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Is Grammarly Premium Worth It For Students? [2021 Review]

Jewel Enrile
March 21, 2021
Illustrations by Yuxuan Wu

Yes, Grammary Premium is worth it - especially for students! And this is coming from a student herself.

There is a lot of contention about Grammarly’s effectiveness as a virtual writing assistant, and I’ll get into that. I never bothered to upgrade to the Premium version until this month. 

So, how can I say that Grammarly is a good purchase? Let me explain:

Why I Got Grammarly Premium‍

There were three main reasons why I signed up for Grammarly Premium: 

  1. The online class set-up 
  2. Having freelance writing jobs 
  3. Constantly emailing professors and clients due to reasons 1 and 2 

I realized that I had started to use Grammarly every day, and I found the free version lacking.

Online classes have been the norm for over a year now. We know classrooms have been replaced with Zoom and Google Meet sessions, recitations have become discussion boards, and assignments are almost exclusively sent as email attachments. 

With online classes starting, we find ourselves doing more and more written work.

One (cursed) class had me writing at least two reflection papers every week! Apart from the content, proper grammar was one rubric that never went away. 

Then, I started freelance writing. When you want to pass a piece, you have to make sure every paragraph is polished. 

Aside from written work, online classes also required a lot of emails. When you neglect some typos in your final essay and send a more embarrassing email to the same professor, you resign to being this emoji:


And it’s not like you can repeatedly take back my email and replace it with a hastily corrected one every time. You end up spamming your professor!

So, let me make it clear: we always benefit from standard proofreading and spell-checking. With classes going online and many other aspects of our life ending up in emails, Grammarly benefits us. 

Normally, the free version is enough!  

But if you’re faced with the same amount of schoolwork I was doing, you’d benefit better from more assistance with Grammarly Premium. 

The free version was no longer as flexible as I'd like it to be. Plus, I spent a lot of time on free-trial plagiarism checker sites with the slowest processing and awful word limits. 

I signed up for Premium and found myself relieved. After a week, Premium was...


Take a look at this before-and-after comparison of the same article.

Pros Cons Grammarly Premium
Before and after of the same article in Grammarly Premium.

So, What Are The Benefits of Grammarly Premium?

You unlock a lot of benefits and helpful features in Grammarly Premium:

1. Unlocking More Color-Coded Suggestions 

Previously, you could only access red and blue corrections - for grammar and clarity, respectively. Grammarly Premium allows you to unlock purple and green corrections for delivery and vocabulary. 

Color code Grammarly Premium- Lockcard
More suggestions, more corrections = better writing!

2. Correcting Multiple Mistakes At Once 

With the free version of Grammarly, there were so many suggestions to go through that it became tedious.

With Grammarly Premium, it separates the top suggestions from all suggestions. At the very beginning of "Top Suggestions," it bundles corrections to fix with one click. 

Text Suggestions Grammarly Premium - Lockcard
A bundle of mistakes corrected in just one click! Now if there's a Grammarly Premium for our lives...

I find this feature both convenient and risky. You need to read through all the suggestions it wants to correct. While there's a feature that allows you to review what you just corrected, it's easy to commit mistakes in a rush. 

3. Rephrasing and Conciseness 

Fellow ramblers will love this feature. 

As someone who spent hours rewording the advanced suggestions to get that perfect 100 content score, the automated rephrasing was a relief. Instead of manually rephrasing everything yourself, Grammarly Premium does it for you.

Rephrasing Grammarly Premium - Lockcard
Need to rephrase and paraphrase? Grammarly's got u.

‍4. Strengthening Vocabulary 

Grammarly picks out weak or overused words and suggests substitutes. Out of all the Premium features, I find this one as the least helpful of the lot.

In my quest to clear all "Advanced Suggestions" with the free version before, I know that Grammarly has a grudge against me for using the word "important." I usually concede and use "crucial" or "vital" as they suggest, but I found more of their substitutes odd.

They filed their substitute word suggestions under "variety" or "vocabulary." 

Vocabulary Correcter Grammarly Premium - Lockcard
Expand your vocab options - and include Lockcard in your strengthening sessions.

In this example, I was writing about book titles. Grammarly wanted me to replace it with "tags" or "labels."

It's better for the vocabulary strengthening to be up to you. There are times I'm satisfied with the word I initially chose and deleted the one they suggest. 

Then, there are times I go hunt for the best synonyms. I go straight to Lockcard, especially if I want to remember them over time.

5. Plagiarism Checker 

I finally have a quick and easy plagiarism checker. As a student, it's best to learn paraphrasing, how to avoid accidental plagiarism, and how to cite your sources. (By the way, we've got tips for that!)

Check for possible plagiarism with Grammarly Premium!

There's a high chance your teachers are running your online essays through plagiarism checkers, too. And the consequence when you're caught is never worth the act.

Writing tip: Besides learning how to paraphrase, see what style guide your teacher or instructor gave you. There are specific formats for references, citations, fonts, and spacing. Don't lose an A based on a technicality!

‍Is Grammarly Premium For You? ‍

If you identify with any of the following:
  • A student in a program that requires a lot of written work
  • Someone in need of something to help out with clarity, flow, fluency, and delivery
  • Someone who does writing as a living
  • A Grammarly user who's lived with the free version, with all its flaws and imperfections, and is now wondering if there's anything more to this proofreading life

Then yes, Grammarly Premium is worth it! 

It's definitely an investment. It saves you time and allows you to have higher-quality pieces for work or school. It pays for itself many times over. 

However, the pricing plans may not be as accessible to some students. If you want to try it out, you can get Premium for a month. See if it actually becomes helpful to you. Then, decide to cancel or continue your subscription. ‍

‍Honestly, if you need a more intuitive writing assistant, just the basic version can help. Premium isn't necessary, but it does take a load off my shoulders. 

The Verdict: Is Grammarly Premium Worth It?

Grammarly, either free or Premium, is worth it.

However, no software can act as a substitute for being your own best critic and editor. 

Grammarly can distinguish flaws and contexts, but not to the extent that humans can. You don't have to follow every suggestion. You need to discern what fits your goals, what doesn't, and how you can write better

Are you ready to take on Grammarly Premium? It's an investment I have myself, so I'm excited if you do! If not, try to give the free version a try. We all benefit from better, polished writing. 

Charlotte Chen, Designer @Duolingo

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