We live in the future. Simple as that.
Being a writer in this modern world, you should be using some type of artificial intelligence to help your grammar and style.
Que Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid.
There are more, but these are the two heavy-hitters I enjoy using.
Before I get into some comparing and contrasting, you should know both of these programs do the exact same thing.
There may be minor stylistic differences, but both check for grammar and style. With that, each has a free and a paid version. In both, the free version allows you to only check grammar. The paid version of each allows you to check both grammar and style.
You can also choose what style you'd like it to check for. These being:
Both also have options for plagiarism checkers. This is free in Grammarly's premium plan. It's an extra fee outside of Pro Writing Aid's typical plans.
Where they differ is in their presentation, integration, and their pricing.
Grammarly works via a more real-time and compact check than does Pro Writing Aid.
What I mean by this is it checks everything it can all at once. Grammar, sentence flow, stylistic elements, consistency checks, etc...
During editing, it tells you how each error is categorized.
The categories being things like correctness, clarity, engagement etc... The premium versions gives you access to more stylistic error categories such as delivery, inappropriate colloquialisms, word choice and much more.
It does this real-time check in a smooth and user friendly way.
Lastly, Grammarly does a nice thing where it tracks your grammar over time and helps you learn what your common mistakes are! Very helpful over time.
This video gives a nice rundown of how to use the software.
Pro Writing Aid
Pro Writing Aid uses a more report-based checking style.
While they do have an option to check things all at once, the typical way you would do it is by running separate reports for each type of error.
This is a little backward from Grammarly and you may love it like I do, or hate it! I feel the report-style gives me a little more control over the editing process. Especially for writing fiction.
Pro Writing Aid does have the option to create combo reports. Although, the option to customize this is more hidden than in its more user-friendly cousin, it works just the same. Thus giving you a more wholistic real-time checker.
There are 25 different types of reports and they run the gambit from typical grammar and style reports to pacing and dialogue tag checks.
Another customizable feature in Pro Writing Aid is the ability to add your own Style Guide. Useful for people writing within professions where there is industry-specific jargon.
Grammarly is the more user friendly of the two applications.
It’s plugin integration works great with various websites and platforms including your email. This plugin works on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge.
There is a Desktop App you can use that mirrors it's online word processor platform. You can create and save documents through the cloud with these options. Or, of course, you can copy and paste documents into them for editing.
As for Microsoft Word users, they have a plugin that you can download to work within Word on your desktop.
Overall, Grammarly has the better integration capability of the two programs.
Pro Writing Aid
Pro Writing Aid's compatibility and integrations are more limited.
Just like with Grammarly, they have an online word processor as well as a desktop version you can download.
Its browser extension works within most web pages including most emails. Same as Grammarly. Also, Pro Writing Aid has add-ons you can integrate into Microsoft Word and Google Docs.
Where it differs is in two ways.
For one, Pro Writing Aid does NOT integrate with the browser Microsoft Edge.
The next key difference is the browser extension does NOT do real-time edits within Google Docs as Grammarly does (even though Grammarly's is technically in Beta testing right now).
As I said, though, you can run reports within Google Docs.
Again, let me start by reminding you both apps do the same thing.
Both fine-comb your work, professional or creative, for grammar and style errors. You get the grammar checking for free, but the style checking costs money.
For most people, the big difference will come down to integration vs. price. Grammarly's plugins integrate better with Google Docs and Microsoft Word. Also, if you're a Microsoft Edge user, Grammarly is your option.
Pro Writing Aid is cheaper all around and has the option for a one-time payment lifetime license. It's user friendly and every bit as powerful as grammarly. However, you often have to run reports as opposed to the real-time plugin working natively in some programs.
The decision for me came down to two things, really. The pricing structure and the report-style editing.
I was using Grammarly premium for a while, then switched to Pro Writing Aid when I found out they do a one-time-payment perpetual license.
One thing about me is I hate subscription models. Anytime I can give the middle finger to an expensive monthly fee, I do. So switching to Pro Writing Aid wasn't all to out of character for me.
Before making the switch, I tested the waters with the free version of Pro Writing Aid.
That's where I found the report-style editing gave me more control over te process. Which I liked. It helped me understand stylistic errors and how to avoid them in a more specific way.
This is complete personal preference, of course.
But, this did push me over the edge to abandon Grammarly and pay the one-time $240 for the Lifetime license.
That said, I still use both apps. I use Grammarly's free version within Google Docs, and I use Pro Writing Aid Premium for everything else. For most things, like short stories and blog posts, I copy paste into Pro Writing Aid's Desktop version as it's the most responsive way I've found to edit.
As a side note: Since I've switched, I find I generally agree with Pro Writing Aid's suggestions more than I had Grammarly's. Mostly on things like using oxford commas vs. not. Again, this is strictly personal preference.
I recommend you try both and see which sticks best. Or jigsaw them together as I do!
Hope that helps :)