guineapigDo you want to convince people that you are very smart?  One guaranteed way is to disparage yourself is to write something and don’t bother editing it.  If you write ANYTHING, online or not, you need to check your grammar and spelling.   And the Internet has made it REALLY easy to edit anything you’ve written.   After you’ve spent weeks, months, or even years writing a novel, it’s hard to enter “edit” mode where you delete most of your hard work away. Plus, there’s the issue of being too close to your work to actually see what technical problems lurk within its pages. For people with English as the second language, it is especially essential to use some tools to eliminate errors in articles so that your writing can be understood. We’ve tried out some free online editing programs and found them easy enough for even a guinea pig to use…….well, a smart guinea pig.  We recommend the following ones:

Hemingway:   The free version of the Hemingway Editor highlights common problems that can get in the way of clear writing:

  • Complex words or phrases
  • Extra-long sentences
  • Too many adverbs
  • Too many instances of passive voice

It color codes each potential error type, so you can address them one at a time. You can see an explanation of each error type here. Howver, this free version won’t fix your long sentences, how to replace the adverbs or to revise the passive voice problems.

SlickWrite:    Online grammar checker Slick Write is fast and free. It edits your content for the usual suspects: adverbs, passive voice, and awkward phrasing. What’s most impressive about Slick Write is it’s easy to use interface. Although it’s web-based, Slick Write has a slick setup. It’s easy to toggle between the five tabs across the top of the minimalist window, including editing, writing, analytics, thesaurus, and settings.

After the Deadline:   This barebones editor will help you check for spelling errors, misused words, and common writing errors. After the Deadline uses artificial intelligence to recommend smart alternatives. It includes 1,500 misused words and suggests words that fit and flow better with your writing. After the Deadline also hunts down any passive or complex phrasing. It looks for cliches, redundant phrases, and offers teacherly advice. If you’d like to understand why a phrase or word is in error, After the Deadline will offer a brief explanation.It’s bare bones, but available for use on multiple platforms, include Chrome, Firefox, OpenOffice, and WordPress. You can also copy and paste your work for a quick check here.   It appears to be identical to

 PaperRater:  We weren’t as impressed with the free version of PaperRater.  It offers free plagarism checks (which usually aren’t available for free) but its analysis doesn’t seem as robust as the other options.