Learning Commons

Learning Commons/Grammarly

FAQs about Grammarly.com/edu


What is Grammarly?

Grammarly is a tool for writers.  Although it advertises itself as an “automated proofreader,” USM tutors recommend that it is best not to rely solely on Grammarly  to proofread your paper –it should be used in conjunction with other resources such as your writing handbook, your friendly writing tutor, and your own sense of language appropriate for the paper you are writing.

Grammarly is a great tool to track patterns of errors in your own writing. Once you become aware of errors you make repeatedly, you can make an effort to eliminate them and become a stronger writer.  Grammarly keeps track of errors in a personalized writing handbook. To access it, click on “Dashboard” at the top of the screen, and you’ll be directed to your Personal Writing Handbook. You hand book is a collection of all of the issues Grammarly has detected from each paper you have run through the system as well as a brief explanation of the appropriate grammatical rule. You can use this information to investigate you persistent problems in the writing handbook you use in class (or one that’s available in the Learning Commons, Writing Center or library).

Does Grammarly cost anything?

Grammarly is subscription service paid for by USM’s Center for Technology Enhanced Learning (CTEL).  Any USM student can upload as many documents as desired in order to receive instant feedback, and to continue to become a stronger writer.  Grammarly also markets a commercial product that anyone can subscribe to, so to take advantage of USM’s subscription, it is important that you either access Grammarly from the leaning Commons (or LAC Writing Center) page or type http://www.grammarly.com/edu/  into your browser.

How do I get started?

Visit http://www.grammarly.com/edu/.  Using your maine.edu email account, click “Sign Up!” and follow the prompts.  Once you have logged in, you will see the option to either paste or upload a document in the upper left hand corner.

If you would like to copy and paste the work you want to review into Grammarly, make sure your text is copied onto your clipboard by highlighting it and either pushing CONTROL-C, or right clicking and selecting “copy, then either  push CONTROL-V, or right click and select “paste”.  Your document should now show up on the screen.

If you would rather upload a document, select the “upload” option, find the file on your computer that you want to upload, and your document should appear on the Grammarly screen.

When you are ready to review another document, simply push the “clear” button in the upper-right hand corner, and repeat either the upload or paste process. Remember to download or copy and paste your paper back onto your computer before clearing it from Grammarly.

How do I initiate a review and decipher the recommendations?

Once you have uploaded your document, hover your mouse over the large “start review” button in the upper left-hand corner of the page. Select the kind of document you have uploaded (for example, Academic Essay). Once you’ve selected the type of work to be reviewed, click the “start review” button.

The review process could take a moment, especially if it is a long paper, so be patient.  Once the review is done, Grammarly will immediately begin to explain what it believes to be errors. You can choose either the long or short explanation of these errors.

Remember—do not assume that all of Grammarly’s recommendations are accurate, use it as a resource to look for trends and maybe learn a little more about grammatical devices and vocabulary.  

Explanations are listed in a column to the right of your document, and clicking any one will take you to that point in the paper.  You can see how many times Grammarly has perceived a specific grammatical  error in a blue circle to the right of each term.

Grammarly also has an optional check for plagiarism (which can be turned on and off). This feature is a helpful tool if you are trying to determine if your paraphrase should actually be a quote. Please note, however that Grammarly can be overzealous when detecting plagiarism, and flag a simple phrase as being “lifted” from another source. As with the grammatical suggestions, the final decision is always yours.

Once you have finished reviewing your paper, you can save the review as a PDF by clicking “save/print report” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.  If you just want a summary of Grammarly’s review minus your entire document, click the “summary” button.  Your summary should appear and, although there is no option to print these notes, you can take notes accordingly or refer to the personal handbook by clicking on “DashboardYou can also download your edited documents without Grammarly’s comments by clicking the “download” button in the menu at the top of the page.  This might take a moment, but when it’s done you can follow the prompt on the screen to download your document in the original format in which it was uploaded (including spacing, page numbers, and indents).

Suggested Do’s and Don’ts


  • Use Grammarly to track consistent problem areas (i.e. overuse of pronouns, “wordy” sentences, comma splices).
  • Read Grammarly’s informative tips for each problem it detects. The information can help you better understand how to make writing better at the sentence level.
  • Remember that Grammarly is not a fall back and should be used mindfully; the corrections it makes are only suggestions.


  • Rely solely on Grammarly when editing your paper for grammar errors. Double check any questionable suggestions in a writing handbook and visit a peer or tutor read through your paper with you and help spot problems.