As a blogger, I have to write a lot and, of course, edit large volumes of content. Naturally, proofreading takes lots of time and effort. It would be hard to cope with everything if there were no smart digital helpers.
Now, when editing my piece, I rely not only on my knowledge and experience but also on editing and proofreading tools. They help me spot mistakes I commonly make and get rid of them. It’s a perfect language practice and reliable way to polish your text.
If you are used to relying on Microsoft Word check, you would be surprised to know how many other efficient online services exist. But which of them are the right ones?
In this article, I’m going to present my favorite editing and proofreading resources. Some of them are standard grammar and spelling checkers, the others provide you with a detailed text analysis, others evaluate its readability and overall quality. If you want your papers, blog posts, and other content to look better – try these websites and find out which of them are the best for you.
Many writers are assured that this well-known website is a king of editing tools. Indeed, this service does a good job. Grammarly catches spelling and grammar mistakes of almost all kinds. In my experience, the algorithm of Grammarly is quite advanced. It understands the difference between “there” and “their,” “you’re” and “your,” as well as “it’s” and “its.” This shows that Grammarly detects errors regarding the context. This program finds and fixes about 250 types of mistakes and helps you improve the word choice. To check your text, you just have to upload the file or copy and paste it into the system. Grammarly is perfect for short documents, professional texts (like press releases, letters, reviews, etc.), and academic papers. If you are a student, and you need a paper, you can download it for free from websites like StudentShare and then check it for mistakes with the help of Grammarly to make sure that you submit a flawless work.
This tool offers paid and free versions. Despite the fact that paid accounts are not exactly cheap, they offer more extended possibilities. While free account just informs you that your content has mistakes (which is not very helpful because you already know that), you have to sign up for a paid account to actually see these mistakes and get rid of them.
Don’t be surprised! A Google Docs built-in grammar checker is advanced and can be used as any other “on-air” checker. If you think that this one is just like Word’s spell check – you are wrong. This tool is much more powerful since it checks the copy for grammatical correctness, too. It has its disadvantages, but it has saved me a lot of time and work.
The process is very simple. Google Docs checker reviews your text when you type and underlines grammar errors and misspellings both. To help you fix the mistake, Google Doc suggests replacements. You have to click right button to see them.
Ginger is an application that works as a Google Chrome extension. This desktop tool is clear and easy to use: you have to sign up for an account (it’s free!), and then copy and paste your text into the tool or simply type it right there. Click the button and Ginger will find grammar issues you have typed as well as wrongly written sentences. To help you fix the mistakes, Ginger will suggest possible rephrasing of your sentences, correct usage of words, and give points to right orthography. It will also help you find too complicated sentences and suggest breaking them into parts, which is a must for college papers check.
The good thing about this tool is that it has additional features like translator, synonyms, built-in dictionary, “phrase of the day”, and more. If you use IOS or Android – Ginger is available for them, too.
Actually, CorrectEnglish is a paid service, but it offers a three-day trial so you can try it out before deciding whether you need to get a paid version or not. The good thing about this tool is that it offers not only a grammar check, but also covers structure, organization, mechanics, word choice, and more. Not only your English is going to be corrected with the help of this tool. It is cross-lingual and has French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese services. In addition, it offers online storage service.
PolishMyWriting is another proofreading tool you can use to check a previously written copy or type in the website’s text field. This one detects errors of three different kinds and highlights them with different colors. Red is for spelling errors, green is for grammatical errors, and blue is for style errors. Different colors make you pay attention to various mistakes and keep them in mind.
PolishMyWriting also catches passive voice in your text and provides suggestions on how to rephrase it. The distinguishing feature of PolishMyWriting is that it works really fast and you don’t have to wait for an hour to see the results even if you check a large piece of text.
If you want more than just a grammar check and have free time to analyze your copy, then make yourself comfortable and try SlickWrite. This tool detects mistakes you have made and analyzes the entire text regarding uncommon words, filler words, passive voice, adverbs, prepositions and more. I use this tool to see my progress and track how I’m improving not only my grammar but writing skills in general. While other editing and proofreading tools show you the exact mistakes, and you rarely remember them in the future (because we bet you make them again and again in you further copies), SlickWrite provides you with comments and analysis of the errors you make to let you remember them better.
If you want to check whether this way is effective – use SlickWrite at least once a month for evaluation. With SlickWrite I feel like I have learned something important about my texts. That is something I cannot say about the major part of other editing tools.
AutoCrit is also an analyzing tool which highlights the areas that need improvement like word choice, repetitions, dialogue, pacing and momentum, and more. The tool is not free, but fiction writers will totally love it. To check your manuscript, you have to paste it into the field or upload it and then click the button to see the evaluation. For me, AutoCrite helped me stop starting sentences with “but” or “and”. This tool is a good one when you are on your way to start practicing self-editing. It will help you avoid the most common no-nos and improve your rewriting.
ProWritingAid analyzes text and reports about the overused words, sentence length, repeat words, phrases and writing style. It is free, but you can get a premium account that gives you more options such as using this tool for your Microsoft Word documents and access to more editing reports. However, most areas you would like to check will be yours free of charge.
The process is simple: click the button “Editing tool”, copy and paste your text into the field, and click “Analyze”. If you don’t have an account, you won’t be able to paste more than 1,000 words at once. You can get a membership for free with a social media account or an email. You will find suggested edits in the sidebar on the left. Use ProWritingAid to guide your edits.
Hemingway analyzes your writing, highlights the areas that require your consideration, and provides a readability score. The last one is the lowest grade level a person needs to understand your writing. If you use Hemingway online, it is free. A desktop version is paid, but it is pretty cheap. To check your copy, just paste it into the dashboard and a tool will scan it for you. The tool highlights complex sentences, passive voice use, presence of adverbs with different colors.
Hemingway provides suggestions for passive voice and hard-to-read sentences rephrasing. It also detects the -ly adverbs and passive voice and suggests the maximum acceptable number you can include in your text regarding the word count. It breaks the stereotype that passive voice constructions and adverbs should be avoided, which is a feature other editing tools do not have. It is clean and easy to use. Despite the fact that it doesn’t catch grammar or spelling mistakes, it is still useful for writers. Use it to improve the readability of your writing and find problem sentences in your text.
Meanwhile, there are amazing manual techniques for printed or hand-written writing. These old tricks are listed below, and they will be a great addition to the online tools I have already listed. So take your dictionary, thesaurus, and a writing style guide. Use reference guides if you are writing an academic paper. For the best formatting prompts visit Purdue OWL, it’s free.
Time-honored proofreading techniques for printed texts
- If you have a large text to proofread, break it into sections. This will help you stay focused when you need to spend long time checking your copy.
- Search for one kind of mistake at a time. First, spelling errors, then grammar errors, and so on.
- Read your manuscript aloud.
- Cover your document with a blank paper and check only one line at a time.
- Try reading from the bottom upwards.
- Perform a couple of edits, but take breaks to read something else between editing sessions.
And some new tricks:
- Use the dictionary to make sure that you have picked the right word.
- Check sentence by sentence and to try to proofread the entire text at once.
- Change the color, size, or spacing. This may help you gain new perspective.
- Paste parts of the text into Google Translate and translate it into a language you know. Reading it will make you laugh, but this might help get a new perspective, too. Moreover, a translator will be confused by mistakes, and you will notice it immediately.
Editing is an integral part of any writing process. Whatever content you produce, you should proofread it to make sure there are no mistakes and typos. Fortunately, today polishing your text is no longer a nightmare but easy and exciting process. With the help of these resources and tools, you will make your posts, articles, essays, reports, emails and other documents better without too much effort. As an author or a student, you should admit your limitations – you are a writer, not an editor. Therefore, it’s okay to count on online tools like these ones for a clean up!