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Grammarly vs Hemingway: Which One Will Help Improve Your Writing More?

Comparing Grammarly vs Hemingway isn’t as simple as you would think. While they are complementary, the two tools are quite different. So it’s not so much a “versus” thing as it is an “and” matter.

How can you know which one is best for your writing needs? And, can the Hemingway app replace any version of Grammarly for writers on a tight budget? In this article, we’ll compare Grammarly vs Hemingway to find out.

Why You Need a Third-Party Program

Most word-processing systems, such as Word and Pages, have spell and grammar checks. But these are really for casual writers and not professional writers. That said, even writers who don’t necessarily make a living from writing still need their work to be error-free.

Man with head on laptop

One of the most critical components of working as a professional content or copywriter is the ability to generate error-free, grammatically correct material. This can be for emails, press releases, landing pages, social media posts, blogs, and more.

Grammarly vs Hemingway: Both address Word and Pages’ basic shortcomings. They’re powerful, and both assess the readability of your writing. And they also give style suggestions and highlight typos and mistakes.

What Grade Level To Write At, And Why It Matters

Grammarly and Hemingway Editor rate readability. Readability gauges how easy it is to read your writing. But what exactly is readability, and why should you care?

The average American is thought to have a reading level equivalent to a seventh or eighth grader (12 to 14 years old). And before we all get highly insulted, consider this. People are always looking for information, and fast. And most have short attention spans when using the Internet.

According to the Nielsen Norman Group (World Leaders in Research-Based User Experience), users have time to read at most 28% of the text on a typical Web page during an average visit; 20% is more likely.

Written language is more complicated than spoken language. And reading from a screen takes longer than reading a print document. Combine those two factors, and you could have a problem when you’re writing for the net. Unless you use apps like Grammarly and Hemingway!

Woman working laptop and notes

Many people tend to think that readable language is not very intelligent or intended for school-age children.

A reading score doesn’t highlight your level of knowledge or expertise. Even if your highly educated audience can read more complex material, it will take them longer. The aim is to create the most seamless user experience possible.

Most writers think their sentences are easy to read (you know what I mean?). But if the reader can’t easily read and understand the whole sentence, they will quit reading. And they’ll click away from your article. Then you’ve lost a potential follower or customer. So readability is a pretty essential part of writing.

What is Grammarly

If you’ve been writing for a long time, chances are you’ve used Grammarly or heard of it. This is because it’s one of the most popular grammar-checking apps on the market today.

Grammarly’s competitors, including WhiteSmoke, Ginger, ProWritingAid, LanguageTool, and others, have struggled to compete on most fronts.

Read more about ProWritingAid vs Grammarly to find out which grammar checker tool is better. And here is another comparison: Ginger vs Grammarly to help you decide.

Grammarly Landing Page

Grammarly is a “writing assistant” that may be used to proofread and edit documents by job seekers, writers, and other professionals. It checks for over 250 spelling, grammatical, and punctuation problems and improves vocabulary usage.

Grammarly goes well beyond the standard tools available through Word and email systems. It allows users to select editing input based on six different writing styles.

Writing Styles
  • Business
  • Academic
  • Casual
  • Technical
  • Creative
  • General

I like Grammarly because it catches and corrects the kinds of writing faux pas that make cranky editors a whole lot crankier. This writing assistant provides real-time suggestions for spelling, punctuation, and style adjustments and can even edit for specific genres.

Grammarly’s monthly memberships are a little pricey, and the service doesn’t work offline. But its support for many platforms and ease of use make it well worth the expense.

One of my favorite features of Grammarly is that you can download and install plugins. These can be for your Google Chrome browser and Microsoft Word. The Grammarly online plug-in reviews anything you write in real-time, whether it’s in a Google Doc or email or taking notes.

The Grammarly keyboard helps correct grammar and spelling mistakes as you type. It can be used to write emails, create social media posts, and edit long-form documents. Grammarly’s keyboard app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

What is Hemingway

Hemingway Editor homepage

The Hemingway Editor is a piece of software named after Ernest Hemingway, the king of literary minimalism. Adam and Ben Long, brothers, came up with the idea in response to a common grievance.

Ernest Hemingway

Even experienced writers find applying the same stringent standards to everything they write difficult. You’re only human, and it’s easy to let things pass when you’re tired or rushed. “We wanted to come up with something that would be a second set of eyes to go through what you’ve written before you send it on to a reader or your boss,” Adam Long said in an interview.

The tool tries to make your writing as clear and short as possible by scoring the readability of your writing.

So, even if you need to write for little children, the tool will grade the level of your work and tell you if it is appropriate for children. If not, you can make a few changes based on the tool’s recommendations. And rerun the evaluation to see if it matches the right reading level.

Using Grammarly

To get started with Grammarly, go to their official website and sign up for a free account.

When you log in to your account, you will be taken to a screen where you can upload your content. Or you can also copy and paste it in.

Grammarly getting started

Once you’ve pasted or uploaded your article, Grammarly will scan it and highlight words, spelling mistakes, passive voice, and sentences that need your attention.

You don’t have to accept all of Grammarly’s suggestions. And it would be extremely unusual if you did. It’s best to reread each sentence and decide whether the suggestion works for you. If it does, click the green correction button to accept it; otherwise, choose ‘ignore.’

Grammarly claims that if you simply copy and paste text from a Word document into the app, it will only maintain the bold and italic style, lists, links, and headings. I did a quick test and discovered that it also kept underlined text.

While you’re busy working in the Grammarly Editor, you won’t see any formatted text. But the document will keep all of its original formatting when you export it. Use the import tool to add the document if you want to ensure all the content formatting (including paragraph spacing) is retained.

Goals and Performance are two more excellent features. When you import a new document, Goals helps Grammarly customize its changes based on the context of your writing. You can, for example, clarify your intent (inform, describe, persuade, or tell a story), audience, style, and emotion.

Grammarly set goals

How To Understand The Suggestions Grammarly Makes

Try reading the rules. The grammatical rule will be given in most of the suggestions. Read the rule and examples by clicking on the “more” button. If you notice a rule showing up often, it’s worth finding out why.

Grammarly Read the suggestions

When it’s at its finest, Grammarly recognizes vague words like “wonderful” and advises replacing them with more descriptive ones. It highlights frequently used words and suggests synonyms. It also detects errors and spelling mistakes and suggests changes you can approve with a single click.

Even if you ignore its recommendations, Grammarly pushes you to take a moment and check your word choices, which is valuable in and of itself.

I like how the descriptions are written in simple English and include sample sentences to demonstrate errors. Grammarly’s error count at the bottom of every page shows how much editing work remains.

When Grammarly is at its worst, it suggests alternatives that distort the meaning of your phrases. Or reduces the effectiveness of purposely reusing a word or phrase. It can also be annoyingly picky about comma usage. If only Grammarly would understand that most commas are optional!

I must add here that Grammarly’s free version may be okay for occasional writing. But it really isn’t enough if you’re trying to make a living as a writer. You’ll have to bite the bullet and splash out for the Grammarly Premium version.

Grammarly Premium

When it comes to an online grammar checker, Grammarly Premium is (arguably) unrivaled.

The premium version includes everything available in the free version. And much more.

The Grammarly Premium version contains far more grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and context checks. It will search for the following in addition to the tests in the free version:

  • Inconsistencies in writing
  • Passive voice
  • If the sentence structure is unclear
  • Wordiness or overuse of words
  • When the tone is inappropriate
  • Insensitive phrasing.

Grammarly Premium users can choose from various writing domains, including Academic, Business, and Creative. The Performance popup shows general information such as word count and reading time. Plus, vocabulary and readability measures.

And the Readability score is determined by the Flesch reading-ease test. Both of these features highlight Grammarly’s usefulness as more than just checking for errors.

Grammarly Report

Grammarly compares the accuracy level of your document to the accuracy levels of all other documents where users have set the same goals.

Using The Hemingway Editor

If you want some advice on how to write and try to decide: Grammarly vs Hemingway, then the Hemingway Editor is ideal. It highlights unclear sentences and provides criticism on what is wrong with them.

The Hemingway Editor pinpoints the precise areas to concentrate on. This is extremely useful because it differs from conventional Editors and instructors. They mainly tend to provide generalized input. You can think of Hemingway as a simple but effective writing guidance tool.

You can copy and paste your articles directly into the Online Editor. Then you can quickly see how the app flags hard-to-read sentences and passive voices. And it also provides you with word choices.

The Hemingway Editor highlights words in your writing and proposes what to delete or change. But, it is ultimately up to you to decide whether or not to follow any of its suggestions. If you do, I don’t think you should use all the advice because it tends to rob your writing of its true voice. And take care; it won’t always recognize a grammar mistake.

When you start using this program, you may find it extremely tedious. Trying to get the readability score down can be highly frustrating. But, you’ll learn to simplify your writing and make your sentences shorter.

It makes pasting the work into Hemingway and seeing the score at seven a pleasure.

(Instead of seeing Readability at something like ten. Then you know there’s a ton of work ahead of you!)

How To Understand The Suggestions Hemingway Makes

The Hemingway Editor uses color-coded suggestions.

Hemingway color coding
  • Yellow Sentences: These are sentences that Hemingway thinks are too long or complicated. It suggests separating or simplifying the sentences marked in yellow.
  • Red Sentences: These sentences may confuse readers because they’re too long. Or the words are too complicated. Rewrite these sentences until the red highlight disappears.
  • Purple Words: Purple words need to be simplified. Hover your cursor over them to check Hemingway’s suggestions.
  • Blue Words: These are adverbs that might show weak or hesitant language. According to Hemingway, they should be deleted.
  • Green Phrases: Green means a sentence is written in the passive voice. While this may be okay in some situations, an active voice is usually more forceful.

Grammarly vs Hemingway: Features

Grammarly Features

The Grammarly application is committed to improving your grammar and sentence structure. It includes a ton of customizable options, including the following.

  • You can specify your preferred language: American, Australian, Canadian, or British English.
  • Add your own words to its built-in dictionary. When you add a new word, Grammarly remembers it and no longer flags it as an error.
  • You can immediately change documents after uploading them from your dashboard or Editor.
  • Once you’ve finished editing, you can download and print the documents.
  • Grammarly Plagiarism Checker premium version scans your articles across thousands of databases.
  • Grammarly premium offers human proofreading services. This is pretty handy if you are in a hurry and need an extra set of eyes to go over your work.

Hemingway Features

Hemingway’s primary purpose is to help you write short, sharp sentences. The following are some of the features available in the paid version:

  • The Hemingway app editor works offline, allowing you to edit your work while on the go.
  • You may publish your writing directly to your WordPress website or Medium account. Or you can save work as a draft.
  • After editing, you can export it as HTML or markdown for CMS.
  • To begin editing, import text right into your Editor. Once completed, you can save your work as a PDF, Word, or Text file.
  • You can save documents to the Hemingway app for your coworkers to review.

Grammarly vs Hemingway: Pricing

Grammarly Pricing

The Grammarly Premium Plan

The Grammarly Premium plan is pretty expensive, especially for individuals. The monthly subscription costs $12/month (billed as one payment).

Grammarly Pricing

Grammarly Free Version

Some products offer a free version or free trial that is a seriously limited version of itself. It’s usually a tactic to try and get you to pay for the full version. But Grammarly’s free version is okay.

It gives you the basics you need to build your writing foundation. It includes a complete spelling, punctuation, and grammar checker that is better than the standard spell check found in most word processors.

When the tool detects potential errors, it highlights them in red. If you’re using the online interface, you can go through each issue by clicking the areas on the right (Grammar, Punctuation, etc.). You can also learn more by clicking on each highlighted error.

And it allows you to select your English version based on where your readers are located.

Grammarly Language preferences

Hemingway Pricing

The online edition is free, and the desktop version for Mac or Windows costs $19.99.

Hemingway Editor homepage

Hemingway Free Version

The Hemingway Editor free version gives you just about what the paid version gives you.

Hemingway Paid Version

You can download Hemingway if you pay for it. This means you can work offline. You can also save and export your document.

Grammarly vs Hemingway: Pros and Cons

Grammarly Pros and Cons



  • Grammar and spell-checking are quick and accurate
  • Excellent cross-platform interfaces
  • Superb writing style tools
  • Excellent mobile keyboard



  • Grammarly Premium is expensive
  • No offline editing mode
  • The free version is only for casual writers

Hemingway Pros and Cons



  • Valuable writing tool for simplifying your style
  • Ideal for editing shorter pieces
  • Encourages you to be clear and punchy in your writing
  • Excellent for determining the readability and complexity of your work
  • The paid version lets you work offline
  • The free version is great



  • Not suitable for manuscripts or longer articles
  • Grammar checker capabilities are lacking

Who Should Use Grammarly

Grammarly can help you if you struggle with clarity, defining your writing tone, or making basic grammar mistakes. This is very helpful for professionals who aren’t writers but produce a lot of emails, reports, and memos. Grammarly will ensure their work looks professional and polished.

It’s also an excellent option if you need a plagiarism checker. Or need to check other writers’ work.

If you’re a professional writer, go for Grammarly Premium. The free version is not good enough.

Who Should Use Hemingway

If you have a habit of overwriting and using long, meandering phrases or flowery words, Hemingway can help you. It cuts through the fluff and enhances your writing by shortening the sentences and adding clarity.

There is no need to create an account or download anything. Hemingway is the most convenient alternative if you need a proofreading tool occasionally.

Final Thoughts: Grammarly vs Hemingway

So, Grammarly vs Hemingway? It all depends on what you want. Do you want a tool to help make your text more readable and concise? Do you prefer an AI proofreader?

There are a few reasons for using Grammarly or a similar tool in your work. It’s free and will help you avoid mistakes. And its grammar checker is brilliant!

Try the online version of the Hemingway software. If you find its recommendations useful, you can bookmark it or pay for the app. If you want Grammarly’s full-service writing help, the question is how much you’re willing to pay for it.

Ideally, use both. They have different features, and you’ll need all of them to make your writing that much better.

Remember that you will still need to edit your own work. There is no perfect alternative to the human touch.

Want to look at more options? Here is an article on 17 of the best text editors for blogging.

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