Online Editing Aids

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Online Editing Aids

Postby kg » 16 Aug 2013, 12:57


I recently came across a couple of sites that seem to be excellent editing aids for writers. While they're far from perfect, and proffered advice shouldn't be taken as gospel, they seem to be very good at their intended functions.

EditMinion is a robotic copy editor to help you refine your writing by finding common mistakes. To get started, paste a chapter of writing into the box below and click Edit!


Pasting a small example from The Chronicles rendered a very nice output, with issues color coded for easy perusal, all totally free.

Pro Writing Aid is your free online writing editor and personal writing coach. Of course it checks your grammar but it does much more to help you improve your writing


PWA seems to be a very nice editing tool, though I have yet to fully explore its capabilities. It requires registering, which I intend to do, and it has a Premium membership (paid, of course) that includes additional benefits and editing capabilities:

The advantages of a premium membership:

  • Highlight and edit text within the text editor (using the premium toolbar). Halve your editing time!
  • Choose from suggestions for grammar and spelling issues.
  • Create your own overused words and powerful text search patterns.
  • Use Pro Writing Aid directly in Microsoft Word (2007+ on Windows).
  • Faster due to higher priority analysis.
  • Extra reports only available to premium members (NLP Predicates, Corporate Wording, Pronouns, etc.)
  • Exclude results in dialogue to reduce false positives.
  • No adverts in your analysis.

The premium edition significantly reduces the amount of time required to edit your work.


The Premium Membership fee isn't too onerous, so I may opt for it at some point in the future. Thought there might be parties here that would be interested in such on-line tools.
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Kellemora » 18 Aug 2013, 10:59

Hi Glenn

If you like Pro Writing Aid, you may like AutoCrit even better.

Here is the link to the FREE version.

https://www.autocrit.com/editing/free-wizard/

Paid versions allow you to paste larger amounts of data (1k, 8k or 100k) at a time.
They have reduced the amount you can do free at one writing, down to 400 words.
Seems like it was way up around 1000 words when I first started using it.
I'm a Pro Member, so can submit 100,000 words at a time and have access to all reports.
Not that I've ever had that much to check at one time.
AutoCrit IS more expensive than PWA for the Pro Version. However, they seem to offer more.
Even the Free Use area, AC is 400 words, PWA is only 200 words.
PWA does not advertise the amount you can feed it at one time.

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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Ice.Maiden » 22 Oct 2013, 18:49

How interesting! Thanks guys! I was just saying to Gary that I'm not bothered what an editor thinks of my work - I'll write it as I want to, BUT - I'm going to try one of those links out and see what happens.
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Kellemora » 23 Oct 2013, 10:25

I don't rely just on Auto-Crit. I run it through other free services first, because they catch other things.
Like Spell-Check, if you use the grammar part, it picks up a few things, and also in the spell-check module, it adds the accents on certain words, like cafe. Which normal spell-checkers don't catch. Not even Grammarly.
I've never been happy with Grammarly. I spend more time looking up WHY they said something should be a certain way, and normally it was wrong.

EG: None of these men were at the show.
Grammarly wants it to read: None of these men was at the show. Because of the word None being singular.
However, we are referring to a plurality of men "these men" meaning this group of men over here.
None of them were at the show.

In the below phrase, Grammarly shows BOTH phrases are correct. Go figure!
All of them were at the show.
All of them was at the show.

Isn't the word ALL plural?
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Ice.Maiden » 23 Oct 2013, 14:01

It is indeed, Gary.

I have to disagree with Grammarly. Over here, we'd write: "None of the men WERE at the show" - because it translates to: "not one of the men WERE at the show". Men, in the plural, could be reduced to "was", because it appertains to each one individually, although they're in a group, we assume. So, I personally think that both could be right. Men, is in the plural, which turns was, into were. LOOL!!!

I'd also write: "All of them were at the show", because you're talking about more than one person, as you say.
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Kellemora » 24 Oct 2013, 10:26

Hi Icey

I didn't pick a very good example. I have Grammarly Light running as I type into web sites like this one. It's Free.
And it is continually finding things it thinks is wrong, and highlighting them, when they are not wrong.
And then things it should be finding with ease, it misses all to often.

I had the bought version of Grammarly before I went with Auto-Crit. They provide different checks.
However, I found the free on-line checkers, some of which do use parts of Grammarly, provide a better initial checking, before running them through the paid for versions. As none of them seem to catch everything.
(Dig this. Grammarly Lite sez: Consider using the word "seems" because of the singular word none.)
Seems could be correct. But I want to use seem. Because using the word appear is considered stilted.

As none of them appear to catch everything.
As none of them appears to catch everything.

If none is singular, why should seem or appear be pluralized. I don't know and have no idea why.
Just telling me to use the plural with a singular makes no sense. I wonder what the RULE is for this?

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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Ice.Maiden » 25 Oct 2013, 09:02

LOL - I'm sure there IS a rule, Gary, but I think that some phrases are ambiguous.

If it was me, I'D put: "As none of them appear to catch everything" - simply because 'none' is an abbreviation of 'not one', but followed by 'them', in the plural. Having said that, both could sound gramatically correct!!! Oh dear - I'd just go with whichever you're most comfortable with!!

If I was to put: As none of them appears (with the added 's'), I wouldn't follow it up with everything, but rather "anything", or "all that's there ...", etc. To me, the added s doesn't sound quite right - but then ... it COULD be!!!

Best of luck!
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Kellemora » 25 Oct 2013, 11:14

An editor I use, when he encounters sentences which raise these questions.
He too, just changes the wording around to a different form.
These so-called grammar checkers, that check for cliches can drive you nuts also.
If you are using different voices for characters dialog. And you want them to say something a certain way.
The checkers flag almost every line of unique dialog.
I try not to make too many things redundant. Like overusing a characters pet phrase too many times.
One detective always repeats himself when excited, "yes, yes, that's what I need" or "yes, yes, send them over."
An old hillbilly might say, "er, yup," when agreeing with someone.
Each character needs a distinctive voice, so the reader knows who's talking without continually using, he said, she said.
"Rather charming don't you think?"
"er, yup, nice little filly."
"Best not let Mum hear you call her that."
"nope, she gets riled up, ya know."
"Did you remember to polish the brass on the carriage? Mum complained a fortnight ago."
"er, yup, she shines like a mules hind leg, moved her to the barn, s'posed to rain."
"The barn? It belongs in the carriage house."
"yup, that's the barn I put her in alright, right where she belongs, all nice an purty now."

Grammar checkers tear this stuff all apart, hi hi...

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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Ice.Maiden » 25 Oct 2013, 14:15

Well obviously you get local dialects or colloquial speech when people're talking, and each person has a different way of interpreting the spelling or pronunciation. Up here, you get people saying "Nowt" - to mean nothing (and the pronunciation varies between counties. To differentiate between the two, some folk write it as "note".

I agree about not putting too many "he said's" and "she said's". A good writer won't usually do that though, but they might use other adjectives, such as: exclaimed, replied, retorted, uttered - and so on. A long list of speech might make the reader forget who's saying what, unless, as you say, you can use colloquial wording, but if two or more people're speaking with the same accent, I'd prefer to see a break in the conversation, such as: Conversation, then: Bill looked round, seemingly oblivious to what George was saying. Finally, he seemed to gather his thoughts.
"I think you're right, Bill. Let me sleep on it."

Apart from glaring mistakes, I think editors go too far sometimes. At the end of the day, it's a personal choice. What one editor finds all wrong, another could accept. I don't want anyone messing around with my stories. When it comes to writing them, my spelling's rarely wrong, but a re-read'll bring any to the surface, and I can always check out questionable ones.

I know that my punctuation and paragraphs are OK. I just seem to do it correctly from the word go when writing anything formal or of importance, and only one magazine contribution was altered slightly, so over all, I've been pleased about that. :cool2:
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby kg » 25 Oct 2013, 16:18


And I've noticed there are times that novels or series have many grammatical errors and become popular in spite of it. A case in point is the novels and series by M. R. Mathias. His grammar and use of punctuation is atrocious, and yet his series are popular in several countries, the U.K. included.

Of course, his poor editing is mitigated by his compelling storylines. I've read most of his works and, though the mistakes glare through to me, I continued reading them. Good stories!
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Ice.Maiden » 25 Oct 2013, 21:52

Precisely my point Glenn.

Obvious spelling mistakes annoy me on the occasion I've noted one or two slip through the net, as does very poor punctuation, but you're right. If the story's good enough, it can carry the weight of a few faux pas. It's just irritating to anyone with a semblance of grammatical understanding, and that's where editors can come in useful, but even they might disagree on the exact wording and lay-out, depending on how they've been taught. Languages evolve all the time. What was correct years ago, is often now out-dated.

Funnily enough, I was reading something about grammar only recently. I forget now exactly what it was, but it was a suggestion to do away with some punctuation rule. I know I thought it'd be a shame, but it was an idea put forward by someone high up in the literary world. It might've been forfeiting the use of semi colons - in fact, I think it was - but they were created for a purpose, to break up sentences or clauses. The latter caused me no end of trouble at school. It took me 2-3 years to understand them!
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby kg » 26 Oct 2013, 00:21


Ice.Maiden wrote:Precisely my point Glenn.

Obvious spelling mistakes annoy me on the occasion I've noted one or two slip through the net, as does very poor punctuation, but you're right. If the story's good enough, it can carry the weight of a few faux pas.


Operative words, "a few." If you've ever read any of Mathias's works, you'd know that there are well over, "a few!"

Ice.Maiden wrote:Funnily enough, I was reading something about grammar only recently. I forget now exactly what it was, but it was a suggestion to do away with some punctuation rule. I know I thought it'd be a shame, but it was an idea put forward by someone high up in the literary world. It might've been forfeiting the use of semi colons - in fact, I think it was - but they were created for a purpose, to break up sentences or clauses. The latter caused me no end of trouble at school. It took me 2-3 years to understand them!


I'm still learning some of the uses of semicolons. For instance, I just learned that they can be used in a "list" environment. For instance:

My backpack contained the following: books; notebook paper; various pens and pencils, and candy to raise my energy level.


If the list was longer, one would use more semicolons, up to the end, where a comma and an "and" complete the sentence. I was taken to task by one of the editors on a writer's group I'm a member of. I called him on it on something he posted, and he disabused me of my misperceptions. :shifty:
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Ice.Maiden » 26 Oct 2013, 06:14

That's a difficult one you've given there, and another one which falls into ambiguity. I'd say yes, the semi colons could be used in that instance, rather than a multitude of boring commas, but it somewhat waivers from the general pattern of usage. Semi colons tend to be used in place of a full stop, but as a continuation of the same train of thought, so instead of a long paragraph interspersed with commas or stops, a semi colon allows the writer to continue with information or an after-thought appertaining to what's gone before.

Perhaps some wouldn't like to see semi colons in a list like the one above. Commas're most commonly used in instances like that, but is it so bad? The only bit I'd change if I was writing that'd be: " ... various pens (comma)
pencils (comma) and candy to raise my energy level." Even that's "iffy", since you wouldn't normally have a comma after pencils, but in this case you have to, otherwise it sounds as though both the candy AND the pencils are being used to raise energy levels! : )

Maybe the candy should be written down first!

Writing isn't always as easy as it seems is it?
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Kellemora » 26 Oct 2013, 11:16

One of my short stories I had professionally edited by two different editors.
After the first one finished, I republished as the second edition, then later after the final editor finished, I republished as the third edition.
Sales of the first edition did OK, no complaints.

However, I sent all three versions to three different critique groups for their feedback.
The best reviews came from the first edition.
The third edition was claimed very hard to follow.
I tried this again, with just readers, and asked how they liked the story.
First Edition readers claimed it was great.
Third Edition readers said choppy or stilted.
Second Edition readers only said it was OK.
Those who read the Second or Third Edition, I sent the First Edition, before the pro's got to it, and they all said, Much Better!

So I'm beginning to wonder about paying for pro-editing. Other than for a grammar or punctuation edit.
Once a writer gets their 'voice' the way they like it. Using a pro-editor seems to alter that voice too much.

Just a thought.
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby kg » 26 Oct 2013, 23:16


You know, I have a theory on that. I perceive that it's the old saw, "can't see the forest for the trees."

A professional editor is doing what he or she does for one purpose...to make money. Since time is money, they go through the piece and correct the (technical) errors. When they're finished, the grammar and punctuation is technically correct. Then they go on to the next piece.

My point is, they don't go back through the piece and see how it reads after they've "corrected" it. They don't check what they've done for smoothness or flow of the read...they've done their job. What you end up with is a technically correct novel, article, or whatever it is, that reads like crap.

If my theory is accurate, I would make a terrible editor, or at least a cash-poor one. I would feel compelled to read the work over and over, making sure I'm not screwing it up with my changes (kinda the way I do with my own work).

That's why I find it important to read something returned by an editor. The words and suggestions of a professional editor are not canonical...the author can accept or reject any and all changes if he or she feels it takes away from what they want to say.

And one more consideration: Professional editors -- even the best of them -- can make mistakes! After it's published, it's too late to say, "But I didn't write that!" :???:
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Ice.Maiden » 27 Oct 2013, 08:37

I agree with you.
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Kellemora » 27 Oct 2013, 10:58

Some of the books I've seen out there lately. Makes me wonder if they even used spell-check, hi hi...
I know my grammar is not up to snuff. But I'm finding more often than not, neither are the editors.
And the type of readers coming out of today's skewls, wouldn't know if something is right, wrong or indifferent.
They can barely read, much less find fault with what they are reading.
It's only the grammar police we truly have to worry about! They give horrendous reviews, hi hi...

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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Ice.Maiden » 27 Oct 2013, 13:43

Icey creeps away. : )

You're sure right about some school leavers hardly being able to read and write. It's terrible isn't it, but our teaching system's gone to pot. They're going to alter it AGAIN soon. Why ever things were changed in the first place, beats me. I taught my own children to read, and with one being autistic, it was no mean feat, but we managed it. I'm sure that I could do better than some of the teachers I've come into contact with. It just takes patience, encouragement and making the work interesting. Teachers often don't have the time these days. They have to reach targets and push the children along before they're ready. You can't beat the old "three R's". Once a child grasps the basics, they remember them for life, but if lessons become dull through lack of the teachers' foresight, that's not the kids' fault and they're either going to give up on the subject or get it wrong.
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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Kellemora » 28 Oct 2013, 11:22

Ironic that I helped several kids in later years with math. Because I was always poor at math.
However, this teaching was a little different. Not the skewl type of grind.
Started with my aunt and her little five n dime, before a holiday. Although they could add and subtract and run a cash register OK, they had no concept on how to count back change to a customer.
In fact, most cashiers today have no idea how to either. They just give you back what the register tells them to give back.
But during my era, it was not done that way. You counted out change, starting with the purchase price, and ending with the amount they handed you to cover the bill.
My aunt asked me to teach them the proper way of counting out change. They had to do this after they punched out for the day and grasp it within two sessions, or they would not keep their jobs. So they learned and learned fast, hi hi...

I think the next was either during inventory time, or the double entry inventory tracking system we used. I forget which I taught next. It was probably the double entry system, as you need to know that before counting the inventory.
Doing inventory always was a major headache, especially when vendors change packaging sizes several times throughout the year. And a lot of our inventory was perishable, or in weight amounts, with expiration dates. Crazy.
I don't need to get into the headaches when helpers don't understand how to count each type of item.

I think my biggest contribution to help kids, not only with math, but with skills and good business sense. Came when I volunteered for a few years at Junior Achievement.
I'm proud to say, the groups I oversaw, always turned a profit.

If you are not familiar with Junior Achievement.
A group of children are placed in a group. The group decides what product to make or service to perform.
They form their own small business, and run it like a business.
To get the funds to start their business, they go out and sell Stock in their business. At the time we did it, a stock purchaser was limited to only one dollar. Most folks considered it a donation. Little did they realize, it was an investment in a business. Until we returned after the session, and paid them back their dollar, plus their percentage of the profits.
After acquiring the necessary funds to buy the materials to make their product. They had to learn how to do it most efficiently, and so that it could be sold at a profit, without being overpriced.
Then of course, they had to go out and market those products, until they sold out of all they made.
The money from the stocks was used to buy the materials.
So all the money we took in from sales, was all profit, as no salaries were paid to anyone.
These profits were given back to the people who bought the one dollar stocks.
Not all JA groups made a profit. But whatever money they did take in, was given back to the shareholders.
So a person may have invested one dollar and only got fifty cents back. And many were even surprised at that.
As I said, when most folks buy the stock, they feel it is a donation, and many don't keep their stock certificate.
But we keep a record so they do get paid. Even if they are hard to track back down again.

One of the groups I worked with, wanted to make Fire Extinguishers. You have no idea of the behind-the-scenes work I had to do, for them to be allowed to do that project. The laws governing such things are many and very strict. But after about thirty phone calls, I finally hit on just the right person who could make it happen for us. Legally too! And they volunteered to oversee the operation and get the necessary inspections and permits, and footed the bill for same through their company, as a donation to JA. The kids were happy, and when all was said and done. Each kid was proud to go to their stockholders, to offer them six dollars for their one dollar investment. One of the highest paybacks in JA in decades.
Of course, without the help of the company who provided the necessary permits and inspections, it could not have been pulled off at all. So when our group was presented the plaque, we gave it to our sponsoring company.

More businesses should join forces with JA, it is a most worthwhile cause. It teaches children to be business leaders!

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Re: Online Editing Aids

Postby Ice.Maiden » 30 Oct 2013, 12:35

And very good it sounds, too! : )

Our children'll eventually take over everything that's been built up for them, whether or not they choose their own careers in between, but always in the back of our minds, is the extensive amount of work involved in our working lives. Our youngest's taken an interest in tractors at the moment. He's picking up the mechanics well, and drives the little ones around. He won't have a head for figures like his brother, but even though we have a family of accountants that we're close to, and certain areas are managed on our behalf, they'll both have to know what's what. It saddens me in a way, because there's an expectation of them, but I'm sure that it'll all work out. They've been slowly geared to it all from the time they could walk.

Understanding business can be tough. From seeing our eldest do business studies at school, I think some of it could be of little or no value, but it's the curriculum. What they seem to concentrate on's producing a viable business plan and seeing evidence of their surveys. Although necessary, there are plenty of other areas which I feel they should concentrate on as well. It's all very well going into a factory or shop and watching the procedures, but they need backroom experience, too. They ARE learning how to market their chosen products or services, but then it includes a lot of web design. My son's produced his own website already, but it has nothing to do with the school studies. Many folk'll get someone else to do it for them anyway, while they plough on with the rest of what they need to do. On top of that and more, I think that customer relations are important. You might be able to extol the virtues of your chosen business, but until you can afford to employ folk to sell for you, you need to be a "people person", and be able to deal efficiently with prospective customers, and especially when anything goes wrong!

I wonder at how many of these students'll actually use the knowledge they're being given? A business person has to be a TYPE of person, to succeed, and they really have to have faith in their products and want to build their businesses up. Perhaps I'm not putting this very well, but having been there yourself, I'm sure you know what I mean. Running your own show isn't a case of working for a set few hours a day and then forgetting about it. You have to be astute, work hard and grab opportunities when you can.
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