BlogThe Writing ProcessThe Best Way to Find Inconsistencies in Your Writing

The Best Way to Find Inconsistencies in Your Writing

Krystal N. Craiker
Author and Freelance Writer
Published Feb 18, 2020

ProWritingAid

Imagine this:

You're reading a novel. You've gotten into the swing of the plot, you're feeling invested in the main characters. And then the author mentions the name of the city the action is in again.

And that name is spelled entirely differently than it was the first time you saw it.

Suddenly, you're taken out of the story. Did you make a mistake the first time? No, it seems you didn't. The author made the mistake – and keeps making it throughout the story.

Consistency errors like that one will make your writing look unprofessional and seem confusing. Checking your writing for consistency is an important part of the editing process. And while that may seem obvious, creating consistency is more difficult than it seems.

Our editing software, ProWritingAid, will check your writing for consistency of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, and more.

consistency

Contents:
  1. ProWritingAid Helps Find Spelling Inconsistencies
  2. ProWritingAid Helps Find Hyphenation Inconsistencies
  3. ProWritingAid Helps Find Capitalization Inconsistencies
  4. Running The Consistency Report
  5. Improve Your Writing with ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid Helps Find Spelling Inconsistencies

There are over 1,700 spelling differences between UK English and US English, with Canadian English and Australian English sitting somewhere precariously between the two.

It is easy to mix spelling from the UK and the US. Our spelling consistency software automatically finds and highlights where you have used inconsistent spelling. That way, you won't be saying "capitalization" in one place and "capitalisation" in another.

When you run the consistency report, the first item in the list is spelling. This will pick up on how many words use the UK and US English spelling. Do you spell "grey" and "gray" differently throughout your writing? Are you adding the letter U to words like "neighbor" when you're supposed to be using American English? This report is crucial to catching those errors.

ProWritingAid Helps Find Hyphenation Inconsistencies

Inconsistent use of hyphenation can make a document appear less professional. If you use "long-term" in one place, then later use "long term", your writing will look unprofessional.

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, it can be hard to tell when and where to use the proper terminology.

Our free hyphenation consistency checking software will highlight possible consistencies in your writing so that you can easily check for errors. Inconsistent use of hyphens is a very frequent error, over 60% of randomly sampled documents have some form of hyphenation inconsistency.

The report will show you all the instances where words appear both hyphenated and unhyphenated. Sometimes these aren't grammar mistakes but are a personal choice. You can go through each occurrence and decide which form to use while making sure your writing stays consistent. The consistency report also checks for appearances of the en dash and em dash, which are often confused with hyphens.

ProWritingAid Helps Find Capitalization Inconsistencies

Some people like to argue about whether words like "Yoga" or "Viking" should be capitalized or not, but what's sure is that capitalization inconsistency reflects badly on your professionalism as a writer.

Like with hyphens, capitalization is often a personal choice. Fiction writers especially may choose to capitalize words that are normally lowercase. By running a consistency report, you can make sure that everything that needs to be capitalized is throughout your writing.

Our capitalization consistency software helps you to find and eliminate those annoying inconsistencies, which will polish your work and make it read more professionally.

ProWritingAid Helps Find Other Inconsistencies

It's not just spelling, hyphens, and capitalization! The consistency report checks a few other features, as well. The consistency report will check your quotation mark usage. Sometimes, our writing accidentally mixes straight quotation marks with curly quotation marks. When you run the consistency report, you can see exactly how many times you use each type. It even checks single and double quotes separately.

The consistency report checks ellipses, too. An ellipsis should only contain three dots. If you accidentally use more or less than that, the report will point it out.

Finally, the consistency report checks the use of serial commas. When you are listing things, they are separated by a comma. Some people use the Oxford comma, which puts a comma before "and" (i.e. bacon, egg, and cheese.) Other people prefer to write without that last comma (i.e. bacon, egg and cheese.) Both are technically correct, but you should be consistent through your writing. Avoid switching back and forth with the consistency report.

Running The Consistency Report

Where can you find the consistency report? When you open the editing tool, there are several reports along the top toolbar. On the far right are three dots with more reports. There you can find twelve additional reports. That's where the consistency report is located. Simply click the report, and it will automatically run. When it's finished, a sidebar will pop up on the left with the results.

Improve Your Writing with ProWritingAid

Inconsistencies can plague your writing but are often difficult to locate. Using an editing software like ProWritingAid will automatically catch these simple errors and correct them so that you don't have to waste time or energy remembering if you wrote "licence" or "license" throughout your piece.

Have you tried ProWritingAid's software integrations yet? What are you waiting for?

Take your writing to the next level:

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Krystal N. Craiker
Author and Freelance Writer

Krystal N. Craiker is an author and freelance writer. She is the author of the Scholars of Elandria fantasy series. When she isn't writing, you can find her playing board games and volunteering. Krystal lives in Texas with her husband and two adorable dogs. Visit her website or follow her on Instagram.

Re: consistency report. Double and single curly quotes are flagged, with no indication on the manuscript. On examination, all of my quoted material looks to be in order. Am I missing something?
By kslateiner on 23 January 2014, 08:21 PM
I have the same question. I note it hasn't been answered. I don't know what "single curly quotes are in reference to straight quotes. ?
By soniaeasley on 03 March 2017, 11:35 PM
No understanding why Consistency Report is having an issue with curly quotes. My story has to have them when people speak. Can someone please explain why?
By baprsDenise on 26 September 2014, 04:46 AM
This is my favourite of your reports. :-) It's amazing what a maze it can be, as a Canadian writer.
By krista.cairn on 18 July 2015, 01:18 PM
What exactly is a "Curly/Smart Single Quote" or a "Curly/Smart Double Quote"? Just curious!
By pkdrummond on 16 February 2017, 09:45 PM
If you’re still curious one year later :) They’re sometimes called “typographical quotes” because historically, they are used in printing, while ‘straight quotes’ (like you used in your question) were introduced only with typewriters and are still common on webpages. In the font used on this page, smart quotes are just slanted and slightly wedgey, but in many other fonts, they are really curly, looking like small 6s and 9s.
By gevangasteren on 11 April 2018, 12:19 PM
how di o quickly find initial ing words?
By oliverpup10 on 31 March 2017, 05:05 PM
This report doesn't distinguish between words at the start of sentences and words within them. For example, in the text I just checked, it flagged Purple/purple as inconsistent, even though the capitalized one started a sentence. That's not very useful.
By LondonC on 13 January 2019, 07:28 PM
Flagging US v UK spellings is helpful, but it would be more helpful if when you go to the inconsistent spellings, you're offered the other spelling. If I've spelled something with a UK spelling, it's usually because I don't know the US spelling. It would also be nice if there was a search and replace for things like US/UK spelling and straight/curly quotes, or the option to correct all the issues at once, since these are often not context-dependent.
By LondonC on 13 January 2019, 08:07 PM
Hey there, thanks for the suggestion!
By kylemassa on 14 January 2019, 08:04 PM
I do not know what some words like curly words mean. Can you help me?
By willstra97841 on 20 March 2019, 11:39 PM
This is the best program I have ever purchased! The attention to detail is spectacular. The suggestions are fantastic. Oh my God! The reports are better than an editor and ten times as cheap. I can't say enough great things about this program. Thanks for this, but do something about the confusing parenthesis comments. COmbine a spell check with a thesaurus!
By Ambrosehills on 03 August 2019, 07:07 PM

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