START here

My ProWritingAid experience (review)

My experience (sort of review) with ProWritingAid software (their website link): is it good (even in its free version)? Is it worth the money? Is it better than Grammarly?

Status: Active

From July 2023 – ongoing

I’m not thrilled with this service, but I have paid for it and use it when I’m writing – alongside Grammarly. Because of the bugs that both Grammarly and ProWritingAid have, especially with not-short articles, they are next to useless for my use case.

Table Of Contents (T.O.C.):

  1. Why ProWritingAid?
  2. ProWritingAid free
  3. ProWritingAid Premium (the paid version)
  4. ProWritingAid vs Grammarly
  5. Pricing
  6. Bugs and technical problems
  7. Conclusion – is it good? Is it worth it?

1. Why ProWritingAid?

I’ve been using Grammarly free for about a year, then used the Grammarly Premium (my review) for a year. It was OK, helped a lot. However, it was a bit hit-and-miss when using commas, and its browser extension was not 100% functional. It has improved, a bit… in a sort of two steps forward one step back way. When my annual Grammarly subscription was near its end, I was googling for alternatives. That’s how I learned about this tool: the ProWritingAid.

I gave the free version a brief test. It is far from perfect, but it looks like a decent replacement for Grammarly – if not even a better choice (at least for my use case). Then, I decided to “risk” with paying for the “Premium” version lifetime plan, and see if I’ll regret it. 🙂

In order to use the online editor, you need to go to:
Or click the “Use App” option on the home page.

– T.O.C. –

2. ProWritingAid free

I created an account on the ProWritingAid’s website and went to their Integrations page to download and activate the Chrome browser extension. That was all it took for me to start with the free version of the software. Very simple.

Of course, the paid version offers more choices and options. They designed the free version as a spell-checker with some extra features, and as a way of convincing you to pay the money. Here’s an example:

ProWritingAid free version with a "9 daily rephrases left" suggestion
ProWritingAid free version with a “9 daily rephrases left” suggestion
Picture 1

As a non-native speaker, I sometimes use the wrong article, or forget to use an article. The free version sorts that out too.

It works fine as a basic grammar and spelling checker. For any advanced options (helping with style, rephrasing and similar), you need to pay the subscription.

Oh, did I mention the 500-word limit? The free version also limits you to 500 words. Not too crucial as it doesn’t provide any advanced article analysis (so you can just open a new window for the following paragraphs), but it is a hassle.

– T.O.C. –

3. ProWritingAid Premium (the paid version)

Well, I was curious to give the Premium version a try, and see if it can help with my writing.

I am not a native speaker. I did actively study English for over a decade, and have been using it regularly to read, write and speak. But it is still far from perfect, and all my articles benefit from using a good editor. When writing on my non-profit websites, it makes little sense to spend money on editing services. Automated tools, like Grammarly and ProWritingAid, cost a lot less than editor services.

Realistic expectations
Can automated tools replace a good editor? No way. Not by a long shot. What they do is catch any common, simple mistakes, and offer suggestions on how to rephrase sentences. Very often, the suggestions are bad. You need a decent grasp of the English language to figure out when to disregard the suggestions. Treat them as a second opinion, not as a gospel.

However, the suggestions can help. They make you rethink a sentence or a paragraph, and come up with a better version.

Here are a couple of examples:

ProWritingAid's bad rewrite suggestion
ProWritingAid’s bad rewrite suggestion
Picture 2
ProWritingAid's good rewrite suggestion
ProWritingAid’s good rewrite suggestion
Picture 3

The longer and more complex a sentence, the more likely it is that you’ll get a bad suggestion. If your English is good, you’ll be able to spot that when you see it. If your English sucks, you should stick to shorter and simpler sentences, anyway. 🙂

Also, these automated tools are notorious for always bashing indirect speech. Even when it makes perfect sense. Again, you must rely on your common sense and have decent language skills – these tools can’t replace that.

Well, unlike other AI tools, ProWritingAid lets you opt-out of “absolute indirect speech condemnation.” To fix that, log into your account and go to:

ProWritingAid's style guide settings - make passive voice great again! :)
ProWritingAid’s style guide settings – make passive voice great again! 🙂
Picture 4

Thus, if it is so desired, the passive voice shall no longer be banished! 🙂

I also found this interesting – in the Settings:

ProWritingAid comparison settings - neat :)
ProWritingAid comparison settings – neat 🙂
Picture 5

To understand this better, see: Why ” Mostly harmless ™ ” ?!

Note that the tool gets a bit “stuck” with larger articles (when using WordPress backend editor), especially if you have a lot of lists or bullet-points. For details, see the Chapter “6. Bugs and technical problems.”

– T.O.C. –

4. ProWritingAid vs Grammarly

I’ve tried several different grammar and phrasing solutions over the years. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Hemingway Editor (the official website link)
    It’s free, but a bit cumbersome to use: you must copy/paste into its website’s editing form (or buy a $20 desktop application for Windows or Mac – no Linux support), and you don’t get suggestions for replacing, you just get descriptions of your mistakes.
  • QuillBot (the official website link)
    Not free, but a lot cheaper than the next alternative ($50 per year). It has similar problems as Hemingway (though it does provide a browser extension).
    Both Hemingway and QuillBot seem to be more aimed at rephrasing and polishing articles than they are towards correcting spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Grammarly
    A decent alternative to the ProWritingAid. Let me give you a more in-detail comparison of the two:

Both Grammarly and ProWritingAid offer Windows and Mac desktop apps (no Linux support).
Grammarly also has smartphone apps, though.

Grammarly wins in this category.

Grammarly is a bit better at rephrasing sentences and even whole paragraphs. But it sucks with commas and is a bit less good with some other simple grammar mistakes.

Both tools make you suffer a bit when editing long articles in WordPress backend.

When I use the browser extension in WordPress backend, and also when I copy the entire article to the tools’ website for a complete-article analysis, it seems like the ProWritingAid does a better job, or at least it has fewer (nonsense 🙂 ) complaints about my writing.

ProWritingAid wins here – at least in my experience.

ProWritingAid is both cheaper, and it offers a lifetime plan, so a hands-down winner in this category.

– T.O.C. –

5. Pricing

Let us discuss the pricing (and get that out of the way). It costs roughly as much as Grammarly. But, they also offer a lifetime deal.

I like lifetime deals with companies that have been in the business for long. I view those deals as investments – if the company stays afloat, and the service remains good for long-enough, the lifetime deal can pay off. Lifetime prices usually pay off in about five years’ time. It can be risky.

  • Monthly: $30 per month.
  • Annually: $120 per year.
  • Lifetime: $400 onetime payment.

I risked with the lifetime offer. 🙂 Note that ProWritingAid often offers discounts. More than once per year, as far as I know. So, I googled, and found a 40% lifetime discount (so I paid $240 for the lifetime plan) offered through the website (link to their offers/discounts page). Compared to the regular renewal prices, and Grammarly pricing, I expect this $240 investment to have paid off after three years.

Here is my list of lifetime deals worth investing in (along with a list of things to look out for).

The monthly subscription price is steep, but worth it if you have a lot of writing to do with a short deadline, on very few occasions (or only once). The annual subscription makes sense if you write regularly. It can save you time or money if you are paying an editor (they will most likely have less work to do). Lifetime is good because you don’t have a recurring cost to pay attention to, renew your card details when it expires and similar.

– T.O.C. –

6. Bugs and technical problems

I’m using Linux Mint with Chrome browser (the latest & greatest versions 🙂 ).

Bug 1
I’ve noticed this bug both with the browser extension and with the editor on the ProWritingAid website. Here’s a screenshot:

ProWritingAid bug 1
ProWritingAid rephrase bug 1
Picture 6

The browser extension for Chrome has bugs.

Extension bug 1
For example, I prefer to set it to be enabled only when I click on it, in a particular tab (I don’t want to always use the grammar tools). However, when I do that, the plugin always requires me to log in, and it does so in a loop.

The solution for this problem is to right-click on the plugin, and choose the option:
“This can read and change site data -> On all sites”

Activating the ProWritingAid browser extension when you want to
Activating the ProWritingAid browser extension when you want to
Picture 7

Then, when you wish to deactivate the plugin, you right-click and choose the option:
“This can read and change site data -> When you click the extension”

Extension bug 2
Sometimes I see a suggestion and choose the option “Ignore” to make it go away (because the software is not always correct). However, after a few minutes of writing, if I scroll back to that section, the suggestion reappears. Quite annoying.

Extension bug 3
Editing a large page, with lots of lists (like the BikeGremlin YouTube video list)… forget about it! It gets hung-up, stuck in a loop, and affects your editing. For example, I wish to add a new list item at the end of a list, but with the ProWritingAid browser extension enabled, my entry gets set to the middle of the list.

The computer is quite new and powerful, and it works fine with the extension disabled. To be fair, the Grammarly extension is just as crappy with pages like these.

I haven’t used any technical support assistance yet, so can’t speak about that. I’ll send them a link to this section. I don’t expect to see any of the problems fixed in the near future (knowing how software and software companies function) – but noting and explaining the problems is all I can do from my end.

ProWritingAid online tool bug 1
Since it works excruciatingly slowly in WordPress backend, I tried using the online portal for writing. At the time of writing (August 2023), suggestions and tips are broken (at least with Chrome on Linux Mint) – see the picture:

Next to invisible suggestions
Next to invisible suggestions
Picture 8

This is especially problematic if you click on the “Rephrase” button, since that option is not given in the sidebar. The rephrased text versions are impossible to read.

ProWritingAid online tool bug 2
It just stops working without letting me know that it stopped working. See what I mean:

ProWritingAid just stops working
ProWritingAid just stops working
Picture 9

This makes it next to useless in my experience.

– T.O.C. –

7. Conclusion – is it good? Is it worth it?

Update, August 2023:
Because of all the bugs, I had to cross over some sections in the text below, because they no longer describe what I think about ProWritingAid.

I paid for this service with my own money, and still haven’t regretted it.

ProWritingAid is very far from perfect, especially when working with WordPress, but despite all its above-noted downsides and problems, it still helps me write with fewer mistakes and more clarity.

Practically all of my writing is educational and non-profit. So, the option of buying a lifetime subscription with a onetime payment at a discount played a big role in my decision. However, it is fair to note that ProWritingAid is better (or less bad, depending on how you look at it) than any alternatives I’ve tried so far.

Update, November 2023:
I’m writing a new article and using the Grammarly browser extension to check the spelling as I write. ProWritingAid browser extension works quite poorly. In a separate browser window, I’ve opened the ProWritingAid’s editor to copy/paste a paragraph I’m not 100% sure how to (re)phrase. But most of the “heavy lifting” is done by Grammarly.

Again: it is no replacement for an editor, nor can it do wonders if your English sucks.

– T.O.C. –

Please use the forum for any comments or questions.

If you've found any errors or lacking information in the article(s) - please let me know by commenting on the BikeGremlin forum.
You can comment anonymously (by registering with any name/nickname), but I think it is good to publicly document all the article additions (and especially corrections) - even if their author chooses to remain anonymous.

Skip to content