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|Free Online Editor|
We have provided a free online editor. Please read the following information carefully before using the tool.
Make sure you exercise your own careful judgement when using the tool. The tool does not provide definitive results. Take particular care when using the tool on legal documents. (Some words and phrases have important legal meanings. Before changing legal words, phrases, clauses, or documents, you should get professional legal advice; we are NOT lawyers).
How it works
The free online editor looks for 10 traits of "good" writing
The free online editor checks your text against 10 broad traits of clear, persuasive writing. Specifically, we've coded the tool to:
- turn negative words into positive words
- turn nouns into verbs where possible
- prefer short words to long words
- prefer understatement to overstatement
- find alternatives to clichés
- remove or shorten "throat-clearing" phrases (such as "It is important to note")
- prefer specific words to vague words
- use modern language rather than archaic language
- identify and edit tautologies (two or more words that mean the same thing)
- identify and correct "eggcorns" (malapropisms, or commonly misused words and phrases)
The free online editor then processes 15,000 "rules" under each of these categories
Under each of these categories, we have coded more than 15,000 "rules". These rules check for not only simple text matches but also complex patterns. An example of a simple text rule is:
- Find: "However"; Replace with: "But".
An example of a more complex rule is the rule that looks for "nominalizations" (phrases that turn verbs into nouns). The tool finds possible nominalizations by looking for patterns that nominalizations typically use. For example, we have programmed the tool to look for words that end in "-ment", "-tion", and other endings that nominalizations often use; look for weak verbs nearby (eg, "make", "conduct") and prepositions (eg, "of"), and suggest more active verb alternatives based on the structure of the suspect nominalization (eg, "examine" rather than "conduct an examination of").
Right now, the free online editor has several limitations. For example:
- you can convert a maximum of only 5000 characters
- the tool will sometimes suggest edits that make no sense (tell us about these so that we can improve the tool)
- the tool shares the limitations of every piece of grammar checking software
Measures you can take
To get the most out of the free online editor:
- check your spelling. If you have misspelt a word, the free online editor might not find it.
- write a good first draft. The free online editor works best when you have already got a good draft for it to work on. So, try using the tool only when you are confident about what you have written and you know what you are trying to say.
- think about the editor's suggestions. One of the tool's best benefits is the way it makes you think about your writing. When the editor queries a word or phrase, think about why the editor is suggesting alternatives. Think carefully about the different options and their potentially different meanings.
- improve your vocabulary. As Edwin Abbott wrote in How to Write Clearly (1883), "Verbosity is cured not by a small, but by a large vocabulary". Likewise, to get the most from the free online editor, you need a good vocabulary so that you know whether simpler alternatives have the same meaning as the word you want to replace. To improve your vocabulary, use tools like Ultimate Vocabulary.