Web Tools for Superior Writing

Guest post by Tasia Brown

With the long list of helpful and easy-to-use online writing tools available today, there is virtually no excuse for shoddy writing habits. Whether you are writing for personal or professional reasons, take the time to familiarize yourself with the many sites that can help you with word selection, check spelling and grammar, and remind you of those grade school writing rules you may have forgotten.

Bookmark any of the following sites—from the most basic to the more involved—and you’ll have instant access to writing assistance in those areas in which your skills may be lacking.

www.dictionary.com

Make sure you are using words appropriately and check questionable spellings quickly and easily. Simply type in the word and all the information once found in the familiar ten-pound desk reference appears in seconds.

www.thesaurus.com

Using the same word repeatedly throughout your piece is one of the red flags of a poor writer. Expand your vocabulary by finding the right word. Used just like it’s sister site mentioned above, this online thesaurus will have you using new words the correct way in no time flat.

www.lousywriter.com

This site aims to make users better writers, plain and simple. Boost your skills by reviewing literally hundreds of articles and how-to pieces covering everything from basic grammar to common writing mistakes to very specific writing styles. Download free e-books on the subject and view video tutorials as well. This site is a must-bookmark for any writer at any skill level who wants to improve his or her skills.

www.grammar.quickanddirtyricks.com

This site is a lighthearted but super-informative guide to becoming a better writer. The site features regular entries about common writing problems like using “lay” versus “lie,” correct apostrophe use, capitalization questions, ending sentences with a preposition and much more.

www.dailygrammar.com

This site offers a fun, convenient way to learn grammar for users of any age. It is used as a teaching tool for school age children, students learning English as a second language, or anyone who wants to improve their grammar skills. Here you can choose from 440 lessons and 88 quizzes that cover the basics like the eight parts of speech, capitalization, punctuation, to sentence structure and more. This site can be a helpful resource whether you’re starting from scratch or just want to brush up on grammar.

www.AutoCrit.com

This one’s for the more advanced writer. Sometimes a second set of eyes can see problems with your writing that you may overlook when you have read and re-read your own work. Since most of us don’t have access to a staff editor, there is a great site called autocrit.com. Branded as an “editing wizard” and named one of Writer’s Digest’s Top 101 Sites for Writers, this site is especially helpful for those writing manuscripts, lengthy proposals and the like. No downloads are required on the easy-to-use site—simply copy and paste your text into the Wizard and await your complete report. The Wizard catches problems like overused words, poor sentence structure, slow pacing, redundancies and more. Subscriptions range from free to $117 per year, based mainly on the length of the documents you need edited.

Tasia Brown teaches English and accent reduction at a local university. She is also a huge fan of linguistics and a power user of Grammarly grammar checker; the most reliable grammar and editing tool on the web.

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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1 Comment on "Web Tools for Superior Writing"

  1. I haven’t used the paid version of AutoCrit yet, but after I saw it recommended elsewhere I tried the free version (which limits the number of words and only gives the first few reports) on some short stories, and it was really helpful. Based on that experience I plan to try the paid version when I have a book draft ready.

    I have a quick trick I use for dictionary and thesaurus lookups. I use Google’s Chromium browser (which I highly recommend – the fastest and most secure browser available). If you type a word into the address bar it runs a search on it with the default search engine. I have mine set to DuckDuckGo (http://duckduckgo.com/ ; try it, I doubt you’ll go back to Google), which gives a list of the different meanings of the word it knows. If it’s a word in the dictionary, it always lists several online dictionaries and thesauri on the first page. So I just hit -T for a new tab, type the word, hit enter, and there’s everything I need to know about that word.

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