Do you have a grammar sin? One you find repeatedly in your writing? I do. I’ll confess. When I began my writing journey more than a year ago, I discovered a horrible truth.
I was a comma whore. I placed commas the way I spoke not according to accepted grammar rules. Even with a graduate degree in hand, I had forgotten, over the years, how to write a well-structured sentence. How humiliating!
Once I realized the error of my ways, courtesy of my writer’s group, I took off to the bookstore. It was time for a refresher course. Strunk & White’s, The Elements of Style, was my first purchase. It is the number one grammar book recommended for writers everywhere. If you don’t have copy, pick one up.
In addition to Strunk & White, I also found a number of software programs available online and easy to download. Bear in mind, while not perfect, they are excellent resources.
The programs won’t do everything for you. They won’t complete your unfinished manuscript, but they will teach you a lot about grammar and editing.
Want to tighten your writing skills? Improve your grammar? Come on, confession is good for the writing soul….
Unburden yourself. Confess your grammar sins, then check out these wonderful editing tools.
Here, you’ll find some of my favorites, acquired along the way in my effort to shed my own grammar sin. I’m a work in progress.
- About: Is an easy online download book editor can manage from 400-100,000 words, depending on the membership you choose.
- What it Does: The program analyzes your writing sample for the following: overused words, sentence variation, cliches & redundancies, repeated words & phrases, pacing, dialog, initial pronouns, readability and homonyms.
- Cost/Membership: ranges from free which is word limited to fee based ($47-117/year).
My favorite of all the programs, I chose to pay the fee and have found that the benefits, for me, outweigh the cost.
Writer’s Diet Test Is your writing flabby or lean?
- About: Designed by Helen Sword, this program evaluates writing samples of 100-1000 words.
- What it Does: each category: verbs, nouns, adjectives/ adverbs, prepositions, and waste words (is, that, this, there) is scored from lean to heart attack zone
- Cost/Membership: A great, free tool!
- About: Is a copy editor that helps refine your writing. A copy and paste Beta program, it is word limited.
- What it Does: Identifies common mistakes, such as adverbs, passive voice, weak words, ‘said’ replacements, ending with prepositions and often-misplaced words.
- Cost/Membership: Free for the using.
EditMinion is another good tool for identifying those pesky adverbs.
- About: An automated proofreader and grammar coach. Windows compatible, it can be downloaded as an office add-in to your WordPerfect and used as an additional grammar tool. Grammarly is not fully compatible for Mac users; although Mac users can utilize the program by copying and pasting.
- What it Does: Checks writing samples for grammar, punctuation, writing style, and even plagiarism.
- Cost/Membership: $39.95 every 3 months.
Last but not least…
- About: A fantastic and fun site on teaching grammar to anyone.
- What it Does: Offers lessons, courses, free PDF books and ongoing emails on grammar from beginning to advanced.
- Cost/Membership: Some books do have a fee, others are free for download. Please refer to the site. Sign up to receive bimonthly grammar quiz emails and challenge yourself. If you have children, keep this site bookmarked!
So, Do you have a hidden grammar sin? Do you want help? Check these software programs out and let me know what you think. Did they help you? Did the quality of your writing improve? Send me a well-written sentence and let me know how you’re doing.