. Academic Language Translation – 25 uses/month  
  1. Contextual Synonyms – 25 uses/month  

You also get unlimited access to choosing your editing mode and preferred language styles and a free account on Researcher.Life – a subscription-based platform that unifies the best AI tools and services designed to speed up, simplify, and streamline every step of a researcher’s journey.  

Paperpal’s Prime plan unlocks unlimited access to all the free features, plus consistency, plagiarism, and submission readiness checks at just US$19 per month or US$119 per year.   

Paperpal vs Grammarly: Which is Better for Academic Writing?

Both Grammarly and Paperpal are well-known AI writing assistants, but if you’re in search for a free Grammarly alternative for academic writing, here’s a detailed side-by-side comparison that shows you why Paperpal is a better choice.  

Feature Paperpal Grammarly (Academic Mode) 
Target Audience Academics, Researchers, Students All Writers (general, creative, business) 
Academic Focus High, tailored for academics  Yes, but less than Paperpal 
Language Suggestions  Academic-focussed, preserves references, equations, technical terms, and non-English words Aggressive passive voice correction, doesn’t preserve academic terms 
Academic Tone Suggestions Ensures academic tone adherence  Provides suggestions as Confident, Informative, etc.  
Academic Vocabulary  Provides synonyms used in academic context, ranked by usage Provides context-specific synonyms but may not always be accurate for academic text 
Consistency  Flags inconsistencies in word usage, spelling, numbers, statistics, equations Flags inconsistencies in word usage and spellings (as per preferred language style) 
Plagiarism Check Scans text against a trusted database of 100+ billion webpages and provides a report with similarity score, side-by-side comparison, and color-coded results.  Catches plagiarism from ProQuest databases comprising millions of graduate works including dissertations and theses. 
Citation Builder Coming soon Offers a free tool for citation formatting 
Rewrite – Paraphrase, Trim, Make Academic Paraphrases effectively, trims word length, and ensures an academic tone all while retaining context, meaning.  General paraphrasing, not specific to academic purposes 
Language Translation Offers accurate translations for 28 global languages NA 
Generative AI Capabilities In-built prompts to achieve academic writing excellence  Prompt expertise required to get reliable results 
Feedback & Insights Offers detailed insights to enhance scholarly writing Broad communication goals feedback 
Integration   Available on Word and Web Available on Word, Web, and Google Docs 
Pricing Priced at US$19 a month or US$119 a year   Free plan allows for limited access to premium features Priced at US$30.16 a month or US$142.34 a year  Free plan offers only grammar and language checks 
Feature Comparison – Paperpal vs Grammarly

Is Grammarly worth it?

Based on the 2022 whitepaper by the University of Cambridge titled ‘Comparison of Automated English Editing Tools,’ Paperpal was the most appealing writing and editing tool for researchers. We followed this up with a blinded benchmarking analysis in October 2023, when senior editors from the Editage training department evaluated Paperpal vs Grammarly (Academic Mode) and three other AI tools. In terms of language editing coverage, Paperpal provided the highest number of suggested edits (392) with 3.88 edits per sentence on average, compared to Grammarly (187 with 1.77 edits per sentence on average) – over 2x the number of edits that Grammarly (Academic mode) does.   

The experts also found the least issues in language, with no issues in terms of comprehension and integrity, in documents edited by Paperpal. In contrast, Grammarly (Academic Mode) had the most incorrect suggestions across all categories in the analysis, which could be frustrating for authors.  

Who should use Grammarly?

If your work involves writing crisp marketing copy or sending professional emails, or if you require generic writing assistance, Grammarly is a good choice. Grammarly for students also offers tailored features that can help enhance their writing journey throughout the academic process. 

Who should use Paperpal?

If you are a master’s or PhD student, educator, researcher, or working in academia, Paperpal is your best bet. With its focus on academic writing and empowering students and researchers to write high-quality academic content, every time, this trusted AI academic writing assistant is the ally you need to succeed.   

There are several free Grammarly alternatives like, Jasper, and Frase that offer features similar to Grammarly. However, if you’re seeking a comprehensive AI toolkit tailored for research papers, thesis, and dissertations, Paperpal stands out. Try Paperpal for Free today to experience its advanced language checks and academic style suggestions firsthand.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Grammarly? 

Grammarly is a grammar and writing assistant software that checks for various errors and offers suggestions on clarity, style, and engagement. It works across various platforms, including Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and web browsers. 

2. Is Grammarly worth it? 

Based on our Grammarly review, the grammar and writing assistant can catch some basic grammar and spelling mistakes, but its limitations become apparent in the academic arena. Here’s why:  

Limited scope: Grammarly primarily focuses on general writing rules. It may not recognize specific academic formatting styles or nuances like APA, MLA, or Chicago. 
Specificity issues: The feedback might not be tailored to the specific requirements of your academic discipline. For instance, it might flag a passive voice sentence even when acceptable in your field. 
False positives: Some suggestions can be subjective or inaccurate, potentially leading to confusion and compromising the integrity of your work. 

There are many free Grammarly alternatives for academic writing like Paperpal, which offers 2x the suggestions compared to Grammarly, making it a more reliable option.

3. Is Grammarly score accurate? 

Grammarly is generally good for basic errors, but in academic writing, its effectiveness is debatable. It can misinterpret complex sentences, miss specific style requirements, and provide suggestions that don’t align with academic rigor. If you’re looking for an AI academic writing tool, there are other more trusted AI writing tools and websites like Grammarly that provide better suggestions.

4. How does Grammarly work? 

Grammarly uses AI algorithms to analyze your writing and suggest improvements. It flags potential errors and offers alternative phrasing suggestions based on its understanding of general writing rules. 

5. Is Grammarly the best grammar checker? 

Grammarly is widely recognized for its user-friendly interface and general grammar checking capabilities. However, there are many websites like Grammarly which provide double the edits, without the restriction of a paywall.  

6. Is Grammarly free? 

Grammarly offers a free basic version with limited features. The premium versions offer more comprehensive checks and suggestions but come at a rather steep cost. 

7. Are there any free alternatives to Grammarly for academic writing? 

While Grammarly’s free version offers basic features, there might be limited options for tailored academic support. Paperpal is one of the best free alternatives of Grammarly that offers extensive academic writing support.  

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI writing toolkit that helps students and researchers achieve 2x the writing in half the time. It leverages 21+ years of STM experience and insights from millions of research articles to provide in-depth academic writing, language editing, and submission readiness support to help you write better, faster. 

Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed. 

Experience the future of academic writing – Sign up to Paperpal and start writing for free! 

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