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Being good at writing isn’t the job most people sign up for, but it comes with the territory as you climb up the ladder. Eventually, you’ll need to send important emails or submit official documents, and you need to make a good impression in those. A spelling error or a badly written sentence can ruin all the professionalism and effort you put into it.

The good news is that you don’t need to be an excellent writer, since there are enough tools to help you out. Extensions like Grammarly Lite Grammarly Lite - A Browser Extension For All Your Proofreading Needs [Chrome, Firefox, Safari] Grammarly Lite - A Browser Extension For All Your Proofreading Needs [Chrome, Firefox, Safari] How do you currently proofread what you type on your computer? Type it in Google? Paste it into Word? Or do you use a proofreading website that you paste your text into? I am definitely... Read More help ensure your grammar is in shape, and a little searching on the web will lead you to many other such wonderful free sites.

Cool Websites and Apps presents five of the very best.

Expresso (Web): Powerful Writing Analysis with Various Metrics

Writing is an art, not a science, but there are still some rules and metrics by which you can figure out how good a block of text is. Expresso uses these metrics to analyze what you have written and provides editing suggestions.

Self-Edit-Proofread-Emails-Documents-Expresso

It’s similar to the Hemingway App, one of the best browser-based tools for writers 13 Browser-Based Tools For Writers 13 Browser-Based Tools For Writers Whether you need help with organization or a clean slate on which to write your words, these tools will prove useful to all of you who write on a regular basis. Don't miss out! Read More . It will point out sentences that are too complex or too short, unnecessary words, passive voice, weak verbs, and much more. Here’s the full list of Expresso’s metrics. Remember, these are mainly suggestions, so you get to decide which of the edits you want to make and which you want to ignore.

Writefull (Windows, Mac): Analyze Text Against Google’s Language Database

If you aren’t used to writing in English, or need a little help now and again, then here’s a neat trick. Copy-paste your text into Google search and see what results you get — it’s a good way of finding out if you’re using the right words or phrases. Writefull now turns that into a smart, always-on app that works as an add-on for any word processor you use, from MS Word to Google Docs.

Highlight some text and analyze it with Writefull to find how often that’s used. If you’ve used two similar phrases, check which one is used more often. You can also find words and synonyms in the context of how you have used a phrase by comparing it to all the texts in Wikipedia, Google Books, or Google Web. Considering how this “crowd-sources” your analysis, you should probably use this tool to improve your resume Upgrade Your Job Hunt: 3 Quick Ways To Improve Your Resume Upgrade Your Job Hunt: 3 Quick Ways To Improve Your Resume Your resume is key to landing that job interview. Technology can help check how readable your CV is, thus increasing your chances of making a good impression. Read More .

EasyWrite (Web): Write in Simple Words for Easy Reading

Here’s a tool for someone who already knows their language well, but wants to simplify. When you want to send an email or a message that should be easy to read, you don’t want to show off your vocabulary. EasyWrite restricts you to using only the 1,000 most common words in English.

Self-Edit-Proofread-Emails-Documents-Easy-Write

Clear the text in the app and start writing. Every time you write a word that isn’t used regularly, it’ll get highlighted. Try and have as little highlights in your writing as possible. Generally speaking, you won’t be able to avoid using some words, but as far as possible, look up synonyms for uncommon words 10 Online Synonym Dictionaries To Help You Find A Similar Word 10 Online Synonym Dictionaries To Help You Find A Similar Word Read More to make your writing clearer.

Alex (Web): Check for Any Offensive or Insensitive Words

One of the cornerstones of writing for the digital age Writing For the Digital Age: 5 Free Writing Style Guides Online Writing For the Digital Age: 5 Free Writing Style Guides Online English is the language the world speaks and we have to put in our two bits to do it correctly. The web has created a global audience, so if you are among the ones who... Read More is to be more sensitive and considerate in the language you use. Political correctness, polarizing language, gender equal words, and inclusive English are important; but you might not always know what is the right thing to say. That’s where Alex comes in.

Self-Edit-Proofread-Emails-Documents-Alex

Alex is a lovely little tool that catches unintentionally offensive language, suggests alternatives, and most importantly, explains why and helps you get better at using sensitive words. Plus, the open-source app is available as an add-on for popular writing apps like Github’s Atom or chat apps like Slack.

Natural Reader (Web, Windows, Mac): Listen to Your Text to Find Errors

Once you have finished writing, it’s good practice to take a break and then read through what you have written so you can spot errors. Spelling can be taken care of by your eyes, but to make sure it sounds natural, try listening to it. Natural Reader will turn your text into audio, using human voices to do it.

Natural Reader 14 has a web app as well as free downloadable versions for Windows and Mac, where it lets you choose between different voice styles and speed. Of course, you can try others too, since there’s no shortage of text-to-speech (TTS) online apps 5 Websites To Instantly Convert Text To Speech 5 Websites To Instantly Convert Text To Speech Text to speech (and the inverse, in instances like Dragon Naturally Speaking) is a brilliant technology that can be used in a lot of different ways. Ever since Windows' Microsoft Sam, text to speech has... Read More , and Mac OS X even comes built-in TTS Dictater Adds Controls to Your Mac's Text To Speech Function Dictater Adds Controls to Your Mac's Text To Speech Function Apple's built-in text to speech engine is a feature without an interface. Dictater is a simple Mac program that fixes that. Read More .

What’s Your Preferred Writing App?

We’ve talked about various tools to edit and proofread what you’ve written, but let’s go back to the writing itself.

Which software or app do you use to write your important documents? Do you compose your emails in some app first and then paste them into the browser? Are you a Microsoft Word user, a Google Docs devout, or do you use a cool other word processor? Talk us through how you write.

  1. Mohammad Laif
    May 26, 2016 at 12:53 am

    useful articles & apps, thanks

  2. Maryon Jeane
    April 12, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    In the early days when I used to train people in the use of various programs, I found I was spending considerable amounts of extra time (paid, fortunately...) clearing out the dictionaries of the wordprocessing ones. This was because, when a word was highlighted as a spelling mistake, the user would assume the program was at fault and simply press 'Add to Dictionary' or whatever. This reaction came about for two reasons: firstly, many of the early dictionaries were either American or 'Amerenglish' and so highlighting 'colour' as a mistake, for example, would teach the user to add 'colour' to the dictionary, and so on; secondly, if someone thinks something is correct (miniscule, dessicate, seperate...) they tend to assume a mistake in the program rather than check and correct themselves.

    These problems were further compounded by particular usage by one profession or another - so, for example, some legal firms wanted 'judgement' removed from the spellcheck dictionaries so that no legal document ever went out with this spelling; they would rather risk letters going out with the incorrect English form of the word than have this happen.

    The same problems are inherent in the use of grammar checkers and the like. If someone is used to writing a certain way, it sounds correct to them; if they don't know why it's incorrect, they're not going to understand the explanation given by the checker program - and they may make changes which are incorrect and actually make things worse. (How many times are you going to run something through a checker?) Also, just how American are these programs?...

    I have marked many pieces of writing in my (rather chequered) career, at various levels (all adult, except for teaching practice), and this is a very complex area. The best pieces of writing in the world are, grammatically speaking, often incorrect (Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Somerset Maugham, for random example). What they are not is inconsistent in style, ambiguous in meaning, or an indigestible strain to read; writing checkers can produce all these results.

    Professionally speaking, if you are known to be using writing checkers as a regular thing it's the equivalent of endlessly resorting to PowerPoint to pad out your lack of matter and presentation skills.

    There is no substitute for learning to write your own language correctly and with at least a touch of your own style.

  3. eren
    April 12, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Wri.tt

  4. Cat
    April 12, 2016 at 6:47 am

    Hey!
    Thank you for the Natural Reader tip.
    I usually just copy and paste my articles into Google Translate and press the microphone, but Natural Reader is a little more palatable. The web app is naff, as it only reads a couple of lines but the free download read out an entire document faultlessly. Oh, I'm on limited data too, but download for Windows was a tiny 30.9MB too, which was delightful!
    Thanks again,
    Cat xxXxx

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