It goes without saying that we all need to make a good impression when writing, whether that be an email, a web-page, a report or other document. A spelling error or a badly written sentence can ruin all the professionalism and effort you put into it, such mistake might be confusing or even give the wrong message. Its been explained to me in the past that proof-reading ones own material can be a faulty process as one’s brain continues to tell you what you thought you had written.
Fortunately there are a number of useful free tools to help us all in improving our written communications.
A writing analysis web-app with useful 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. It will point out sentences that are too complex or too short, unnecessary words, passive voice, weak verbs, and much more. Here’s the complete list of this app’s metrics. Remember, these are suggestions, so you get to decide which of the edits you want to make and which you want to ignore as part of your writing style and intended audience.
Analyze your text against Google’s language database
Free Download for Windows and Mac
Writefull is a light-weight app that provides feedback on your writing by checking your text against databases of correct language. You can use Writefull in any writing tool – from MS Word to Gmail. Simply select a piece of text, hit the short-key to activate the Writefull popover, and choose one of its five options.
Write in simple words for easy reading.
This is an interesting web-app for when you want to send an email or a message that should be easy to read, and you don’t necessarily want to show off your vocabulary. EasyWrite restricts you to using only the 1,000 most common words in English! As you paste in your text or write directly into the app, every time you use a word that isn’t used regularly, it gets highlighted, so the technique is to get as few highlights in your writing as possible.
Visit Easywrite at http://easywrite.parishod.com/
A Web-app to check for any offensive or insensitive words
One of the mainstays for writing is to be sensitive and considerate in the language you use. Political correctness, polarizing language, non gender-specific words, and inclusive English are important; but you might not always know what is the right thing to say. This is where the Alex web-app comes into play, catching unintentionally offensive language, suggesting alternatives, and most importantly, explaining why, and helping you get better at using more considerate and sensitive wording. Here’s a screenshot of Alex in action.
Vist Alex at http://alexjs.com/
A Web-App and download for Windows and Mac for listening 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.
Watch the video and play with the demo at: http://www.naturalreaders.com/index.html
Having checked out each of the above, I think all these “from free” apps are great. However, I also value greatly the human touch, especially by a human being that knows you and what you are trying to communicate. So let me introduce our own secret weapon, “SWebCheck” by fellow member, Peter Gibb.
Whenever I ask Peter to check something for myself or one of my clients, either emailed over or online, we/they talk face to face or by phone/skype, he reports back either on skype at the same time as sharing screens so that corrections and improvements can be discussed and made in real time, or he sends a report with screenshots followed up by a telephone conversation. I am appalled at the number of things he pulls myself up on and welcome the suggestions he makes.
I’ve known Peter for many years and he has been so useful, not just to myself but to many others. He would welcome you getting in touch with him to discuss options and pricing.
Peter’s contact details
Tel: +44 (0) 1202 739267
Email: enquiries(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)swebcheck.com
I hope you found the above useful!
About me ..
- Occupationally competent and qualified business, management and e-commerce adviser, assessor and lecturer/trainer.
- Founder member of Business & Management Wessex, the not for profit network for business owners and managers in Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire
- Serves on the Chartered Management Institute’s Southern Regional Board.
- Occupational experience across a number of sectors including Commercial, Financial, MOD, Third Sector and Academia both at College and University level.
- Experienced as a college and university business, management and MBA assessor and lecturer, as well as managing a Government funded national training organisation delivering qualifications and professional development programmes in advice & guidance, management, business, business improvement & lean management, ICT & ILT solutions, Digital marketing and customer service/engagement.