In the writing profession, quality matters. Quantity might get you noticed, but if you want to retain clients and readers, you’ve got to produce quality, pure diamonds even when under pressure.
For most of us, this means seeking third-party proofreading and editing services. But thanks to editing tools like Grammarly and Hemingway, we can edit on our own and do a damn good job too!
You can’t rely on the spellcheckers built into the “traditional” word processing programs like Microsoft Word and Google Docs to help you with deeper stuff like subject-verb agreement. Relying on these word processors is actually disastrous as they leave your text littered with errors.
There’s no doubt that these two are the most popular editing software tools on the market, but I have encountered many professional writers who would like to know which one is the best.
That’s why I made this post. No further ado, let’s get started!
What Is Grammarly?
I have had to answer this question like a thousand times on this blog. Grammarly is an AI-powered grammar, spell, and plagiarism checking tool.
Grammarly possesses specific grammar skills over and above the ones you learned in school or in your writing groups. Plus, it’s faster than you (and not necessarily sharper), so to some extent, it makes editing a leisure.
- Powerful and accurate
- Has nicer UIs and is easy to use.
- Provides in-depth writing reports.
- It’s versatile—you can use it on various platforms and has a customizable personal dictionary.
- It’s fast.
- Has a limited free version
- It’s a bit pricey.
What Is Hemingway?
The Hemingway Editor helps you write attractive work, free of unnecessary effete language and dull words. Among its many capabilities, it points out the overuse of adverbs and passive voice and prompts you to rewrite wordy sentences.
It isn’t overly focused on grammar like its counterpart. Instead, Hemingway places more emphasis on sentence structure, readability, and other elements of lush writing.
- Less expensive than Grammarly.
- Better tool for top-quality writing.
- Allows offline use
- Work can be shared with Hemingway’s highlights for third party analysis
- Has one-click publishing features (you can publish to Medium or WordPress directly.
- Misses some grammatical issues.
- Fails to consider the context of the text.
Grammarly vs Hemingway: Feature Overviews
Grammarly’s Key Features
Grammar, Spell Check, and Punctuation
These features help you detect grammar issues, spelling mistakes, provide suggestions for the correct word choice, and aid you in using the proper punctuation marks.
This feature is only available in the paid versions of Grammarly. It compares your writing with web content from billions of sources. I must admit though, this plagiarism checker isn’t as capable as plagiarism checkers like Turnitin and Copyscape, but it’s the best among the plagiarism checkers provided by grammar checkers.
Grammarly scours your text for errors that are genre-specific. This feature enables you to use words and the structure of the sentences that conform to the specific niche of your writing lies. Grammarly offers different profiles for writing genres like marketing, technical writing, creative writing, blog posts, scriptwriting, etc.
You can add words to your dictionary. Once a non-English word or name is added to the dictionary, Grammarly recognizes it and doesn’t flag it any longer.
Grammarly also detects the overuse of passive voice in your writing.
Hemingway’s Key Features
With a minimalist interface, you can easily see that Hemingway app’s features are in 3 categories:
Hemingway gives you a readability score which grades how easy or hard your text is to read. The lower the grade, the easier it is to read.
For example, if it gives you a grade 6, readers with an education level as low as the sixth grade can easily understand your writing. However, this rating doesn’t mean that your writing is for children or amateurish. It implies that your text can be easily read and understood by a wider audience.
2. Writing Stats
When you use Hemingway, you’re furnished with metrics of your text. The Hemingway app gives you counts on words, characters, sentences, and paragraphs. It also provides an estimate of the reading time.
3. Sentence Feedback
The sentences are analyzed, the parts that need tweaking are highlighted, and feedback is provided.
The highlighted elements include:
These are highlighted in light blue. Most great writers like Stephen King believe that adverbs make sentences boring and harder to read.
I agree, and so does the Hemingway app.
II. Passive Voice
This is a stylistic feedback. You’re not committing any grammatical crime by using passive voice but if you want your text to deliver a bold, strong, and effective message, then using active voice is the way to go about it.
Hemingway highlights sentences using the passive voice with light green.
III. Hard-to-Read and Very Hard-to-Read Sentences
The Hemingway App acknowledges that complex sentences can be harder to read and encourages you to tweak or split them up.
If they are beyond repair, the app recommends you to completely remove them from your text.
Hard-to-read sentences are highlighted in light yellow, and very hard-to-read sentences are highlighted in light pink.
IV Phrases with Simpler Alternative
Words that have simpler alternatives are highlighted in purple. You’re given the alternative and it’s totally up to you to change or ignore the suggestion.
Grammarly vs Hemingway: How They Compare
1. Spelling & Grammar Check: Grammarly
Well, Hemingway Hemmingway isn’t focused on correcting your spelling or grammar. And even if it did, I’m sure Grammarly would still do a better job.
2. Supported Platforms
A proofreading tool has to be easily accessible. It needs to support as many platforms as possible. So, between Hemingway or Grammarly, which one is available on more platforms?
- They are both available as Desktop Apps—on both Mac and Windows.
- Only Grammarly is available as a mobile app (both iOS and Android). Hemingway doesn’t have a mobile app or keyboard.
- Both have an online editor.
- Grammarly offers browser extensions for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari. On the other hand, Hemingway doesn’t come with any browser extension.
Winner: With several browser extensions and mobile platforms, Grammarly is the clear winner in this round.
3. Plagiarism Check
Grammarly offers plagiarism checking on its premium plans. But Hemingway doesn’t have this feature.
Winner: Again, Grammarly wins this round indisputably.
4. Clarity & Readability
The thing about Hemingway is that it leaves you with all these cute highlights and little to no explanations.
You end up with blue colored Adverbs, green patches of passive voice, yellow hard to read sentences, and red very hard to read sentences. And then nothing, well not exactly nothing but something less than in-depth.
Plus, Hemingway doesn’t take into account the context of the text. On the other hand, Grammarly lets you define your audience—is it expert, knowledgeable, or general? It also lets you choose the appropriate domain—is it business, academic, or some other domain?
But I like how Hemingway is gung-ho about finding adverb-verb pairs and replacing some with forceful verbs—it’s so impactful on the boldness of your writing.
Although Grammarly doesn’t go hunting for adverbs, it does identify wording that has impactful alternatives. For example, Grammarly identifies overused words—words repetitively used in the same text. Overused words (words used repeatedly) lose their impact and affect the overall sharpness of your writing.
Hemingway’s readability metrics are good, but Grammarly provides more detailed readability metrics. They both provide thorough word counts and readability scores, but Grammarly goes further to compare your metrics to other Grammarly users.
At the bottom of the metrics tab, Grammarly adds a comment on the readability of your text.
Winner: Grammarly. It furnishes you with in-depth commentary and looks at a broader pool of issues.
Integrations provide the most convenient way of using a proofreading software tool. When the tools are available in the same writing window, tab, or typing app, it’s easy to produce error-free work in a very speedy way.
And we all know that speed and error-free rarely belong in the same sentence, so it’s a bonus!
Grammarly integrates with MS Office on both Windows and Mac and also works in Google Docs. Unfortunately, Hemingway doesn’t have integrations for third-party apps.
You either use the desktop app or the online editor to check your writing.
7. Pricing and Value for Money
One thing has to be considered when deciding which tool is priced better and offers value for money: Simply because they have different features.
I consider Grammarly and Hemingway complements rather than substitutes.
Both tools offer excellent free plans, but it’s the premium plans that I’m more interested in.
Grammarly is quite pricey, its annual premium plan costing $139.95. I always say that Grammarly’s prices are deserved and in this case, we could consider the fact that it offers more features than Hemingway.
Hemingway is unique. Its desktop app is able to work offline, and you can access the online app for free. The desktop apps, though, are only available on paid plans—costing $19.99 for either Mac and Windows.
Winner: None. Since they both offer value for money and I consider them to be complements, there’s no winner in this round.
Having counted the votes, Grammarly wins with a landslide! However, I have added a section on which tool you should use to help decide which tool (among the two) can help you deliver cleaner, top-quality content.
What Makes Grammarly Standout?
There are a couple of things that make Grammarly the best amongst the rest: the clean and top-notch UIs, its speed, and its accuracy.
An intuitive and tidy interface makes it very easy to use. The fact that it’s fast coupled with high accuracy (especially for non-fiction content) makes it an out-of-this-world proofreading app in a league of its own.
What makes Hemingway stand out?
What makes Hemingway so unique is its emphasis on making you sound like a top-notch writer. The Hemingway app is all about making your writing ooze a higher level of professionalism—polishing your overall work.
It strays away from your basic spell and grammar checking tool and focuses on the quality and readability of your writing, making it a very special tool for professional writers.
Is the Hemingway Editor good?
Wouldn’t you want to write more refined content? Like Ernest Hemingway?
My guess exactly!
Although it won’t necessarily help turn you into a 21st century Hemingway, it will help you achieve writing that’s “bolder and clearer.”
With the Hemingway app, you can write shorter and crisper sentences—sentences not dirtied by passive voice or too many adverbs, and furnished with simpler and clean decipherable phrases.
Do You Even Need Specialized Writing Software?
Yes, you do!
If you can’t afford a human editor, you don’t have better options than a software proofreading tool. Even if you can hire an editor, they will probably supplement their hawk-eyed editing capabilities with a proofreading tool, Grammarly probably.
Writing App vs. The Human Editor
Regardless of how good a writing app is, you will still need a human editor. Even the best book writing software is no match for a good editor.
But, I believe they are great tools for discovering which parts of your writing need improving—they help you find out where you need to polish up and which grammar skills you need to practice.
Plus, they do save you a good chunk of time—you don’t need to grope the text, sentence by sentence, trying to find small errors in a mound of words.
Which One Should I Use—Grammarly or Hemingway?
In this part of the post, the best I can do is give you recommendations, deciding on which editing software tool boils down to personal preference.
For nonfiction writers who are confident about the crispiness of their writing, Grammarly would be enough on its own. If all you want is to do away with obvious typos, checking plagiarism, and improve on not-so-damning parts of your writing, Grammarly is sufficient.
Hemingway, the less expensive alternative, isn’t really my A-one alternative to Grammarly as a pure grammar checker. Instead, I consider it a very effective readability reviewer. It’s the tool you should choose if you’d like to learn to be economical with your word choice and write clearer passages.
However, using both Grammarly and Hemingway isn’t a bad idea (As I said, they are usually complementary tools). Once you understand their capabilities and what you want from each tool, you could use them simultaneously.
My Final Words on Grammarly vs Hemingway
I still recommend using both of them though. Both apps can offer unique and important features, and they are both useful in their own ways.
However, I should reiterate that these tools are not a replacement for human editors (at least not now).