3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Spelling, Grammar, and Writing Style Online
Want to send a quick thank you note to a recent client? Need to email your boss or colleagues about something serious? Staring at a blank page and blinking cursor because you’re too anxious about spelling something wrong, phrasing something funny, or simply stuttering your way through your message?
If you’re looking to improve your communication skills, making an effort to edit your own writing is a great first step. But, how do you know where to start if writing isn’t your forte?
Great news: you have many options. From artificial intelligence to good ol’ human intelligence, your writing can improve with consistent effort, and well, maybe a little help.
1. App-Specific Tools
The easiest place to start is with the software and applications you’re currently using. For example, if you compose documents in Word or Google Docs, run their spelling and grammar tools when you’ve completed your draft to try and find any misspelled words or oddly-formed phrases. These tools aren’t created to find every single mistake, but they’re a great place to start as you work on your writing skills.
For example, these spell checks won’t recognize the wrong choice of words if the ones you use are spelled correctly. Be on the lookout for words with multiple spellings, like “there,” “their,” and “they’re”, and make sure you’re using the correct one.
2. Online Tools and Add-Ons
There are many “smart” online tools that will go a step further than the app-specific tools mentioned above. While you’d have your choice of options, Grammarly and Hemingway are two of the most popular tools, and for good reasons.
Grammarly is an online tool that can run as a web page or as an extension or add on to other platforms, such as your email or your web browser. It offers both free and paid options with a dashboard to access previously checked documents.
For the free users, spelling, grammar, and stylistic choices are addressed throughout the copy. Upgrading to the paid version may be helpful, as it points out plagiarism and helps to cite sources while also offering vocabulary enhancements.
Hemingway is similar, though instead of simply correcting errors, it may help end users become better overall writers. This tool will suggest sentences that need help, either from being too wordy or having structure issues. It also points out overused adverbs or passive verbs that dull your writing. Over time, Hemingway users may find themselves writing less clunky sentences.
3. Human Help
Of course, there’s no better way to ensure your spelling, grammar, punctuation, and professional tone is well-conveyed other than a manual review by a real living person. Consider calling in a colleague to give your written document a close read. If you’re working on something especially important, you may even want to consider hiring a professional editor to review your document.
Wondering why you can’t simply manage this all on your own? Well, you can be your own editor, but you might miss the errors if you were the one creating it. If you’re reading for yourself, make sure you say each word aloud. You’d be surprised how your brain can trick you to not recognize a misspelled word, especially if it’s spelled similarly to the word you truly meant. Also, by reading aloud, you’ll notice if any words are missing, which may go undetected by some of the aforementioned spelling tools.
Making an effort to improve your spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and style will do wonders for you professionally. You’ll feel more confident every time you sit down to send an email or draft a document, and your peers and clients will notice your efforts as well.