You may not consider becoming the next Shakespeare, but good English writing skills are an asset no matter where you go. Even native English language speakers sometimes struggle with it. So if it is not your native tongue, it is not shameful if you need some assistance.
The thing with bad writing is that most of the time authors do not even notice it. But the readers do. When that happens, it reduces writer’s credibility and distorts the meaning of a message. In a worst case scenario, your text might be too difficult to read, and you’ll just lose readers on the spot.
In any case, you want to minimize extra noise in your messages.
Fortunately, we live in a good time and there are plenty of tools to assist you. Don’t worry, be happy.
Here are some of the best writing tools which I use for literally anything: university assignments, articles, blogging, social media posts and even personal messages.
Many reviewers, writers and developers call Grammarly the best proofreading tool and that is well deserved. Indeed, Grammarly is superb.
First, it highlights your mistakes and suggests improvements. Then, it also offers explanations for every correction, which makes it a useful learning assistant. It may not always be right, but its reasoning allows you to make more informed decisions.
Free version contains contextual spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and style checkers. Additionally, the Premium version includes advanced issues checker, genre terms, vocabulary suggestions and plagiarism checkers.
You can install Grammarly on many different platforms. It offers Chrome, Firefox and Safari plugins, in case you’re writing in your browser, desktop app and MS Word extension. However, Word or Pages add-in for MAC users does not exist yet, therefore sometimes can be time-consuming to move your texts between Pages and the desktop app regularly.
There also is an excellent opportunity to get Grammarly Premium for free with Grammarly referral program. Sign up using this link and enjoy your one week of free advanced grammar and spell checking with all the premium features included.
Ginger is another solution for automatic grammar and spell checking. It is almost as good as Grammarly and works on many different platforms, including iOS and Android. However, like Grammarly, it also doesn’t offer built-in Pages (for Mac) extension.
Ginger features include grammar checker, sentence rephrasing, translator, dictionary, text reader and even personal trainer, however, some of these functions are only available for the premium users.
Speaking of learning, one of the Ginger highlights is a personal trainer. There you can learn about your most common mistakes and practice them.
Most experts still put Grammarly above Ginger in their reviews, but in my opinion, they both do a decent job and are worth trying. Personally, I use them simultaneously, and it creates a synergetic effect. What one lacks the other has.
Hemingway app is slightly different from the others. Here, it evaluates your text and calculates its readability score. It also highlights the issues, categorizes them and offers suggestions.
The free version does not provide solutions to all your problems, but as a contextual proofreader, it does a good job by identifying readability problems.
One disadvantage of Hemingway editor is that it does not offer built-in extensions yet. Therefore, you must copy-paste your text into the website. Also, there is a desktop app. It costs only around 20USD, which is considerably cheaper than the other proofreading tools.
Manual writing tools
No matter how good options mentioned above are, no automatic proofreader outperforms experienced human (YET). Therefore, when it is possible, you still should proofread yourself or forward your work to someone else.
If you want to learn and do not trust your level of English yet, there is only one thing to remember – practice makes perfect. The web is always here to help you.
Some of the better manual writing tools that can help you on your way to better English are Grammar Girl, Thesaurus and Cambridge Dictionary. Grammar Girl aka Mignon Fogarty runs an interesting blog, where she reviews the latest developments in English language and provides some quick tips. Thesaurus is an excellent resource for synonyms in case you’re out of words. Cambridge Dictionary is useful for word clarification. Also, if you register, you can create your word lists and revise them later on.
Recently, I have also stumbled into Ludwig – a smart translator and linguistic search engine which helps you to find the perfect word or sentence to express your ideas. You simply need to enter a phrase and Ludwig will match it to every credible literary source that uses it. I find it handy whenever I have second thoughts about using particular expressions.
What kind of writing tools do you use? Did you find this article useful? Any feedback is welcome in the comments.