How to use... The Diction Report

by ProWritingAid May 23, 2016, 0 Comments

How to Use The Diction Report

The Diction Report helps you avoid unnecessarily complicated writing by analyzing your word selection and sentence construction.

Simplified word/phrase selection

When it comes to writing, less is more. Make every word count. If it's not essential, cut it. Too often when writers are trying to sound authoritative, they choose the wordy ways of saying something simple. Why write “has the ability to” when you can write “can”? You’re just using more words to say the same thing, which actually makes your writing much less clear.

Some other examples include:

  • at this point in time ➡ now

  • due to the fact that ➡ because

  • in order to ➡ to

  • in the event that ➡ if

  • prior to the start of ➡ before

  • has been found to be ➡ is

  • a sufficient amount of ➡ enough

  • at such time as ➡ when

  • for the reason that ➡ because

  • in close proximity to ➡ near

  • it is our opinion that ➡ we think

  • serves the function of being ➡ is

  • in the near future ➡ soon

Look through your writing for a simpler way of saying the same thing.

Well-constructed sentences

For the most part, sentences that follow some basic rules of construction are easier to understand.

One example of this kind of rule is that you should not end your sentence with a proposition (e.g. with, in, on, by, to):

  • I know I would learn a great deal from those I'd be working with.

It's awkward. The same sentiment is expressed much more clearly as:

  • I know I would learn a great deal working with such an experienced team.

Similarly:

  • That is a problem that I hadn't thought of.

You could rearrange it to that it says:

  • That is a problem of which I had not thought.

But even though this version is grammatically correct and follows the rule, it sounds overly formal and unnatural. Better to re-word it with your subject at the front of the sentence:

  • I had not thought of that problem.

There are hundreds of rules like this built into the ProWritingAid algorithm. Like most rules, each of these will have exceptions so use your judgement when choosing to accept or reject ProWritingAid's suggestion.

Using many rules like this one, the Diction Report will highlight those sentences that are constructed in an awkward way so that you can reword them and make them easier to understand.


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