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The Irreplaceable Human Virtual Assistants: Assessing Grammarly's Limits in Editing

grammarly and human virtual assistants

As artificial intelligence advances, there is growing curiosity about whether tools like Grammarly can effectively replace the role of a human editor. I (and many of our Virtual Assistants) utilize Grammarly Premium for my blog posts as a final check-in proofreading.

Yet Grammarly cannot replace the nuanced work of a Virtual Assistant who edits. While the AI excels in refining writing, it falls short in performing tasks integral to the editing process, such as enhancing a document's content, structure, pacing, or overall flow. Grammarly effectively detects minor errors and enhances writing clarity, conciseness, and engagement.

To comprehend why Grammarly cannot replace a human Virtual Assistant, let's explore what an editing VA does.

Can Grammarly Replace an Editor Virtual Assistant?

I firmly believe that Grammarly will never entirely replace an editor.

There are multiple steps that a Virtual Assistant takes in the traditional editorial process. Developmental editing takes place in the first stage, focusing on structural and substantive editing, where occasionally significant changes can take place. Line editing, which is in the second stage, addresses content and stylistic editing.

Developmental Editing

When a VA evaluates the entire document, they aim to enhance content and structure. They may reorganize text, and add or delete substantial portions, ensuring the inclusion of key points and logical coherence.

Line Editing

Line editing for a Virtual Assistant operates at the paragraph and sentence levels, enhancing language clarity and consistency in style and tone. They may add, delete, or rework sentences within paragraphs, ensuring a smooth transition between ideas. Line editors also verify the language's suitability for the target audience.


Grammarly's functionalities, available in both free and Premium versions, aim to enhance writing clarity, correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. While the tool proves useful for proofreading and basic copyediting, it lacks the depth and precision required to replace a Virtual Assistant who is doing developmental and/or line editing.

Why Grammarly Can't Replace a Developmental Editor:

Grammarly falls short in addressing overall structure, content improvement, and extensive reorganization. It doesn't delve into considerations of character development, plot holes, or pacing, crucial aspects that developmental editors evaluate.

Why Grammarly Can't Replace a Line Editor:

Grammarly cannot add or delete entire sentences, rework language meaningfully, or check for smooth transitions between ideas. It also overlooks a writer's unique voice, a crucial aspect considered by line editors.

Communication and Iteration: A Missing Element

Unlike human Virtual Assistants, Grammarly lacks the capacity to communicate with writers to understand their style, goals, and target audience. The iterative process of collaboration between writer and editor, refining the document through multiple rounds, is absent in Grammarly's functionality.

In conclusion, Grammarly, while a valuable tool for certain aspects of writing improvement, cannot replace the intricate work carried out by a human Virtual Assistant who is doing developmental and line editing. Grammarly and human Virtual Assistants can work together. The nuanced, subjective nature of editing tasks and the lack of effective communication and iterative refinement place Grammarly outside the realm of a comprehensive editorial substitute. Understanding the distinctions between editing stages and Grammarly's capabilities emphasizes the continued necessity of human editors.


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