How to use... The Consistency Check

by ProWritingAid May 17, 2016, 0 Comments

How to Use The Consistency Check

The Consistency Check checks your writing for consistency of spelling, hyphenation, capitalisation, and more.

Spelling inconsistencies

Maybe you are in England and you want to put a “u” into colour, labour, and neighbourhood. That’s cool with us. Or maybe you are in America and you want to organize and analyze rather than organise and analyse like they do in the UK. No problem. What’s not OK, however, is if you are trying “to organise some neighborhood labour by analyzing the house colours”. You need to decide if you are going to use US or UK spelling and then stick with it.

There are over 1,700 spelling differences between UK English and US English, with Canadian English sitting somewhere precariously between the two. The Consistency Check finds and highlights it when you have jumped from one continent to another within the same document.

Hyphenation inconsistencies

Inconsistent use of hyphenation can make a document appear less professional. If you use 'long-term' in one place but then use 'long term' later, it reflects badly on your writing.

Of course, it is not always a mistake to use a hyphen in one place but not in another. For instance 'long-term plan' and 'in the long term' would be correct. However these tend to be the exceptions rather than the rule.

Inconsistent use of hyphens is a very frequent error, over 60% of randomly sampled documents have some form of hyphenation inconsistency.

Capitalisation inconsistencies

Some people like to argue about whether words like 'Yoga' should be capitalised or not. We don't really care what you choose to capitalise, as long as you are consistent about it. If you capitalise 'Yoga' in your first sentence, make sure you do the same throughout the document or your writing will look amateur.

Again, there are cases where this is valid, such as March and march, as a noun meaning the month or a verb done by the army, so use your judgement when assessing potential errors.

Punctuation inconsistencies

The Consistency Check will also present you with a checklist of punctuation that is commonly used inconsistently and the number of times you have used each in your document. It will look like this:

The Consistency Check punctuation inconsistencies

If you have used 6 curly quotes and 3 straight quotes, or 5 en-dashes and 4 em-dashes, then you might want go back to your text and make it more consistent.

Use the Consistency Check to make sure that you are consistent throughout your document.

Note: currently the consistency check is only available in our online editor. It will be rolled out to the desktop app asap.


This and other great tips for using ProWritingAid are included in our ebook: 20 Editing Tips From Professional Writers. Download it for free now!

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