I have never had anyone edit my blog posts here at AVC. I write the posts, hit publish, and go off on my day and let the conversation follow. Often readers will send to me copy edits; typos, misspellings, grammar errors, etc. I am always very thankful for these reader-generated edits and almost always go make the changes and fix the post. This is how AVC gets copy edited. It works but there are issues. The emails that go out are based on the initial post and so they often have the errors in them.

Yesterday, I took a step in the direction of better-written posts by adding the Grammarly chrome extension to my browser. Grammarly works just like a spell checker but it is focused on making me (and all of their users) a better writer.

Grammarly works in any writing application that runs in my browser, so I benefit from it in WordPress, Gmail, Google Docs, Twitter, and anywhere else I write on the web.

So far, I like it quite a bit. I plan to keep using it. And I hope that you will all see the improvement in my writing as a result.


Comments (Archived):

  1. rfreeborn

    I just read about the new editing AI from MS. When I was in college they (Microsoft) *did* have the ability to try and collapse the size of the content – not sure what drove that intelligence. This, this I REALLY wish that I had!

    1. Sebastien Latapie

      I”m looking forward to testing out the new AI from MS!

  2. Tom Labus

    Maybe someone in the DC area could use this one!!!

    1. Donna Brewington White


  3. LIAD

    Nice.I’ve been using Hemingway for sometime. Just saw Grammarly are bidding on their name.I find it very useful and helpful to clarify thinking – but can occasionally feel a little militant.Gutting sentences/changing structures to appease the invisible AI overlords.At least it’s positive gamification I guess.

    1. fredwilson

      “militant” – yes, but i grew up in an army family so its comforting to me

      1. LE

        Comfort. Harville Hendrix theorized that children try to right the wrongs of their parents in relationships. And I think this also extends to other factors in terms of how someone was raised. I have found that to be the case anecdotally over time and by observation of many people. [1]This quote sheds some light:“Romantic Love delivers us into the passionate arms of someone who will ultimately trigger the same frustrations we had with our parents, but for the best possible reason! Doing so brings our childhood wounds to the surface so they can be healed.” [1] This is why some people marry replicas of their parents while others marry the exact opposite. Likewise if you parents were cheap you might either be cheap as well or the exact opposite. With child rearing applies also. Very polarized responses regardless of how you viewed it yourself and how you were raised. IE I am a hard ass because I was raised by a hard ass but my sisters are the opposite same household. So if your parents were difficult you may find it a challenge to marry a difficult person thinking that you can fix what you weren’t able to do growing up. The 2 people that married me married the exact opposite of their fathers as did multiple woman that I dated.

      2. karen_e

        Hilarious. As if Strunk & White were Army captains!

        1. Anne Libby

          According to Wikipedia, E.B.White, born in 1899, served in the army before going to college.According to his obit, he …liked to sip a vermouth cassis before lunch. ‘It’s a French taxi-driver’s drink,’ he said.”…

          1. karen_e

            Well played, Anne! And what a wonderful link.

          2. Anne Libby

            I didn’t know it before you inspired me to look. (My grandfather was of the same generation, and also served in WWI…)

          3. Donna Brewington White

            Never realized until now that the White of “Strunk &” was E.B. White. That makes sense.Charlotte’s Web was one of my favorite books as a child, and then to read to my kids when they were young. We went through it multiple times.But it never occurred to me to read it for myself as an adult until @SixgillBlog:disqus once brought to our attention that he periodically rotates this into his reading. Soul food.

          4. awaldstein

            About Charlotte:“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”She of course wrote on the web.

          5. Donna Brewington White


          6. awaldstein

            I also love this para from the book:“Why did you do all this for me?’ he (Wilbur) asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”#truth

          7. Donna Brewington White


    2. panterosa,

      My concern is that it standardizes writing, and strips some of the personal style out. Have you found that? I have no objection to thinking structurally about the writing so it’s clearer.

      1. karen_e

        Of course it surely will be terrible in that sense and personally I would never use it. (Doh! Never say never.) See also: return to the abacus:

        1. panterosa,

          I have always wanted to learn abacus. Maybe I will now!

    3. LE

      I forked on your comment to wonder why the estate doesn’t take issue with their use of the name for that purpose. I think they don’t protect it and (from a quick check) there appears to be a company setup (not related to Hemmingway heirs) that is attempting to license the name by registering trademarks. To me things like this (as business opportunities) are fascinating:http://www.ernesthemingwayc…Welcome to the official home of the Ernest Hemingway collection of brand-licensing products. For over ten years the collection has represented the lifestyle, personality, and enthusiasm for adventure espoused by one of America’s most celebrated literary masters.So this was created out of thin air. And clearly the intent is to lockup rights and then license them, essentially something that anyone could have done if they had gotten their first with the proper marks in categories.

      1. Vasudev Ram

        IIRC there was an app or tool shown on HN a few years ago, called Hemingway. Some sort of literary software aid.

    4. Donna Brewington White

      I will sometimes override the grammar police. But it’s a conscious choice.Even spell check has to be stood up to every once in a while.

      1. CTC911CTC

        Spell Check is always making me change Advise to Advice, drives me batty. Their (Microsoft’s) logic in this rule is flawed.

  4. Jess Bachman

    Grammerly is gret! I use it all the tim.

    1. Jess Bachman

      WARNING: It doesn’t work with disqus.

    2. fredwilson


  5. Park Sangwon

    Why do you feel compelled to use such an extension? Do you not listen to jazz music, watch B Boys, or have spontaneous sex at 15:00? Make mistakes, live a little.

    1. fredwilson

      trust me, i make so many mistakes!!!!

      1. Tom Gartner

        If you ever dictate it helps a lot as well, as the spoken word isn’t close to looking correct in written text.

      2. PhilipSugar

        We all do. Anybody that says they would not have done something differently in retrospect is either a liar or an idiot. I can point out an example every day.

  6. David C. Baker

    I use it, too. You’ll have to retrain it to your own specific ways of expression, but it’s useful. Soon you’ll get a weekly summarize of how much you’ve written and what impact Grammarly had. There’s also a desktop (Mac) app that I use from the same place.

  7. William Mougayar

    Just downloaded instantly. Is it worth getting the premium version?

  8. William Mougayar

    It said Google Drive not supported. How do you get it to work on Google Docs?

    1. fredwilson

      maybe i am wrong about that. i thought it worked in Docs

  9. bob

    good grammars are nice. please send our new president a link to the app so he humiliates our country in proper English

  10. jeffgrillo

    What made you select Grammerly over Ginger? Do you pay for the Premium account?I just re-watched your presentation ( at Web 2.0 back in 2008. Gary Vaynerchuk’s (who presented after you) noted that you invented the word “Freemium” and this extension is a great example of that. Awesome job!

  11. Michael Preston

    For later in the Grammarly roadmap: “filters” that you can apply to adjust your style, e.g., the Flannery O’Connor, the Chaucer, the New York Times Editorial Board, etc.

  12. Kirill Bigai

    That’s so cool that you’ve started using Grammarly! It’s one of the best Ukrainian product 🙂

  13. LE

    For the writing that I need to do, I wouldn’t ever use a grammar checker. It would cause me to do what I will call ‘mentally stutter’. That is to question and stop during the creative process of writing. Which for me must just flow from emotion. I am not saying it wouldn’t be helpful for others or in other situations but I don’t want the baggage overhang. Something from my experience I haven’t needed up to this date based on the results that I get. [1] Guess what? There are many times that I am not looking to sound to sophisticated with proper grammar and it could actually be a drawback.So I will go against the conventional wisdom here and say not everything that appears to be good is good for everyone and ‘can’t hurt’. To illustrate I would offer as an example what might happen if any number of famous songwriters had the rules of grammar in their head as they tried to write a song. Because in theory if you are used to saying things a certain way I would speculate that it’s hard to unring that bell..So it’s not as simple as just not using the grammar checker during those times![1] Once again for almost all of the writing that I need to do.

    1. PhilipSugar

      I would use one after I wrote. No different than trying to re-read your writing. But I agree not during.

  14. Kent Karlsen

    Thanks. Installed. I have a bigger problem than just spelling 🙂 My english teacher told me to focus on business and software instead of learning perfect english, hehe. I will give it a try.

  15. Lee Lorenzen

    Let me compliment you on using this tool which will be an excellent complement to your writing. 🙂

    1. Vasudev Ram

      And I compliment you on your comment, which complements Fred’s post well :)I often see those two words misspelled, mostly use of compliment when people mean complement. Lead used instead of led (often in resumes or LinkedIn profiles), like <name> lead a team, is another one.

      1. Lee Lorenzen

        Their are lots of cases like this and there hard to spot because they’re sounds are all the same.I guess grammarly would correct this to:There are lots of cases like this and they’re hard to spot because their sounds are all the same.I have Big League or Bigly respect for non-native English speakers who can master these nuances.

        1. Vasudev Ram

          Great example 🙂

  16. Vendita Auto

    I do not have the app but would be interested to know what happens when a passage from Hamlet or Ulysses is used ?

  17. Vendita Auto

    Would this covert poor translations ?

    1. Vendita Auto

      Error but think I prefer covert

  18. Chris Remus

    The free Hemingway App has done wonders for my writing. My writing’s become much more succinct and direct. It’s fun to watch my progress too. I’ve noticed the number of suggested edits steadily decrease as I continue to use it…

  19. OurielOhayon

    been using it daily for the past 2 years. saved many times important emails. can t live without it.

  20. awaldstein

    installed and thanks!

  21. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Fred is a Venture Capitalist that blesses those who enjoy, critique, admonish or oppose his blog writings, suggestions, social interests and business interests.He rarely has time to wipe his ____. Lets use the common sense button. If Fred suggests something that doesn’t work in what he assumed works in all platforms can we provide a correct alternative and just say it doesn’t work in a platform we are using but this app does. Gheezzzzzzzz!!!!!!!Now allow us to criticise him regarding Twitter or some other portfolio the financials and street views differently.Fred we really thank you for creating this blog and glad we located it. It allows our random ramblings a space with the other random ramblings.

  22. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Any suggections on a way to apply the spellcheck mode in the reply of emails?It appears the Grammerly should work. But would think would have this figured out. This is MS for crying out loud.

    1. Vasudev Ram

      >It appears the Grammerly should work. But would think would have this figured out. This is MS for crying out loud.The conclusion does not necessarily follow from the premise 🙂

  23. VincentWright

    Fred:An unexpected personal benefit of your article’s prompting me to restore the Grammarly extension to Chrome on this laptop is that, once installed, it concurrently showed up on another, non-networked laptop on my desk.This indicates that, though I’m using the 2 machines for 2 separate gmail accounts, I’ve been using only one instance of Chrome for both machines…OOPS!(And, THANKS! 🙂 )

    1. Vasudev Ram

      I’m not sure if it is possible to use one instance of Chrome on two machines. It could be that you signed into Chrome (not everyone does), which enables sync of bookmarks and so on across instances of Chrome (on different machines and devices that you are signed into). And that sync may include extensions like Grammarly (not sure).

  24. creative group

    Jess Bachman:is the new multiplicity photo expressing something? The Thinker pose from The Thinker bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin…..https://commons.wikimedia.o

    1. Vasudev Ram

      Thinker and visionary, is what it looks like (lower right and upper left respectively).And speaking of Rodin, check the image in this post:dunderdoc, a simple Python introspection utility:

  25. Tom Gartner

    Fred I love it, and paid for the premium version.

  26. Jason Hirschhorn

    We use every day at REDEF and integrated into our CMS system. Great tool.

  27. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Now picture something like that built into Twitter, except to catch writing that may be offensive to anyone being @’d. It could gently suggest thinking twice before hitting the “Tweet” button.

    1. Vasudev Ram

      That would be a good use of sentiment analysis, NLP, etc.

  28. Bill Cushard

    But what I “want” to indulge in a mixed metaphor?

  29. aminTorres

    not sure if you were aware of:

    1. Vasudev Ram

      Ah, that’s the one I said (above) that I saw mentioned on HN. I see others have also mentioned it in the comments.

  30. Donna Brewington White

    Bravo, Fred.Just so long as you don’t find a Chrome extension that also comments on your posts. Leave something for your loyal readers to do. 😉

    1. Vasudev Ram

      Wouldn’t be surprised if one of his portfolio companies (who are into ML and AI) comes up with something like that after a while. From sentiment analysis, it may not be too far a step to comment synthesis (don’t know). Not sure it would be a good thing though, and likely feel weird (at least to humans).Here is a sort of analogous example – a synthesized voice announcing the arrival of a train in Stockholm, Sweden.Speech synthesis in Python with pyttsx:…Click on the link (in the post) about the train to hear it.

  31. Wyatt Brown

    Been using Grammarly for one year. It has changed my life. Too bad Chrome mobile does allow extensions to run.

  32. Brad Franklin

    I need to try this. My mind moves so fast at times I tend to hit publish too quickly.A great writing app I use on iOS for writing everything is Drafts by Agiletor Tortoise. IOS spell check doesn’t seem to work half the time in the app though.I wish there was something like grammarly for iOS.



  34. Mark

    I’ve been using it. In order to get me to pay I need it to work with the native Apple mac mail client since that’s where I do the most writing (yes I know everyone does email online with O365 and Gmail). But, it has definitely improved my online writing.

  35. Aviah Laor

    haha, the tag for the post is Weblogs. Once upon a time in west.

  36. CTC911CTC

    I have been using it for about 1 year, I wish I had it when Mrs. Marshal was screaming at me in the 6th grade…………We had a truce during the “i” before “e” lecture when I threw her the word “Science” ……..still Grammarly keeps me somewhat lucid. I like the free version since it lets me end sentences with a preposition like before.

  37. Mark Edward

    Just introduced to it. Hope it will be helpful.

  38. Ruth BT

    Love Grammarly but only to a point. It’s a requirement for 7th grade at my son’s school. Sadly it doesn’t help in analog when writing exams and because he now relies on it, his writing without a computer is atrocious. I also seem to fight with it on specific issues. As a sub-editor in a past life in Australia, some Grammarly rules just don’t work for me.