What makes a great writer? A unique voice, flawless grammar, and commitment to providing quality content are just some of the attributes that separate a professional writer from a hobbyist. But even pros need proofreading for their works and not all writers can afford an editor. This is where virtual writing assistants like ProWritingAid can help.
What is this tool and is it worth paying for? This review will cover all its features—both free and premium, and its pricing so you can decide if it’s something you would like to use.
Inside This Article:
- What Is ProWritingAid?
- ProWritingAid Free Features
- ProWritingAid Premium Features
- Add-On Feature: Plagiarism Checker
- Can Your Uploaded Work Get Plagiarized?
- Who Needs a Virtual Writing Assistant?
- Final Word
ProWritingAid is an online tool that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to edit your written works. It is a grammar checker and style editor in one, similar to web applications like Grammarly. It also features integrations that let you install extensions on your browser or MS Word, so you can edit your work in real-time. The tool provides suggestions that can improve your sentence structure and the overall quality of your content. It also has a plagiarism checker as an extra feature. You can use it for free but its premium version has a lot more to offer.
But with so many virtual writing assistants out there, what makes ProWritingAid unique? One is its incredibly professional interface. If you have used other grammar checkers before, you may notice that a lot of them look quite basic. You see a window where you can type or paste your content, a few tools on the upper and side menus, and real-time red markings that indicate your errors as you write. This app has the same functionalities but you will immediately notice the difference on your first visit to the site. The icons for different tools are easy to find and you will see how well you are doing with regards to your goals in real-time. Take a look at our in-depth review of its features below.
To use the app’s free features, you must create an account and log in. This allows you to save your work in the cloud and view your reports anytime you need them. To sign up, simply go to ProWritingAid’s official website, click on the yellow signup button on the top-right, and enter your email and a password.
You must also select your primary purpose for using the tool, whether it’s for fiction writing, non-fiction, business writing, etc. Once you verify your email, you can access all of the free features.
You can either type on the web editor or copy and paste your document. As you can see from the example on the photo above, it highlights different parts of the document in different colors. In this case, the yellow highlight or underline indicates a suggestion in style. You will see that the suggestion is to “try using a stronger adjective”—a feature you rarely get on free apps. It is worth mentioning that the sentence in the example is taken from Douglas Adam’s novel, which is a comedy, so keep in mind that not all suggestions are applicable to what you intend to write. Nevertheless, we chose to use this example to demonstrate ProWritingAid’s competency when it comes to corrections and suggestions.
The purple highlight, on the other hand, indicates a suggestion to switch from passive voice to active voice. In most free grammar and style checkers, you only see red underlines, and you will not know what aspect of the document it is trying to improve until you click on it. Here, you will immediately see the explanation as well as the suggestions.
From the top-most part of the left pane, you can select the type of document you are editing. You can indicate whether it’s an academic paper, fantasy, science fiction, a script, or just a general web copy. This is your writing goal and it will help the app provide more accurate suggestions for your work. Each goal provides unique style suggestions.
If you select General Business Email, for example, the app will provide suggestions for you to use more business-like terms. As for Sales Email, it will provide suggestions that will be better suited for your call-to-action (CTA). Comparing it again with other free grammar checkers, most of the time, you can only choose between creative writing and general SEO writing so this is quite generous of ProWritingAid to allow these many writing goals for free.
The grammar and style box can be found on the lower-left pane of the screen. You will see your score, which indicates your correct use of grammar. From the example on the photo above, you can see that the words “any thing” (two words, separated) are highlighted and from the suggestion pane, it says to use the word “anything” instead. It also tells you the reason why. In this case, it is a “possible confused word.”
The app also provides suggestions on how you can improve your work’s readability. These suggestions are highlighted in yellow and you will see the suggested replacements under the Grammar and Style box. Notice that it also provides the readability grade, which is 10 in this case—a very low score. The suggestion is to reduce the average sentence length.
The example above is from a historical fiction novel by Umberto Eco and most works in this genre often include sentences in exaggerated length. We chose to use this as an example because the author is known for writing very long sentences—which affect your readability score.
You no longer have to navigate out of the site to look for synonyms. ProWritingAid has a built-in thesaurus that will help improve your writing style. To use this feature, click on the book icon that says Thesaurus. Hover your mouse on any word that is highlighted and you will see its synonyms right away. This is not a feature that is offered in most free grammar checkers.
This is pretty much self-explanatory. The app will alert you if you are overusing some words, which is never a good practice if you want to become a great writer. To see all your overused words, click on the Overused icon beside Thesaurus and it will open the checker. It will tell you exactly how many times you have used those words. You will see suggestions like “Consider removing about 1 occurrence from 3.”
You know what they say: avoid cliches like the plague! It’s alright to use them once in a while but too much may turn your readers off. The cliche checker not only tells you if you have used too many cliches but also gives you a report of redundancies in your document. You will find the cliche checker icon on the top-right of the screen.
Consistency in this context is not just about the consistency of your sentences but also about the consistency of your spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, and more. The app will tell you if your spelling is consistent with US or UK English. You may have spelled one word as it is spelled in the US at one point and then spelled it in the UK style at another. Inconsistencies like these can confuse your readers so it is always a good idea to check for such instances. The consistency icon is on the right-most part of the top menu.
ProWritingAid offers three types of premium subscriptions: monthly, yearly, and lifetime access. You will see all the additional premium features below. It also offers a 14-day money-back guarantee in case you are not happy with the service.
- Monthly – $20/month
- Yearly – $79/year
- Lifetime – $399 one-time payment
When you subscribe to ProWritingAid for free, you can use all the free features above but only up to 500 words per report. The premium subscription removes this limit.
The app features plenty of integrations from MS Word to Google Docs. You can also install its browser extension on Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Edge. The plug-ins work on both Mac and PC. When you install the browser extension, the app will provide corrections and suggestions on any site you visit as long as it has a text field.
If you create a post on Facebook, for example, the ProWritingAid plug-in will automatically check your grammar and style. This can save you a lot of embarrassment! The same goes for WordPress and other blogging platforms.
There is also a desktop application that you can use on your MacBook or Windows computer. It allows you to edit documents whether you are using Rich Text Format, Open Office, or even Markdown.
Although it doesn’t have a mobile app, the extension is compatible with mobile browsers and mobile word processor apps. This means you can write and revise anywhere on mobile using the virtual writing assistant and your work will be synced with your computer.
The site also offers resources for subscribers. This includes the Writers Resource Library where you can download free e-books. You can attend free webinars that provide tips on writing with clarity and tips for writing better business documents. For creatives, there are also webinars on topics such as building tension and conflict in your novel, writing subplots, and converting your fan fiction into a book.
You may also visit the Grammar Guide, which has topics on punctuations, adverbs, and spelling, among others.
How do you use ProWritingAid to check for plagiarism? Although it is not included in the premium features, you can purchase plagiarism check credits for a minimal fee. Unlike other online plagiarism checkers, you do not pay per word. Instead, you pay for each document you check. This feature is extremely important because plagiarism is a capital crime for professional writers.
Here are the prices for plagiarism checks.
- 10 checks – $10
- 100 checks – $40
- 500 checks – $120
- 1,000 checks – $200
Speaking of plagiarism, how can you be sure that the document you uploaded for checking does not get plagiarized by others? You may be wondering if this is a risk since the tool is mostly online. Fortunately, ProWritingAid follows strict privacy policies and will never sell your works to anyone. The company does not have any legal rights to your documents. As stated on their website, your writing is yours.
Now that you know the app’s features, you may be wondering if you really need to use a virtual writing assistant. The truth is even the most successful published authors have their works edited. They edit their works on their own first then have a professional editor take another look; in some cases, it goes through three to four revisions.
All writers need an editor. You’re lucky if you can afford one but if you can’t, grammar checkers like ProWritingAid can be of great help. Take a look at how this app can help different types of writers below.
Remember in the above features that you can set your writing goals? Fiction writers can choose from general fiction, children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, horror, romance, thriller, and young adult (YA). This will help keep your style consistent throughout. For example, if you’re writing a children’s book, the app can help you come up with words that are more suitable for kids. If you are writing a horror story, it will suggest better descriptive words to evoke your intended emotions in your readers.
Freelance technical writers and web content writers will also benefit from a virtual writing assistant like ProWritingAid. It will help you determine if your words, sentences, or phrases are consistent with your topic or blog post. If you are writing blogs for a particular website, it will help you build that site’s authority and build trust with its audience. More importantly, you will gain the confidence of your clients by avoiding embarrassing grammatical errors.
Students and professionals in the academe will also find this app extremely useful. Academic papers follow specific formats such as the Chicago Writing Style, the American Psychological Association (APA) Style, and the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style. Those are just some of the many writing formats used in academic writing. Each writing style or format uses its own citation guidelines and the app will help you adhere to those.
You can also set your goal to match the type of paper you are writing whether it’s an academic essay, an abstract, or a book review, among others.
Writing business documents is one of the most intimidating tasks in the business field. How do you ensure that you sound professional without being overly formal? ProWritingAid provides tips and real-time suggestions on how you can improve your business documents. Some of the goals you can choose under the business category are business email, sales email, marketing text, business report, and job description. If you are applying for a job, you can even set your goal to a “cover letter” to improve your chances of getting hired.
ProWritingAid is truly a great tool that will help you become a smarter and better writer. Write consistently with fewer to zero grammatical errors, and attain your writing goals! But you don’t have to subscribe to the premium service right away. Try it for free and see if it works for you!