Writing Magazine


Igrew up in the 1970s and 80s, when grammar was not the primary focus of English language lessons. It’s meant I’ve spent the past thirty years catching up, and I’m still learning today.

For years, Microsoft Word has littered our screens with red and blue wavy lines, highlighting potential errors in our text. But recently, a new army of online tools has emerged that can not only check spelling and basic grammar but also offer more structural editing suggestions.

They can recommend stronger verbs, highlight passive sentences, identify word repetitions, analyse sentence length and point out complicated, hard-to-read sentences. So, are these tools a writer’s panacea, vital for our writing business? Or is there a risk they could standardise our prose and strip away our writing voice?

Free and premium

The two most popular services are Grammarly and ProWritingAid, both offering a free version with limitations, or a paid-for premium version. The free versions can be great for assessing how useful these services are.

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