If you’re like many modern professionals, you might wish you could add “personal writing coach” to your dream arsenal of instructors and helpers at your disposal (some combination of in-house chef, personal trainer, stylist, language tutor, and financial coach, right?). Writing is an integral part of most jobs, and no matter how much writing experience you have, you can always tighten your skills.
Happily, there’s a $5 desktop app that plugs into any tool you use for composing written documents (Microsoft Word, TextEdit, Pages) and taps into the vast pool of data from Google Books and the internet at large to give you language support.
Here’s how it works: Not sure if what you’ve written is correct or makes you sound as smart as you are? Instead of heading over to Google to check on your grammar or word usage, Writefull supplies that built-in, crowd-sourced reference right in your writing environment. After you highlight the text you’re unsure about and call up Writefull using an easy keyboard command, you can do a number of different things.
Choose the eye icon to compare your highlighted content to text from Google Books’ database of five million works (and other writing from across the internet) in order to determine how often that phrase or sentence is generally used. If the number’s high, you’re probably good; if it’s low, it hasn’t been used by many writers before you, so you may want to consider adjusting it.
If you’re having trouble choosing between two phrasings, you can side-by-side compare them to see which one is used most often. Writefull also lets you browse through examples of your selected phrase in context, if you’re not positive what the right preposition is or whether your tenses match up.
If you’re a Thesaurus.com lover (guilty!), you’ll love Writefull’s word search function, which shows you which words are used most often in the context you’ve selected. Leave an asterisk in the space you’d like to fill but can’t think of the word for, and it’ll pull up a list of viable options to browse. Put an asterisk on either side of a particular word if you specifically want to find common synonyms for it.
Check out the video below to see more about how Writefull works!
Best of all, because Writefull works within your word processing software, you can do all of this without interrupting your flow of writing.
Of course, a plug-in like Writefull is no replacement for carefully honing the craft of strong writing. But it’s a handy helper for everyday semantic hang-ups. Now, about that personal chef...
Photo of woman writing courtesy of Shutterstock.
TopicsTools & Skills , Writing , Creative Writing , Apps , Communication , Syndication , Technically Zen by Allison Stadd
Allison Stadd works in marketing & communications and is also a freelance blogger, digital life coach, and social media consultant. She's a fan of good books and good beer with equal enthusiasm, and when she's not slinging tweets, pins, and posts, you'll find her at the nearest concert hall.More from this Author