The Best French Grammar Checker: Top 10 Tools to Proofread Your French
French grammar can be a little tricky to learn at times.
That’s where French grammar checkers come in!
I put 10 tools to the test with a 450-word apartment description that contained intentional (and unintentional) grammar errors.
In the end, I discovered that each of these resources was helpful for unique situations.
Let’s take a closer look at how these French grammar checkers fared in my experiment.
- 1. Best for Offline Checks: WhiteSmoke
- 2. Best for Corrections by Natives: Lang-8.
- 3. Best for Checking Longer Texts: Scribens
- 4. Best for Quick Checks: Reverso
- 5. Best for Beginners: BonPatron
- 6. Best for Critical Thinking: LanguageTool
- 7. Best Free Checker: FrenchCorrector
- 8. Best for Document Uploads: SEOMagnifier
- 9. Best Overall Checker: Grammalecte
- 10. Best for Convenience: Microsoft Word
- Benefits of Using a French Grammar Checker
1. Best for Offline Checks: WhiteSmoke
From incomplete sentences to subject-verb agreement and capitalization issues, WhiteSmoke has the capacity to identify and correct a very wide range of errors. It also explains why they’re incorrect and offers suggestions for correction.
Additionally, WhiteSmoke has a feature for French that allows you to input English and get a flawless French translation, which is handy for French learners who are still getting the hang of the French language.
You can find Whitesmoke as an application for online word processors and a downloadable program for offline word processors.
WhiteSmoke does require a monthly subscription, and it’s available as a web application for online word processors and as a downloadable program for offline word processors.
2. Best for Corrections by Natives: Lang-8.
Lang-8 is a resource that submits your writing to be corrected by native speakers within 24 hours.
Corrections also include general writing suggestions and are much more comprehensive than a program that uses artificial intelligence. You may even receive multiple corrections, which will give you multiple references for how to make your work the best it can be.
Lang-8 also has a social feature that allows you to friend other users and build a more personal connection so that you can develop relationships and people to count on as you move forward with your writing. It’s not uncommon to make appointments with other users on Skype to talk through texts, for example.
If this sounds appealing to you, try to start preparing by diving into more authentic, native-level content—the stuff that one of your new French friends is probably watching (e.g. TV shows, music videos, etc). Though if you feel you need a bit more support when using this kind of material, consider a virtual immersion program.
FluentU, for example, uses native-level French videos in the genres I just mentioned and adds interactive subtitles that provide instant definitions, personalized review quizzes to test your knowledge of content, and multimedia flashcards for another way to review material.
3. Best for Checking Longer Texts: Scribens
This website is neither complex or popular, so I was surprised by its thorough corrections, easy interface and clear explanations.
Overall, Scribens was very good about flagging gender problems and not erroneously flagging proper nouns (as many other checkers do).
There were also quite a few more complex mistakes that the program caught, such as the use of the subjunctive.
For the corrections, Scribens doesn’t only provide a drop-down box with the corrected word, but it also supplies you with a short grammar explanation, as well as a link to the associated grammar rule with additional examples.
You can use Scribens for free, but if you pay a little over $45/year, you can access the Premium version and have unlimited text and plugin options.
4. Best for Quick Checks: Reverso
Reverso is a well-known translator that converts between French and other languages.
It also works as a checker for up to 450 characters, though it’s more reliable for spelling checks since it’s not perfect at catching every grammar error.
While Reverso does pretty well in checking gender agreement, it misses language nuances and also has inaccurate corrections, but that’s not entirely surprising, considering it’s a free app.
Other than the translator and spell-check functions, features include dictionary definitions, a synonym finder, a conjugator and a grammar reference.
Overall, Reverso is good for a quick check, but shouldn’t be relied upon too heavily.
5. Best for Beginners: BonPatron
This is the best choice for beginners that need grammar explanations and an interface in English.
It allows you to check a smaller block of text in one go, and even though it missed the gender of adjectives, it caught the gender of articles, as well as subjunctive issues and other more complex grammar issues.
The grammar explanations in English were somewhat generalized but quite clear, giving general advice to guide you instead of straight out giving you the correct answer (eg. you need a feminine article of some sort in front of a feminine noun.)
At the bottom of the page, your errors are linked to pages with much longer grammar descriptions in English of French grammar rules that you have violated.
6. Best for Critical Thinking: LanguageTool
LanguageTool is a free browser extension that offers grammar checks for multiple languages, French included. And unlike Reverso, there’s no character limit.
It did catch most simple and complex errors but didn’t necessarily correct them for me.
Instead, it simply flagged the error, gave me a short explanation of why it was wrong and listed possible corrections. So it was up to me to do the thinking and decide how I wanted to fix my mistakes.
I will warn you that LanguageTool will try and push you into upgrading by telling you that there is “one more advanced issue” and not revealing it to you until you pay.
7. Best Free Checker: FrenchCorrector
FrenchCorrector is free and has a pretty simple interface that will catch most errors, whether they’re simple or complex.
Like LanguageTool, FrenchCorrector did not necessarily correct anything and instead indicated where the error was, why there was an error and some suggestions for corrections.
There was an option for autocorrect, but it just gave me a list of errors that were found and claimed that they were corrected.
In fairness, FrenchCorrector explicitly states that its technology does not replace a real-life professional proofreader. That means that the program will pick up basic spelling and grammar errors, but more advanced ones may slip through. The transparency was quite refreshing.
8. Best for Document Uploads: SEOMagnifier
Although I experienced a little déjà vu with SEOMagnifier in terms of common missed errors with previous resources, it’s free to use and easy to navigate. It also has a feature to upload entire documents in supported .doc, .docx and .txt extensions, which is handy for longer texts.
The tool found most of the errors in my text, even the subjunctive one, and gave me an explanation of the error as well as a list of possible corrections.
The website claims that its algorithm is constantly improving as more people use the French grammar checker to edit their work. While that could explain the similarity it has with other French grammar checkers, it could also lead to more accuracy down the road.
9. Best Overall Checker: Grammalecte
Grammalecte is an open-source French grammar checker that’s downloaded as a Google Chrome extension.
As such, you can use it to check the French writing you do in an online word processor such as Google Docs, but there is also an input feature in the program’s interface where you can copy and paste your work.
Out of all the French grammar checkers, Grammalecte caught the most errors. Flagged errors were color-coded, explained thoroughly and paired with suggested fixes.
Grammalecte is also equipped with a dictionary, verb conjugator, grammar reference and even a text formatter that checks French punctuation.
I also liked that everything is done in-house, so information will not be sent to any external servers or sites.
10. Best for Convenience: Microsoft Word
Did you know that if you change your language on Microsoft Word to French, you can have your writing checked instantly?
That’s right! Microsoft Word is able to pick up on some obvious errors, give brief explanations and list options for correction.
There is also a thesaurus available to find synonyms.
While this is a convenient tool, it’s probably not the best to rely on for complete grammar corrections.
It also requires a hefty one-time purchase for Microsoft Word or a monthly subscription to Microsoft 365.
Benefits of Using a French Grammar Checker
Here’s why a French grammar checker can come in handy:
- You can impress native French speakers. A French grammar checker is a great way to make sure your grammar is absolutely perfect when sending something off to a native French speaker.
- There are benefits to your speaking as well. By seeing your grammar errors corrected in writing, you are less likely to make them while speaking, ensuring that even your oral communication with native speakers is great.
- You can express your ideas with more accuracy and eloquence. A French grammar checker can help you ensure that you are saying exactly what you mean so your French will come across as smoother and more elegant.
- They can help advance your education or your career. Grammar errors can lead to a bad mark on a paper or even an overlooked job application. Having a French grammar checker look over your work in advance could make all the difference in your outcomes.
With the tools above, you should be better able to tackle the correction of any French text that you might produce, whether it is for the pleasure of writing, improving your language skills or convincing traveling Francophones to rent out your room.