11 Best French Grammar Checkers to Proofread Your Writing
French grammar can be a little tricky to learn at times.
That’s where French grammar checkers come in!
I put 11 tools to the test with a 450-word apartment description that contained intentional (and unintentional) grammar errors.
In the end, I discovered that each resource was helpful for unique situations, though Grammalecte was best overall.
Let’s take a closer look at the takeaways of each of the 11 French grammar checkers from my experiment!
- 1. Reverso: Best for Quick Checks
- 2. LanguageTool: Best for Critical Thinking
- 3. BonPatron: Best for Beginners
- 4. Sapling: Best for Catching Common Errors
- 5. Grammalecte: Best Overall Checker
- 6. SEOMagnifier: Best for Document Uploads
- 7. WhiteSmoke: Best for Offline Checks
- 8. HiNative: Best for Corrections by Natives
- 9. Scribens: Best for Checking Longer Texts
- 10. FrenchCorrector: Best Free Checker
- 11. Microsoft Word: Best for Convenience
- Benefits of Using a French Grammar Checker
- And one more thing...
1. Reverso: Best for Quick Checks
Price: Free; Premium available from $9.99/month
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.
2. LanguageTool: Best for Critical Thinking
Price: Free; Premium available for $19.90/month
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.
3. BonPatron: Best for Beginners
Price: Free; Pro available for ∼$16/year
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 (e.g. 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 your text violated.
4. Sapling: Best for Catching Common Errors
Price: Free; Pro available for $25/month; business plans available
Sapling’s AI-powered grammar checker was created by developers from UC-Berkeley, Stanford and Google. It can support French text as well as seven other languages.
Text errors are underlined in red, with an error count in the bottom-right corner so you can ensure you’ve checked every flagged mistake.
You can hover over the errors to see Sapling’s suggested correction. Clicking on the correction will insert it into the proper place in the text.
Sapling was designed for business users who can benefit from features like autocompletion and snippets.
For the casual user, the free version was noticeably successful at catching common grammar mistakes made by non-native French speakers.
5. Grammalecte: Best Overall Checker
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.
6. SEOMagnifier: Best for Document Uploads
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 checkers, it could also lead to more accuracy down the road.
7. WhiteSmoke: Best for Offline Checks
Price: Free; full version available from $59.95/year
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 the mistakes are incorrect and offers suggestions for correction.
Additionally, WhiteSmoke has a feature that allows you to input English and get a flawless French translation, which is handy for learners who are still getting the hang of the French language.
WhiteSmoke is available as a web application for online word processors and as a downloadable program for offline word processors.
8. HiNative: Best for Corrections by Natives
Price: Free; Premium available from $5.68/month
HiNative allows learners to ask language questions directly to native speakers on the app.
You can ask for quick vocabulary and grammar explanations, as well as brief cultural information.
This means that HiNative will not help you grammar check long texts. But if you want some clarification or a quick example of a grammar point, native French speakers can help you out.
Answers from native speakers can be rated. You can also search the app for previous questions, and templates help you compose your own queries.
Note that without premium tickets, your questions may not get as many views or responses. You can read our full review of HiNative here.
9. Scribens: Best for Checking Longer Texts
Price: Free; Premium available from ∼$11/year
This website is neither complex nor 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 for Premium access you’ll get unlimited text and plugin options.
10. FrenchCorrector: Best Free Checker
FrenchCorrector is free and has a pretty simple interface that will catch most errors, whether they’re simple or complex.
Like LanguageTool above, 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. The program can pick up basic spelling and grammar errors, but more advanced ones may slip through. The transparency was quite refreshing.
11. Microsoft Word: Best for Convenience
Price: $159.99 (one-time purchase); Microsoft 365 subscription starting from $6.99/month
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, and it does come with quite a hefty fee.
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.
- They can supplement your language learning. Whether you’re learning with others in a traditional classroom or independently online, a French grammar checker will always be handy in your studies. They even work alongside media-based language programs that show you grammar constructions as used in the real world.
- 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.
And one more thing...
If you like learning French on your own time and from the comfort of your smart device, then I'd be remiss to not tell you about FluentU.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native French videos with reach. With interactive captions, you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with learn mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning, and play the mini-games found in our dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
All throughout, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a totally personalized experience. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.