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Flashy Edit - 3 Online Tools for Editing Your College Essay

Updated on December 18, 2014

I Wrote the Stupid Thing: Now What?

Editing a first essay can cause severe apprehension among even intelligent students. This holds true for many writers, especially when they have little experience in revising their work for formal composition standards. Below are a few free online tools in preparing your work for thorough evaluation and (ever one hopes) high praise.

Word Frequency - Check How Many Times You Used A Word in Your Essay

Need to check just how many times you invoked the infamous adverb "very" in your writing? Want to find out if your use of the Thesaurus was too judicious? Word Frequency allows the user to copy and paste any text into a window to break down the total for each word used in your essay. This tool is an upgrade from word count as it calculates your total words and gives you a "play-by-play" of how many times each word is used in the composition.

PRO TIP: Ignore the smaller sums like "the" and "a" in this software. As Oscar Wilde once wrote (to his editor no less): "I’ll leave you to tidy up the woulds and shoulds, wills and shalls, that's and whichs etc" Instead, use Word Frequency to tabulate how many times a certain favorite verb or phrase emerges in your work. Chances are, this software will force you to "kill your darlings" and replace careworn language with something more specific and germane to your topic.

Automatic Text Summary Generator - Create an Instant Abstract of Your Writing

Sometimes, even veteran writers need perspective. Online Text Summary Generator condenses your essay into several "fun size" sentences. This will give you a chance to assess the scope of your work so that you can make adjustments that will focus your overall trajectory in relationship to your topic.

PRO TIP: Writing isn't math. There are no correct answers to odd numbered problems in the back of your style sheet manual. This also means that good writers typically don't start at the beginning and finish at the end when composing an essay. Online Text Summary is a way to glean a topic or even thesis from the body of your writing. It's also great to use for a summary paragraph when you're "running our of steam" and need to refresh and review your composition.

Hemingway - Embolden and Clarify Your Writing

Did your secondary composition instructor never teach you how to shorten words for accessibility? Did you skip the lesson on making sentences easier on the eyes? Don't feel alone. Hemingway was designed to analyze your essay in order to eliminate troublesome nuisances like passive voice, cumbersome syntax and adverb abuse. Leave spell check to your composition software; Hemingway delivers stylistic suggestions for strengthning the tone of your essay. To use Hemingway, copy and paste any or all of your writing into the site and analyze the highlights to assess your grade level, sentence structure and word use to render your work more arresting for the reader.

PRO TIP: Rather than copy and paste an entire essay into Hemingway, consider revising your work "piecemeal" for more efficient editing. After a few paragraphs, Hemingway will begin teaching you to avoid blind spots in your writing style.

Good Luck! Good Writing!

Know any other online tools for simplifying the writing process? I look forward to your comments and thank you in advance for any kind words. Check out my other Hub Pages for additional suggestions for navigating college assignments by working smart instead of merely working hard.


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