Blog How to Use ProWritingAid Introducing: Inclusive Language Suggestions

Introducing: Inclusive Language Suggestions

Hayley Milliman

Hayley Milliman

Content Lead

Published Nov 02, 2020

Inclusive Language Cover

We're proud to debut a new feature: inclusive language suggestions. In this article, we'll cover what these suggestions are, why they matter, and how to use them to improve your writing.

Contents:
  1. Why Inclusive Language Matters
  2. Inclusive Language Suggestions: What They Are and How to Find Them
  3. Types of Inclusive Language Suggestions
  4. How to Use ProWritingAid's Inclusive Language Suggestions
  5. Inclusive Language: Final Thoughts
  6. Try ProWritingAid's Editor for Yourself

Why Inclusive Language Matters

Inclusive language is language that addresses diversity of all types, like racial diversity, neurodiversity, and gender diversity. Inclusive language promotes equality between different groups of people and conveys respect to all. Effective writing uses inclusive language so that all audiences receive appropriate acknowledgement and regard.

Using inclusive language in your writing means actively choosing terms that acknowledge diversity and don't cause unintended harm. Many common words and phrases have a complicated history or exclusionary undertones. By prioritizing inclusive language, you make sure your audience feels seen and appreciated.

Many of us aren't familiar with the controversial origins of common words or phrases. We might be unintentionally offensive or divisive with our language when we don't mean to be. That's why we've added inclusive language checks to our Style report: so you can feel confident that your writing is respectful of all types of people.

Inclusive Language Suggestions: What They Are and How to Find Them

We have introduced inclusive language suggestions into the Style Report. You can access them by using realtime editing or running the Style Report.

When you're using realtime editing, inclusive language suggestions will show up underlined in yellow, as shown in the screenshot below.

Inclusive language at ProWritingAid

When you hover over the suggestion, you'll see a message that explains the highlight, as well as suggestions for how to improve your work.

If you prefer not to use realtime editing, you can also find inclusive language suggestions by running the Style Report. You'll find the inclusive language suggestions highlighted in your text alongside other suggested edits from the check.

Inclusive language check Style Report

Types of Inclusive Language Suggestions

Currently, our inclusive language suggestions highlight places where you may want to use more gender inclusive language. Examples of these types of suggestions include:

  • Using "server" instead of "waitress"
  • Using "chair" instead of "chairman"
  • Using "flight attendant" instead of "stewardess"

We are working to add more inclusive language suggestions surrouding race, neurodiversity, and other categories.

How to Use ProWritingAid's Inclusive Language Suggestions

As with all of ProWritingAid's suggestions, using inclusive language is a suggestion, not a rule. You know your audience best: if, for instance, you're using a gender-specific term and it makes sense in context, then you can leave that in.

Our suggestions are to give you more information about your writing and to highlight areas where you might be accidentally excluding a group you did not mean to. Ultimately, you have the ability to decide whether or not you implement a suggestion.

If you don't want to include a specific suggestion, you can hit "Ignore" to ignore that rule one time. If you don't ever want to see that specific suggestion again, you can hit "Disable Rule" to turn that rule off entirely. Disabling a rule is permanent across all documents in your account. Please proceed with caution.

Note: hitting "Disable Rule" only disables a specific rule pattern, not inclusive language suggestions entirely. You'll need to disable each individual suggestion as they appear. If you need help with disabling a rule (or if you've disabled a rule and want it turned back on), send us an email at hello@prowritingaid.com and our support team will help you out.

Inclusive Language: Final Thoughts

We are proud to show our support and respect for diverse communities through our editing tool. We hope you find our inclusive language suggestions as useful and illuminating as we do.

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Hayley Milliman

Hayley Milliman

Content Lead

Hayley is the Head of Learning at ProWritingAid. Prior to joining this team, Hayley spent several years as an elementary school teacher and curriculum developer in Memphis, TN. When Hayley isn't hunched over her keyboard, you can find her figure skating at the ice rink or hiking with her dog.

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This rule has checked me on using the term aviator sunglasses, which is a particular type of sunglasses and there is not another way to describe them. I also wanted to write about a male nurse, and the checker disliked that option. Isn't having a male nurse by definition more inclusive?
Thanks for reaching out about this! The software does its best to highlight potential issues based on structure and common word use, but, at the end of the day, it is software. Occasionally it will get things wrong. If there is a clear mistake, then we can do our best to fix it, but if it's simply based on misunderstood context, then it's best to just hit ignore and move on. I'll alert our team abou these issues. Thanks for bringing them up! :)
I would like for PWA to be able to disable a rule for just a given document. Use of passive verbs is generally not a good idea, but when writing a journal or memoir passive verbs are quite common and appropriate. I have 3000 suggestions in a journal/memoir type document (>70,000 words). I am sure many of them are for passive verbs and I'm not looking forward to ignoring several hundred items. Thanks for your help.
Although this is not currently an option, it is a great idea! If you visit upvoty you could make this suggestion straight to the team! :)

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