Whether you’re an experienced blogger or an 8th grader writing your history term paper, you can always improve your writing skills. While some of us may have done better than others in English and grammar courses, there’s nothing wrong with having a refresher on writing fundamentals.
Fortunately, the Internet is loaded with apps that can help you improve your writing, find the right word, or let you know when you’re slipping into passive voice. Check out a few quick picks for free apps that can help you
Ever feel like sometimes you ramble and your blog goes off on tangents? Do you pal around with the passive tense too much? Or do you need to attend a support group for egregious adverb usage? Not to worry! The Hemingway App can help you refine your writing and make it more easily digestible for readers.
To use Hemingway, simply hit the “Write” button in the app, then type or copy-and-paste your text into the desktop app. Click the “Edit” button” and it will show you which sentences are hard to read, if you’re using passive voice, or going crazy with the adverbs. It also shows you the Grade Level readability. Want to be sure your blog can be read by a person with a 6th grade reading level or if it’s collegiate level-material, Hemingway can hep you to that, dude!
You’re writing. You’re clicking along on your keyboard. The words are pouring out of you like tears of regret after an all you can eat buffet. You pause and take a step back. And there it is. The dreaded cliche.
Maybe it takes the form of cringe-worthy business speak in a pitch — like the overused “think outside the box” or the borderline Creepy McCreeperson “open the kimono.” Or perhaps your creative writing feels a little less creative when you drop in phrases like “dark as night” or “light as a feather.”
Cliche Finder can help you locate phrases that are overused by other writers in your prose. Copy and paste your block of text into the Cliche Finder, click the “Find Cliches” button, the app will highlight the cliches in bold text. It won’t help you come up with something new — that’s where your own creativity comes in — but it can show you where your words can use some work.
I am a big advocate for the Thesaurus feature in Microsoft Word. You know when you’re using the same word over and over and need to switch it up. Sometimes, you may be scrambling for the right word, but it escapes you. But if you don’t happen to have Word — and even if you do– sometimes you need a trusty word bank to lean on.
Enter Power Thesaurus — a souped up version of MS Word’s “thesaurus” feature. All you need to do is type in a word and it pulls up a selection of other words to choose from. Even better, other Power Thesaurus users can vote synonyms “up” or “down.”
If you’ve got a hankering to expand your vocabulary, the app shows you popular words that have been searched alongside recently searched words. Have at it, Tiger!
If you struggle with grammar — or may be predisposed to adding a stray apostrophe to “its” when it denotes possession, Grammarly can help you. This nifty little browser add-in works with Chrome to evaluate your word-crafting skills and give you pointers on how you can improve your grammar game.
Grammarly offers both a free and paid version, but both are relatively simple to use. Just download the browser add-on.
Sometimes you wake up feeling your inner Dr. Seuss or Humpty-Hump calling and the muse moves you to write lyrics or poetry. While “cat” and “hat” may gel together and “humpty” may be “pronounced with an ‘umpty,’” other words may be harder to couple. (Yeah. You try rhyming “artist” with anything other than “fartist” on your own and see what you come up with.)
Write Rhymes helps you find the right bit of verse to plug into your poem or jingle when the you’ve got nothing. Just copy and paste your text into the app, click on the word that you’re trying to rhyme and hit your “Alt” key, and Write Rhymes will come up with several suitable matches for you to use.
These are just a few free writing resources that can help you become a better writer. Take them and use them to and blast through blogger blocks, grammatical grievances, and linguistic conundrums.
Do you have any favorite writing resources you use? Let us know in the comments below!