The Crave

Weekly tips and stories that will help you do your job and make you smile (or groan).

By Sean Filidis May 19, 2022

Is Grammarly a crutch?

In times past, you needed to be well-educated, well-read, and — well — talented to become a good writer. It took a great deal of practice, patience, and probably criticism to hone one's writing abilities to a publishable level. Less so today. With tools like Grammarly, nearly anyone can write well without a great deal of effort. If you're not very familiar with it, Grammarly is more than a spellchecker. It looks at your tone of voice, clarity, and phrasing. It tells you how to be more engaging. It suggests synonyms and will reword entire sentences to improve them. It will adapt to your goals — whether you want to tell a story, describe something, or convince somebody. It will even consider your audience — are they business people, laymen, or academics? Are you coming across as confident or pushy? Grammarly will let you know and help you out. It's an incredible, game-changing tool. But is all of this fair? What about those who studied literature or journalism, aspiring to be great writers, but who can no longer stand out amid this new crowd of technology-augmented amateurs? And is it making us lazy? Rather than sharpening our writing abilities over time, are our skills slowly deteriorating as we rely on technology to cross our t's and dot all our i's? And does it make people sound more intelligent than they are? As we write out shoddy paragraphs and let Grammarly caress them into works of linguistic art, how much of our own voice — our own style — is left over? Tough questions. After giving them a long, hard think, I have to conclude: who even cares?

The bottom line is that virtually everybody writes. And thanks to tools like Grammarly, there's a lot less bad writing out there.

And that's good for everyone.

The bottom line is that virtually everybody writes. And thanks to tools like Grammarly, there's a lot less bad writing out there. And that's good for everyone. Whether you're a salesperson sending cold emails to prospects, or a grandmother writing your Christmas newsletter, a widespread improvement in writing is a quality of life improvement as far as I'm concerned. And to be perfectly honest, as powerful as Grammarly is, it simply cannot make up for skill, talent, and practice. It cannot manufacture originality. It can't produce a compelling angle. And it often complains over many of my more creative sentences. People who've worked hard to develop their writing skills over time will always have a noticeable advantage. People who have something to say will always be more readable than those who merely play with fancy words.

And as to whether it makes us lazy? I'm old enough to remember when computer word processors first became popular, and I think it's a good comparison. Can you imagine what the typewriter crowd must have thought? You can just hit backspace as many times as you want?! Go back further, and you have master calligraphers artfully scrawling out letters on a parchment. You made one mistake, and you'd have to kill another sheep! 🐑 Finally, do tools like Grammarly make us appear more intelligent than we are? Oh, definitely. But that's always been one of the most delightful advantages of writing. You can take time to think before you speak. You can mull over your words until you know precisely what you want to say and how you want to say it. So, is Grammarly a crutch? Maybe, but since when are crutches bad?

Let’s talk about it together!

Share your thoughts on LinkedIn using #thecravediscussion This week’s topic: What are some other indespensible software tools that help you do your job?

Currently craving

  • Working on: What an exciting week to be a marketer at Foleon! We launched a bunch of new features to help companies scale up their content creation. Check out the fabulous explainer video we just put out.
  • Reading: Every once in a while you read a book that actually changes the way you think about life work. One that recently had a profound impact on me is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It was both enlightening and helpful.
  • Watching: Whether or not you’re a sci-fi fan, you’re probably familiar with the name Isaac Asimov — he’s one of the most distinguished interdisciplinarians of the 20th century. The recent Apple TV adaptation of his Foundation is astonishingly good.

Sean Filidis

Senior Copywriter

About the author

Writer, tech junkie, marketer, musician, traveler, photographer. At Foleon, I’m generally in charge of words and enforcing strict company-wide comma quotas.

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