One of the more difficult tasks in writing is checking for errors in grammar, spelling and correct use of words. And after much research, I also needed to check for readability. I always felt I know how to correct my grammar. I am not an English major or minor. I am one of those who corrected for grammar based on how nice a sentence sounded. But that is not good enough. I could not depend on the way a sentence sounds to determine correct usage. So, like so many problems, I turned to technology, and I discovered 3 products that can help.
Grammarly is a Grammar and Plagiarism checker. They offer both a premium and free version. An advantage of Grammarly over the other products I have tried is the extensions for both the Chrome and Safari Browsers. It also has an MSWord and Outlook plug-in that allows you to check your work from within word. I did not have the chance to try out the paid version of Grammarly. I find the browser-based to be sufficient for my needs.
Hemmingway Editor is a free browser-based editor that checks for readability. This refers to how easy a reader can understand a text. It does this by scanning the text then indicating the grade level necessary to understand the text. This is a rough estimate. It also checks for the use of active or passive voice and adverbs and makes recommendations. There is also a paid desktop version that allows the writer to check his writing without being on-line.
ProWritingAid is another powerful grammar, voice and adverb checker. It also checks for overused and repeated words, sticky sentences, Sentence and paragraph lengths, and much more. Too much to be of use now. But perhaps in the future.
Like Grammarly and Hemmingway, ProWritingAid also offers a free browser-based option. Unlike the previous products, it constantly advertises the premium version, and I also had it stop functioning until I reset the browser. I decided that these features would be useful in some future work. The desktop version which would allow access from MSWord or Scrivener in still in Beta, as of this writing.
How I Use these Products
Each of these products have their own strength and weaknesses. And with my Obsessive compulsive behavior, I would not feel comfortable unless I’ve run my work through all 3 products. I start by running and making corrections using ProWritingAid. When I am satisfied with the results, I run this using Grammarly and Hemmingway. Because of the Grammarly extension, you can run both the Hemmingway editor and the free Grammarly editor in Chrome. A great time saver because the results for both in the same window, at the same time.
A word of caution. The products are not perfect. Sometimes all 3 products tried to make corrections I disagreed with. The context is not always understood by the programs. Use it to search for common mistakes, but do the final acceptance based on what you need to say.
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