When it comes to assessing the usefulness of online writing tools, a lot depends on what it is that you are looking to get from them. Are you looking to spell- and grammar-check your text? Do you want to ensure that the article you commissioned is plagiarism-free? Or do you need your formal text to sound a bit more appropriate for an informal audience?
In this piece, I’ll compare two popular writing tools — Quillbot and Grammarly — and conclude which tool is better. Spoiler alert: it depends.
The QuillBot tool is an AI text editor and checker. You don’t have to have an account to use the free features of the service. This offers five services for your texts which I will discuss below.
QuillBot’s main tool can paraphrase text in accordance with your settings. The modes offered are standard, fluency, formal, simple, creative, expand and shorten. However, only the first two are available in the free version of the tool and only for up to 125 words. I tested the paraphraser using a segment of my TechAcute piece in the Fluency mode. Here’s the result:
This free tool ensures that your text is free of grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. It’s great for students who want to check their essays for any issues. As with the paraphraser, I tested my Pizzatime article on the grammar checker. Here’s the result:
When I tested the checker on the paraphrased text, the readability level was “college,” and there were no errors.
This condenses lengthy texts such as articles and papers into key sentences or a single cohesive paragraph. This would be useful if you’re writing an academic paper, for instance, and want to get an abstract or a summary. The free version only allows texts of up to 1,200 words. I tested the summarizer tool on my TechAcute article on Sendoso, choosing the “Paragraph” option. Here’s what I received. Essentially, they picked out the key sentences.
This checker allows you to scan your text against other content published online or elsewhere for any plagiarism. It’s available in several languages and can be done against a DOC, a PDF, a TXT, or an HTML file. Unfortunately, this feature is only available in QuillBot’s premium version, so I was unable to test it.
This feature would be handy for students as it allows them to quickly make citations for papers in different formats. The citations are available for websites and books. For this, I tested it out on my Sendoso article, using the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. Here’s what it looks like.
I was quite impressed with how straightforward the tools are. I would certainly recommend QuillBot as a free writing tool for students on a budget. It also offers free extensions for Chrome, Word, and Google Docs.
However, a lot of options like the Plagiarism Checker and most Paraphraser modes are only available for premium users. So, if you’re a Ph.D. candidate or a faculty member, the free version of QuillBot might not be enough for you. The annual price of the premium version is $99.95 ($8.33 per month). QuillBot is only available on Desktop, but Chrome doesn’t offer Word or Google Docs extension (although with the latter, you can enable the browser extension for checks).
Grammarly has “writing goals,” which are similar to QuillBot’s Paraphraser modes. You can customize the audience, intent, and formality in the free version, but the domains of business, email, casual, creative, and academic are, like in QuillBot, available only to premium users.
Other tools like the Plagiarism checker is also offered for Premium accounts, just like with QuillBot.
Unlike QuillBot, Grammarly requires you to have an account to use it, so I logged in with mine. It doesn’t offer a Paraphraser, or a Citation generator — just a grammar check within its editor which is its main selling point. Plagiarism checker is offered for Premium accounts, just like with QuillBot.
I tested the Grammarly editor on the same articles I used for QuillBot testing. Here are the results:
As you can see, the Grammarly editor found fewer errors than QuillBot’s free editor. Grammarly did suggest that more errors could be unlocked if I go premium. If they’re the same errors as QuillBot has found, clearly, QuillBot has better value for money in terms of grammar checks. The annual price of Grammarly’s premium version is $144 ($12 per month).
Like with QuillBot, you can get a browser extension for Grammarly, and there’s a Windows, iPhone, and Android app that you can download. A Grammarly account also allows you to save and view your documents in the software’s cloud — a feature unavailable to QuillBot users if they don’t have an account.
Which editor is better?
Both QuillBot and Grammarly have free versions that can help you decide which editor is better.
If you’re looking for a free grammar checker that doesn’t require an account, can generate citations and abstracts for your papers, and can be installed on your browser, Microsoft Word, or Google Docs, consider QuillBot. Undergrads who can probably make do with the free version. Its premium version also gives you access to its Plagiarism check tool and the unlimited Paraphraser tool, a feature more useful for teachers and Ph.D. students to avoid unintended plagiarism.
Grammarly might suit you more if you prefer software that can store your documents and suggested edits in the cloud, which multiple people can access (e.g., company employees). Its free version does lose out to QuillBot in terms of available features, but its premium features offer a wide range of features, including a plagiarism checker, customizable tone and formality level, and extra corrections.
Whichever you choose, though, the bottom line is that the best editor for you is the one that suits your needs the most.
Photo credit: The feature image has been taken by Daniel Thomas. The screenshots and infographic in the article have been taken and made respectively by the author for TechAcute.