Everyone makes mistakes.
Every language learner knows this.
What’s more important is finding your mistakes and learning how to avoid them in the future.
An English grammar checker is one of the most useful tools for this purpose.
English grammar checkers show you the errors you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Many of them will even explain the mistake so you learn from it.
In this post, I’ll share some amazing online English spelling and grammar check tools that’ll help you catch mistakes in your English writing, communicate clearly and grow as a language learner.
English Grammar Checklist
When you’re checking your work for errors, you may be unsure of what exactly to check for. Memorizing this quick list below will help you spot and avoid some very common English grammatical mistakes.
- Spelling and punctuation: Check if you’ve misspelled any words or if you’ve missed a punctuation mark, like a full stop or a comma.
- Subject-verb agreement: Always ensure that the main verb in a sentence agrees with the subject, because if it doesn’t, your entire sentence can fall flat.
This means that both the verb and subject should be singular or plural as the case may be. For instance, if I wrote “Sally likes apples,” the third person subject (Sally) agrees with the verb “likes.”
- Long sentences: There’s a reason why learners are encouraged to write short sentences. But if you prefer to write in long, complex sentences using several clauses and conjunctions, then make sure you check your work at least twice as it becomes difficult to spot the errors.
- Tense: Make sure that your tense is consistent throughout. For example, make sure that you haven’t begun to write in the past tense and concluded in the present.
- Singular/plurals: This is a common mistake. Sometimes we may have used a noun’s plural form when we meant to use the singular, or vice versa.
8 English Grammar Check Tools That Language Learners Can Rely On
But before we start, it’s important to remember: no language grammar checker is 100% accurate. While they can be extremely helpful, they aren’t a substitute for truly understanding English grammar concepts.
So to get the most from your grammar checker, make it a part of a full learning program. For instance, you can pair it with FluentU for a powerful combination.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Use FluentU’s videos, flashcards and interactive subtitles to build your vocabulary and reinforce your grammar learning. Write sample sentences and complete exercises with this new information and then head to a grammar checker to see how well you did.
Now that you’ve got that in your toolbox, below are some of the best English checkers for grammar, spelling, punctuation, writing style and more.
Before you start looking at online tools, it might be helpful to look at what the average word processor such as Microsoft Word can do. Microsoft Word has built-in grammar and spelling correction software that’s useful for English language learners and native speakers alike.
Microsoft Word will underline misspelled words and repeated words in red. It’ll also underline grammar errors in green. Just right-click on the underlined section and you’ll get a list of possible corrections.
You can also change the dialect of English (U.S., U.K., etc.) from Microsoft Word’s language settings.
Microsoft Word also offers a “Thesaurus” feature to find synonyms for words, as well as a “Research” feature for definitions and translations.
Nowadays, we tend to do most of our work online. While most blogging sites have basic error-checking software already preloaded, it’s usually not enough. This is where Grammarly comes in, as a free-to-download plugin to use with Chrome.
It basically functions as a “writing assistant” and will ensure that your every blog post, email, LinkedIn article or Facebook status is free of grammatical mistakes.
It’ll remind you to put in hyphens or delete repeated words and will provide suggestions for appropriate word usage.
Best of all, Grammarly will also thoroughly explain why a certain word/punctuation choice was incorrect. That means your mistakes can actually become quick and memorable grammar lessons, just like we discussed at the beginning of this article.
Ginger is another online grammar-checker that works with Chrome. However, Ginger has some very nifty bonus features.
For instance, it offers a contextual spelling checker, which means it checks both the spelling of the word as well as the context it’s used in. That way, it can find words that you’ve used incorrectly even if they’re not misspelled (e.g. if you used the wrong version of “their,” “there” or “they’re”).
Ginger will also help you enhance your vocabulary and even guide you on how to rephrase entire sentences, making this an ideal tool for beginners.
If you’re looking for a handy online English grammar check tool and don’t want to go through the hassle of downloading and installing new software, then OnlineCorrection is a great website.
It checks for spelling, grammar and even has an autocorrect option that’ll automatically correct all your mistakes. (You’ll still get a list of the changes that were made so you can double-check.)
You can choose from a number of English dialects, including American, British, South African, New Zealand and Australian, to suit your context.
If you prefer a very simple error-correction tool to check if your sentences are alright, then Sentence Checker is a good one.
All you need to do is copy-paste your text and check for errors, and voila, you’re done! Any mistakes will be highlighted in red or yellow.
Virtual Writing Tutor
If you need an online tool with more options then you might want to check out Virtual Writing Tutor. Membership is free, and as a member you can check up to 3,000 words at a time. Non-members can check up to 500 words at a time.
Apart from the usual grammar and spelling checking, it can also check your vocabulary—for example, it can help you choose between academic and conversational words or avoid cliches.
If you’re summarizing something, you can select “Check Paraphrase” to compare your summary to the original.
PaperRater works like most online grammar correction software, but it also offers writing suggestions and checks for plagiarism.
So this is a must-have tool if you’re a student and have assignments or term papers due, as you can use it for proofreading and ensuring you didn’t accidentally copy any of your work from an outside source.
It’ll also give feedback on how “readable” your work is, phrases to avoid, alert you when you’re slipping into the passive voice and even analyze how strong your sentence openings are.
Inspired by the great writer Ernest Hemingway, who was known for his minimalist style of storytelling, this app will ensure that everything you write is clear, coherent and extremely easy to read.
Once you put some text into Hemingway, you’ll find that it gets color-coded.
A sentence in yellow means you need to shorten it, while a red one means it’s rather difficult to read, so you should try editing it. A word marked in purple means you can use a shorter word out of a suggested list, while phrases in green indicate passive voice.
Before sending that professional email or cover letter, it’d be a good idea to run your text through Hemingway and check for how “readable” it is.
While these English grammar check tools are reliable and very convenient, don’t forget to proofread the final draft on your own, too. Try using English grammar checks as a learning tool, paying attention to your most frequent mistakes and training yourself to get better and better.
Archita Mittra is a freelance writer, journalist, editor and educator. Feel free to check out her blog or contact her for freelancing/educational inquiries.
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.