No matter what you decide to study or what your future career plans include, college requires a lot of writing. From the application process to graduation, you’ll be writing many essays and papers. Beyond college, most job applications require cover letters, so learning how to hone your writing abilities will serve as an incredibly useful lifelong skill. Beyond making good grades in your English classes, there are a few ways you can easily improve your writing. Technology has made writing easier than ever, and there are several tools you can utilize to help you get the best results. Take a look at the differences between three of the most popular editing programs:
Word is most likely the writing application you are accustomed to using. It’s a useful program because most schools, offices and home computers already have this program, and it’s simple to use and easy to understand. Word is also the program that made spellcheck part of users’ everyday vocabulary. Word is equipped with basic spelling and grammar technology, and alerts users when they have made an error. Word is somewhat customizable and allows you to add words it doesn’t recognize to your personal dictionary. If you add your professor’s name for its dictionary, for example, Word will overlook the spelling in every paper you write, even if the name is spelled differently.
Word is a great choice if you already feel confident about your writing skills. Although it can correct your writing, its correction tools are basic and focus on general errors, rather than improving the writing. Word will help you spell words correctly, form proper sentences, avoid fragments, and avoid repeating words accidentally. It can help you stick to the basics of English grammar, but it can’t help you find a better, more concise, or more poignant way to word your text.
Beyond spelling and grammar, Word is also useful for catching minor typos that can decrease the overall quality of your work such as double spaces, incorrect capitalization, and missing commas and periods. Overall, Word is a great tool to use as a final proofreader or as a digital second set of eyes. However, it should not be used as a tool to help you alter content, flow or vocabulary, which other programs have the capability to do.
Grammarly is one of the most popular writing tools available today. It has a wide range of capabilities that can be used to not only correct your writing, but also improve it. Grammarly can make recommendations regarding word choice, sentence structure and flow. Grammarly works to catch more nuanced writing issues that would usually be missed by more basic programs like Word. It can enhance your vocabulary by finding synonyms, making your writing flow more naturally, and cutting down on unnecessary or repetitive elements in your text.
This program is also useful for students because it includes a plagiarism checker. Since plagiarism can mean expulsion at most colleges, checking that your work doesn’t include any accidental plagiarism is a huge benefit of using the software.
In terms of logistics, Grammarly has a wide range of easy ways you can make the technology work for you. It can be downloaded on both Mac and PC and can also be added as an extension to web browsers. There is also a mobile version available for when you need to write something on-the-go.
Grammarly is available in both a free and paid version. Though the paid version includes a few more perks, the free version is extremely useful and offers plenty of helpful tools for college students. Even the free version of Grammarly can be used across multiple platforms, such as email, meaning all of your communication can be written correctly as well.
Another important feature of Grammarly is that it truly is a learning tool. Rather than just alerting you to the fact that something needs correcting, it also provides an accurate explanation of why. Using and learning from Grammarly can make you a better writer over time.
Though not as well known as Grammarly or Word, Hemingway is another useful tool for improving your writing. Hemingway is not necessarily a replacement for either of the two programs above, as it focuses on making your writing ‘bold and clear’. If you’ve ever read anything by Ernest Hemmingway, you’ll understand the name of this program!
Hemingway takes a more in-depth look into the actual structure of your sentences, so it’s more useful for changing the overall flow and construction of your work than it is for catching typos or grammatical and spelling errors.
Hemingway carefully scans your writing and makes you aware of sentences that are hard to read. It then offers suggestions on how to correct them. The downside of this program is that it doesn’t allow for much flexibility in terms of style or tone variation, meaning this tool is less useful for creative writing.
Like Grammarly, Hemingway comes in both a free and paid version. Though the paid version offers more flexibility in terms of the programs it’s compatible with, the free version is still very useful for when you want to make improvements to the structure and flow of your work. Paying attention to the recommendations of this program is another way to improve your writing over time. All in all, Hemingway is a great learning tool, as well as a useful editing software.
Whichever program you choose, it’s still a good idea to double-check your own work, rather than rely on your software for your entire writing. Computer programs can make mistakes or sometimes make your text sound robotic. Word, Grammarly and Hemingway can make your life easier, your writing stronger and your college career (and beyond) more successful.