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How to Use ProWritingAid's All Repeats Report

The ProWritingAid Team
ProWritingAid: A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.
Published Oct 05, 2020

prowritingaid's repeats check on a desktop

Ever get sick of a character who does the same thing over and over again, like frowning, smiling, grimacing, etc? Your readers will too. Keep your readers immersed in your story by making sure you don't have too many repeated phrases in your manuscript.

ProWritingAid will identify your most frequent phrases so you can check that you are not overdoing the same actions or descriptions.

Contents:
  1. ProWritingAid's All Repeats Report
  2. How to Set Up the All Repeats Report
  3. How to Navigate the Report
  4. All Repeats Report Suggestions
  5. Why Is the All Repeats Report Useful?
  6. Final Thoughts
  7. Start editing like a pro with your free ProWritingAid account

ProWritingAid's All Repeats Report

Eliminating duplicated words and phrases is one of the best ways to improve your writing. We often repeat things without noticing and it's notoriously difficult to spot repetitions yourself. Your brain just doesn't register them. You're better off getting get someone else to read your writing for you and notice any repeated words or phrases, or use a computer program (a machine will never overlook a repetition).

How to Set Up the All Repeats Report

You can tailor the Repeats Report to your own writing in your ProWritingAid App Settings. Find these by going to your account on the ProWritingAid website.

Once there, you'll be able to adjust your Repeats settings:

screenshot of prowritingaid repeats settings

With this tool, you decide what a 'repeat' is. It's inevitable that words will be repeated in a manuscript or document. However, if a word is repeated unintentionally several times in the span of a page, it can set off an echo in your reader's mind. This will distract them from what you are trying to say, instead leaving them to look back to find where they've seen that phrase before.

These settings allow you to set the maximum number of characters between repeated words and phrases. If you set this to 300, then repeated words that are more than 300 characters apart won't be flagged.

If you're looking to see how many times you've repeated a keyword throughout an article and your article is 1500 words, you'll set your maximum characters to around 7000-8000 to make sure that all repeats are flagged.

If you're writing fiction, you might set your maximum to 500 characters to catch repeats within a few paragraphs.

How to Navigate the Report

ProWritingAid's All Repeats Report will highlight all of your repeated phrases and list them for you in a handy toolbar.

screenshot of the repeats report toolbar

Clicking on the arrow highlighted above will show or hide the list of repeated phrases.

These phrases are also highlighted in your document. You can manipulate the highlights using the navigation menu. When you expand a list of repeats, you'll see this menu:

screenshot of repeats text menu

If you click on the Eye symbol, the highlights for that repeats category (e.g. Repeated 2 Word Phrases) will be hidden. Just click the Eye again to make the highlights reappear.

To jump to the first highlighted repeat in a category, click on the down arrow to the right of the menu. This will take you to the first highlight. From there, you can use the arrows to jump between highlights.

This also works for each individual repeated word. Hovering over that word in the list to the left of your screen will bring up a similar menu which you can use to hide and jump between highlights for that individual word.

All Repeats Report Suggestions

For some words, ProWritingAid will suggest a list of contextually relevant synonyms for a repeated word.

a prowritingaid synonym suggestion box

You can use these to add variety to your writing quickly. You can replace a repeated word in your text with a suggestion by clicking on your chosen synonym. To leave a word as is or add your own synonym, hit 'Ignore'.

Why Is the All Repeats Report Useful?

Let's look at some ways you can use the All Repeats Report to make a difference to your writing.

For Bloggers and Content Writers

When you're creating online content, you'll often need to think about SEO terms, buzz words for a topic and keeping your readers as engaged as possible.

The goal may not always be reducing repeats for content writers. If you are writing a blog, then this report is useful for seeing how often you have repeated your keywords in an article.

Underusing your keywords will mean that your article fails to rank among other content on your topic. However, beware using your keyword too many times in an article. A good rule of thumb is around five mentions of your specific, content focussed keyword on a page. If you stuff your article with keywords, search engines won't let it rank.

If the All Repeats Report tells you that you've used your keyword or phrase 38 times, you might need to do a little more research on your topic to find another relevant keyword to use instead. While the All Repeats Report can't find these for you, it will highlight where you might need to rethink your terms.

For Students

It's a great feeling when you finally manage to get into the flow of writing your essay. Part of gaining that flow is getting your ideas down while they're at the top of your mind, and this can lead to you leaning on certain phrases to get your points across. But using the same words or phrases repeatedly will distract your instructor and make them question your writing style.

Phrases like 'this shows that', 'this suggests that' and 'on the other hand' can sneak into your essay without you realising. When you're proofreading, you might not even realise how much you've used them because you're focussing on the ideas themselves.

suggestion in ProWritingAid's repeats report

Use ProWritingAid to highlight these empty phrases to make sure you're making the most of your word count.

For Writers

When you're reading a novel, a character's habit of smirking after they say something can be one of their quirks... or one of their most annoying traits. Noticing those repeats will pull your reader out of your story. Replace repeated words with synonyms, or rework your sentences to present the same idea in a different way.

Final Thoughts

Getting to know your repeated words and phrases can help you work out where you can make your writing stronger. The All Repeats Report is an extra pair of eyes that will pick out repeated words when you've stopped noticing them.


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The ProWritingAid Team
ProWritingAid: A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.

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