Writing assistant Grammarly introduces tools for professionals

Updates focus on fixes geared so a writer's intent is clear to the recipient, addresses tone, full-sentence rewrites, as well as a feature for non-native English language speakers.

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If you're working remotely, chances are you will be writing a lot of emails. Use a grammar and writing tool, like Grammarly, to proofread and enhance your emails before you hit send. Grammarly has now released new features geared toward professionals.

Image: iStockphoto/fizkes

There are few jobs—perhaps professional athletes or day laborers—that don't require some form of daily writing, whether it's contributing to a daily log or compiling a research report. The ability to communicate well is of great value in any work setting, and to express that in writing is key: It's straightforward, time-efficient, economical, and transparent. In this age of remote work, where many are dashing off a series of emails and instant messages (which have replaced quick, in-person, in-office chats), the ability to get your message and point across articulately should be in the wheelhouse of anyone committed to their job. 

Anyone who watches YouTube videos has seen digital AI writing assistant Grammarly's ads, which tout a way not only to ensure proper grammar, but suggest better words or phrasing. 

Grammarly has released a new, updated user interface and features designed for professionals, based on information gathered from a survey of 3,400 peers. The new features will be rolled out throughout the month of October, and speedier update preference given to Grammarly Business customers.

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The survey revealed that

  • Three out of four pros worry their message is misunderstood.
  • Fifty percent of respondents have written previous messages that were misunderstood by recipients.
  • Sixty percent reported being embarrassed by a work email they'd sent.
  • Twenty percent were told their work tone was too harsh or aggressive.

The purpose of the updates to the Grammarly browser extension is to guide professionals (writing for work) through the editing process and help the writer understand the impact their writing will have on the reader. Also, it has a new streamlined look, which organizes suggestions by importance and theme, gives easy access to Grammarly's tone detector and the addition of new types of writing suggestions.

Grammarly has maintained the feature in which red underlines appear in text to notify an error or potential error has been noted. Grammarly has a suggestion, and now those underlines are reserved for grammatical mistakes or misspellings to allow the reader to fully focus on writing. 

A new clickable green "G" in the lower right corner of your text field to open up a new floating sidebar which can be positioned anywhere on the screen. 

The sidebar shows

  • Suggestions on grammar
  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Wordiness

Suggestions are grouped by theme of how changes affect the overall effectiveness of the writing. Suggestions are also displayed in order of "importance," meaning which changes will have the greatest effect on the writing. The sidebar's drop-down menu offers the category "All Suggestions," which include what a press release described as "nice to have" suggestions.

Specifics of Grammarly's new features:

  • It can spot unnecessarily wordy phrases and offer concise, simple alternatives.
  • New formatting for improved readability.
  • Can automatically convert long lists into easy-to-read bullet points.

Grammarly Premium users have access to an expanded range of suggestions focused on clarity, tone, formatting, and more.

Premium features: 

  • Premium can detect important dates and deadlines mentioned in text and recommend styling them in bold so the words can stand out. 
  • Premium offers full-sentence rewrites for confusing sentences (includes suggesting a split into two sentences, cutting extra words, or moving a key phrase from one place to another.
  • Premium offers readability-focused formatting suggestions.
  • Premium can ensure phrasing sounds fluent and word choices are natural (ideal for multilingual speakers).
  • Premium now includes tailored suggestions for writing issues common among Spanish, Hindi, Mandarin, French, and German speakers (with other languages in a queue).
  • Grammarly said its new suite of features was built around three main concepts: Consider the reader, be understood as intended, and "break through with impact."

Reader-centric writing: Grammarly's browser extension helps users quickly move through work with the new floating assistant that accesses Grammarly's writing suggestions. The update also features "bundled writing suggestions," which are prioritized based on audience and communication goals, simplifying the editing process.

Comprehension with intent: The AI-optimized full-sentence rewrites support tone and clarity and offer suggestions to improve tone based on set goals that will ensure the message comes across as intended. For users whose native language is not English, fluency suggestions will help multilingual speakers learn as they write. 

Sparking readers' interests quickly: A readability feature helps writers to identify and prioritize the most important points for readers, which include formatting suggestions to create bulleted lists and bold information to make comprehension  quick-and-easy for the reader.

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By N.F. Mendoza

N.F. Mendoza is a writer at TechRepublic and based in Los Angeles. She has a BA in Broadcast Journalism and Cinema Critical Studies and a Master's of Professional Writing, both from USC. Nadine has more than 20 years experience as a journalist coveri...