Grammarly vs Microsoft Editor: Which one is right for you?

Grammarly is one of the most well-known grammar checkers. Still, Microsoft has recently made a push into this area by introducing Microsoft Editor in Word for web as well as a separate browser extension.

Many of the features for both Grammarly and Microsoft Editor require a premium membership, but which one is the better checker? I was frustrated not being able to see any specifics in how each respective service handles the same text for correcting. It’s Grammarly vs Microsoft Editor in my quick and dirty results comparing the two tools.


Grammarly has been at it for a while with big web campaigns and marketing. They are the most well-known grammar checking service for a reason. They have a web interface, a browser extension, and my personal favorite: a dedicated add-on for Microsoft Word. I use Grammarly inside Word the most for checking students’ essays as well as other freelance work. It’s been very helpful and a tool that has become increasingly difficult to live without it.

Microsoft Editor

Microsoft Editor is a new feature in the web version of Microsoft Word. Yes, there is a free version, but let’s be real: Microsoft wants you to pay for its Microsoft 365 (formerly named Office 365) service, and this is just another feature to add to the growing list of benefits.

Grammarly vs Microsoft Editor: A simple blog post

I went back and tried decided to use an excerpt from one of the oldest posts on my blog before I started using grammar-checking software. Let’s see how both Grammarly and Microsoft Editor do on my impressions of the book “Dogs and Demons.”

Checking a blog post with Grammarly

A blog post checked with Grammarly

Right away, you can see that some things have been underlined. Blue lines for style, red lines for grammar, and green lines for style/repetition suggestions.

However, if you are using the web version or the Microsoft Word Grammarly add-on, you will see a windowpane on the right side of the document. For me, this is incredibly useful because I can see at a glance what sort of mistakes or suggestions to tackle. It’s not necessary to click each underlined part in the document to found out what the issue is.

Here is an example of Grammarly trying to show me how to use alternative vocabulary to avoid repetition or to spice up the wording.

One more feature of Grammarly that I would like to point out is you can select the type of content you are checking and how formal/informal you want it to be. This option is incredibly helpful because I am always checking various kinds of writing, so Grammarly won’t waste my time highlighting formality errors when I don’t need to check it.

Checking a blog post with Microsoft Editor

We’ve got the same blog post, but Microsoft Editor does things a bit differently. It’s a double blue line for grammar, dotted line for style/vocabulary, and red for spelling.

There is a small window to the right of the document with a basic mistake number counter and a few other things, but nothing helpful.

To find out precisely what errors you need to fix, you’ll have to hover your cursor over each underlined word/phrase for the answer.

Here is an example of the Microsoft Editor providing some practical alternatives to “recent issues”. The number of mistakes/issues found is a bit inflated because a few of the underlined words were “informal/formal” suggestions. Unlike Grammarly, there is no current way I know of to choose the mode of the checker. It will tell you every time if it finds a formality issue, no matter how casual your writing may be. Perhaps this will change in the future as Microsoft refines the Editor.

Grammarly and Microsoft Editor for lousy writing

I thought I’d have a little fun with the checkers, so I scoured the web for some bad fan fiction. I happened to come across a basic Pokemon one, so let’s see how Microsoft and Grammarly react.

Grammarly’s take

Microsoft Editor’s take

Both checkers seem to catch many of the spelling mistakes. However, I can see that Grammarly caught a bit more of capitalization errors compared to the Microsoft Editor.

Grammarly knew what a Pokeball was

One thing I thought was interesting was what suggestions were offered for “pokeball”. Grammarly knew what it was, but the Microsoft Editor suggested “piebald.” Not that important, but interesting that Grammarly seems to perhaps know more of entertainment words compared to Microsoft.

The developers in Redmond aren’t fans of Pokemon I see

Grammarly or Microsoft Editor? Final Thoughts

After using both of these grammar and spelling checkers, I find Grammarly catches more issues and is more flexible for writing styles compared to Microsoft Editor. You would think that because of how dominant Microsoft Word is in the business world, Microsoft would have an excellent detection engine by now. However, that’s not the case, and I think Grammarly Free AND Premium wins.

Why you should consider Microsoft Editor

The only thing I could say about Microsoft Editor is that the premium version is free if you are a Microsoft 365 subscriber, which includes Office 365, 1 TB of cloud storage, and other goodies such as this grammar/spell checker. If you’re not doing mission-critical writing, then it will probably fit the bill, and you won’t need to pay for Grammarly Premium’s whopping $140 a year. At least with Microsoft’s yearly fee, you get a lot more for your money.

However, if you’re specifically only wanting the best tool to help your writing, Grammarly is the overall better choice.

Grammar checkers: What do you think?

Do you have experience with various document checkers? I know there are several others out there, but let me know what checker works the best for you and why in the comments.

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