Tag Archives: grammar check

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts

I love Grammarly because even grammar nerds like me sometimes need a second pair of eyes.

Full disclosure: This blog post was sponsored by Grammarly (hence the line above), but I loved using their site so much I wanted to include them on my post.

Grammarly

When I first went into the site I wondered what made it different to Word’s grammar checker, but after testing it out I realised it offers so much more. For a start, it gives a much more detailed explanation of the grammar rules than Word does, as well as examples of incorrect and correct usage (as with Word you need to sometimes use your own judgement). It covers punctuation, spelling, adverb use, split infinitives, redundant words and so much more. It’s quite comprehensive. I loved that it even picked up on common/overused words (e.g.: big) and offered suggestions for alternatives. They offer a free 7-day trial if you want to check it out for yourself.

10 Social Media Tips for Authors Marketing is an important part of being an author, whether you want to self publish or go the traditional publishing route. This post outlines tips for authors on building an effective social media platform.

Plotting a Novel This way of plotting is similar to the way I plot. Author Laurie Faria Stolarz provides a clear list of points to think about to plan out the plot of your novel. It’s simple to follow and covers all the key points. A great post to bookmark and refer back to when you’re in the planning stages of writing.

How Spell Check CAN Be Helpful When Proofreading

As a writer I tend to ignore spell check most of the time, after all it doesn’t pick up homophones like there/their/they’re and it will pick up any names or words it doesn’t recognise (quite annoying for a fantasy writer like me). However, spell check  can be helpful, especially when it comes to that final proofread.

Picking up typos.

When reading over your work for spelling mistakes the human eye can sometimes overlook words if they are only missing one letter or sometimes even if they have an extra one. Spell check on the other hand will recognise that ‘publicty’ should be ‘publicity’ or that ‘intellligent’ should be ‘intelligent’. Of course, if you have missed the ‘e’ on the end of ‘one’ and the word reads as ‘on’ it probably won’t help, but it can help pick up some of those mistakes you’ve overlooked.

Grammar Check

If you enable grammar check as well as spell check, it will often pick up on those words that sound the same, but are spelled differently if they are used in the wrong context. For example if you leave the apostrophe out of ‘it’s’ in the sentence ‘Its a sunny day’. Grammar check is also a good way of seeing how often you have used the passive voice in your writing as it will pick up sentences written in the passive voice. I don’t take all of grammar check’s suggestions on board, the same way I don’t take all of spell check’s suggestions on board, because it’s not always right (why would I put a comma after Jane when I type ‘Jane said’?), but it can be helpful.

Readbility

If you enable readabilty statistics when you do a spell check, at the end it will spit out a bunch of helpful statistics about your piece of writing. The part of this I find most helpful is the section headed ‘readability’. In my program it gives me three statistics: Percentage of passive sentences; Flesch reading ease; and Flesch-Kincaid Grade level. The percentage of passive sentences compares how many passive sentences you have in comparison to how many active sentences you have. Basically you want this percentage as low as possible. If you score something like 50% you know you have a big problem, try to aim as low as possible, for example 2%. The Flesch reading ease scores your writing on how easy it is to read – the higher the score, the easier it is to read. Look here for a breakdown on how this works and what the scores mean. Finally, the Flesch-Kincaid Grade level tells you which grade level can easily read your writing. For example, if your grade level is five, then your writing can be read by a fifth-grader. How can this help your writing? If your novel is aimed at eleven-year-olds, then obviously a grade level of nine is going to tell you your writing may be too complex and hard to understand if read by your target readership.

Just remember, in the end you make the final decision and you don’t have to blindly follow spell check or grammar check’s suggestions. Do what you know is right for your writing, but even just considering their suggestions makes you think about your writing more, which in turn makes you a better writer.