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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.