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Should I Use An Online Grammar and Spelling Checker?

Updated on March 28, 2019
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella has written many articles on writing and how to become an online writer, she has been writing online since 2007.


The Advantage of Online Writing Tools

Conscientious online writers and bloggers strive to publish quality articles which are informative and easy to read, with content, grammar and spelling of an exceptional standard. Remember, as an Internet writer you're showcasing your work to the world. Grabbing readers' attention and maintaining it should be your ultimate goal.

Holding audience interest poses many challenges for Internet writers, as readers tend to flick through sites or scan articles at warp speed nine. If your pièce de résistance doesn't hold their attention or proves difficult to read - tough. There's a vast wealth of information on the Internet nowadays, so chances are your articles won't be read in their entirety or shared unless they're top quality. Immediate gratification is commonplace in every area of our lives and online articles are no exception.

Not only should online writers be meticulous with detail, they must also accompany articles with photographs to illustrate their points and break up large blocks of plain text. There's no room for superfluous, flowery words and long, convoluted sentences as readers will become bored or distracted and click on something else. Internet publishing is not like ordinary book publication. Readers can put down a book and come back to it later, but this seldom happens with online articles. Net-based publications need to be succinct and packed with relevant, up-to-date information presented in an excellent format. Paragraphs need to be short and punchy to get your point across.

All writers are familiar with Word and although useful for everyday writing, it won't detect more complex writing issues if you're determined to publish your prose. Even professional writers can do with some help, so here's an introduction to some websites which offer free writing tools. (Grammarly and ProWritingAid have upgrades available at reasonable cost.) They are reliable and trustworthy and have been tried and tested by the author.



With Grammarly, you can choose between English or American-English spellings. It's straightforward to use; you can copy and paste an existing document, or edit as you write. 'Critical' issues are highlighted in red and with the paid option, 'advanced issues' are highlighted in yellow.' You'll be amazed at the speed you can edit lengthy documents. I went through my book of 50,000 words in the space of an evening! It loaded in four separate sections and I was that impressed, it even encouraged me to write more! With my eyesight not as good as in younger days, editing documents often proves more laborious than composition.

Grammarly is great! You can even use it for your comments posted on any internet sites. I would recommend it to anyone who's serious about writing. It's an invaluable resource, whether you're starting a writing career, using it for business purposes or write with publication in mind. Students too, and those studying English as a second language will find it indispensable. You have a choice whether to implement their suggestions or not.

Grammarly saves your articles automatically and you can keep as many different versions of the same document as you wish.Losing work can be a real risk for computer based writers. Having lost four chapters of a novel on an old Amiga computer back in the 1990's when I first started writing, I soon learned my lesson. (thank goodness I still had my original handwritten manuscript!)


Writing is entertainment for both reader and writer; if a reader becomes bored, they're reading the wrong book and if a writer is bored, they're writing the wrong book

— Stella Kaye

Leave Your 'Purple Prose' on the Shelf!



You may already realise that you're inclined to be too liberal with adverbs, cliches and weak words as most people are but it's only when you see these words and phrases on your precious document highlighted in an assortment of vivid colours that you can see where you're going wrong. Editminion points out overuse of the passive voice, possible misspellings, repeated words and shows sentence length. These are points that tend to be overlooked when a writer's stream of consciousness is focused on the content.




This is the most thorough site I've encountered. You can get engrossed with it to the point of exasperation. It points out just about everything wrong with your writing; this site would rip your articles to shreds if they were paper ones! Don't be disheartened. Treat the experience as a positive learning curve. Calm down - you're a writer - don't be as obstinate and inflexible as everyone else! Computer-generated criticism helps you discover where your weaknesses lie and motivates you to improve - and at least no one gets injured in the process. Apps like this encourage you to hone your writing into a more concise and presentable piece, much like the exercises at school when you had to make a precis of a longer document.



Hemmingway Editor

I had fun with this one! Hemmingway trains you to produce more 'readable' articles, Most of my articles showed a 'readability' score of between 8 and 9 which in their estimation was 'good.' For a laugh, I copied and pasted some of Stephen King's latest blockbuster and put it through their checker - it came back with a score of 3 which was much higher than mine. I figured out that King gets his point across in the least meandering fashion and this apparently is what preserves a reader's interest and maintains momentum. Thomas Hardy would therefore not survive in today's writing world with his long, verbose passages.

Hemmingway encourages you to 'murder your darlings' and dispense with your 'purple prose,' but there's always the danger that radical editing leaves you with a series of inane sentences that are too bland and lacking in individual style and human emotion. I dread to think what Hemmingway's assessment would be if I put The Bible and Shakespeare through its checker - and God help Finnegan's Wake! Nowadays, writers are made to dumb down their writing somewhat for it to be understood by the majority. I believe there is an intrinsic wrong in this as why, you might ask, should a writer compensate for the sheer laziness of some readers in not widening their vocabulary and reading ability? Hemmingway recommended I use shorter words and sentences but I happen to like big words and long sentences, so there!

Hemmingway Editor


Human Editors

Read and learn more about language and correct usage by using the above writing tools and you'll benefit and evolve as a competent writer. You can use a combination of several different sites but you'll never get a document that's perfect.' You can keep changing it innumerable times but must reach the point where you've got to let it go and be satisfied with it.

Enlisting a dependable human editor is a worthwhile consideration as writing tools aren't infallible. There are instances when you know the suggested changes are inappropriate or altogether wrong. You can also be your own best editor by setting an article aside for a few days and coming back to it with fresh eyes. Different publishing houses also have their own set of 'in house' rules, so however rigorous your editing campaign, there's always this final hurdle to overcome.

As a writer of twenty years standing (although it's far better to sit), there's often cause to rebel when someone points out I'm doing something wrong. I do appreciate feedback whether it's positive or negative. I view writing as just messing around with words. I'd much rather be a painter or a musician as nobody's going to come along and dictate to you which colours or notes to use. Writers always have editors lurking in the background to cramp their style, whether they're computerised or human.

Three More Writing Tools to Discover

Some Words About Plagiarism

There are free online plagiarism checkers which are useful tools too. As this piece of writing has been typed by me today, I know it's a hundred percent original. The rest of the world don't, so HubPages will check I haven't just copied and pasted it. I don't have a problem with this. Online plagiarism checkers are useful when someone's stolen your content and published it elsewhere on the net. This happened several times and I had to do complete rewrites. The situation arose when two sites closed which I'd used previously - namely Triond and Helium. As I attempted to salvage my articles and repost them on HubPages, I discovered that other sites had usurped some of them in the interim and hadn't given accreditation to me as the true author. As a consequence, the articles couldn't be republished as they were now viewed by HubPages as duplicate content.

Plagiarism checker

More Writing Tips


This is useful for anyone writing for a specific purpose as you can key in whether your piece is a business letter, short story, article/blog etc.It will alert you to the fact that your sentence starts don't have enough variety and scold you if you're using too many 'bad' phrases. As well as grammar issues, it comments on sentence length, vocabulary, passive voice and transitional phrases. You can have some real fun with this! There's also a plagiarism checker and advanced option to get your paper checked by a human editor. It will grade your paper if it's a college piece and all for free so it can't be bad! It's a positive learning experience to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie and will help your writing become the best it can be.


So, Are You Going To Use A Grammar And Spelling Checker?

If you don't already use one, would you start using a grammar and spelling checker after reading this article?

See results


According to Grammarly, there are 32 'advanced issues' in this article - I don't know what these issues are as I haven't paid for the upgrade!

In order to take your writing seriously you have to edit as well as correct grammatical errors.This is often a time-consuming and arduous task although it is necessary if you want to make progress as a writer.

© 2017 Stella Kaye


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