ProWritingAid Help 2018-02-08 00:00

How to Improve Your Style with ProWritingAid's Writing Style Report

ProWritingAid Style Report

Do you know all the ways to edit your work for better readability and a clearer writing style? ProWritingAid's Style Report checks for a multitude of improvements you can make to strengthen and clarify your writing. Let’s look deeper at this most popular and comprehensive report.

  1. Hidden verbs
  2. Passive verbs
  3. Adverbs
  4. Readability enhancements
  5. Repeated sentences
  6. Speed up your self-editing

Hidden verbs

Did you know verbs can hide in your prose? You can sail along with words flowing from your brain straight to your fingers and completely miss a nominalization or two.

Nominalization, the process of turning verbs into nouns, uses weak verbs to bolster your sentence. Here’s a great example:

  • She made the decision to conduct a review that would provide an explanation for the accusations brought up in the discussion.

How many hidden verbs can you spot? If the Writing Style check had a buzzer, it would knock you off your chair for this sentence.

Revising the sentence to include strong verbs and eliminate nominalization gives us this:

  • She reviewed the discussion points to find out why the accusers were upset.

Now, how many hidden verbs could you find in a 100,000-word manuscript on your own?

You don’t have to! ProWritingAid does it for you.

Passive verbs

It seems like everyone knows about passive verbs nowadays, but writers still let them squeak through into their text.

Sometimes they’re right, like when talking about "laws being passed." But more often than not, a passive verb can be replaced with a stronger verb by rewriting the sentence (see the passive verbs in this sentence?).

See what I did there? That last sentence should say: Rewrite your sentences to replace passive verbs with stronger ones. This rewrite is much more active and engaging for readers.

The Writing Style check will find passive verbs in your manuscript easier and quicker than you can with your trusty red pen. The great thing about using ProWritingAid to find passive verbs is you decide what to change and what to leave.

This sentence from the ProWritingAid sample text is the perfect example:

  • The jungle is strangely subdued.

We don’t know who or what is subduing the jungle, so this sentence works with passive voice - hit "ignore" when ProWritingAid flags this instance of passive voice. In contrast:

  • The water was boiled by Monasi as breakfast was prepared.

We know Monasi boiled the water, but who prepared the breakfast? Change that around and clarify it:

  • Monasi boiled the water and began to prepare breakfast.

That’s clearer.


Do you subscribe to the belief that adverbs should be eliminated, à la Stephen King? Or are you of the opinion that a few here and there are perfectly fine?

Whichever side of the argument you fall on, the Writing Style report helps you locate adverbs. Then you decide if you have too many, not enough, or just the right amount.

The Writing Style check also finds when you’ve used adverbs in dialogue tags, which may mean you’re telling rather than showing. Consider how writing, "I refuse to even consider it," she said angrily limits you to those telling words. Instead, describe her angry actions in conjunction with words to show your readers her frame of mind:

  • She yanked her arm out of his grasp. As the color rose high in her cheeks, she said, "I refuse to even consider it."

Readability enhancements

ProWritingAid’s experts have added thousands of style suggestions to its powerful algorithm to save you valuable time and effort during revisions. Overusing words like "very" and "really", or awkward phrasing, makes your readers stumble through your words wondering what you’re trying to say.

When you’re drafting your manuscript, you don’t edit as you go, so clunky phrases leak into your prose. The Writing Style check will find phrases like:

  • She was going to write a letter to her landlord in protest.
  • Mark didn’t have any money, so he had to borrow from friends.

Rewritten, these sentences are shorter and more concise, reading better as:

  • She would write a letter to her landlord in protest.
  • Mark had no money, so he borrowed from friends.

Repeated sentences

Finally, starting too many sentences in a row with "she" when you’re drafting a scene with your heroine happens. Make revisions easier on yourself by letting the Writing Style check find these gaffes for you.

Or when you’re writing an educational blog post to show someone how to do something, you might start several sentences with an "-ing" word. For example:

  • Relying on old advice from Ernest Hemingway can help or hinder your writing. Drafting while tipsy might open your creative side. Revising your manuscript, however, is best done sober.

These insidious little writing style quirks are hard to find, drawing out your editing into a long, painful process. ProWritingAid finds repeated sentence starts even if they’re separated in paragraphs.

Speed up your self-editing

Whether you’re cranking out a 100,000+ word manuscript or a 1,200 word blog post, speed up your self-editing time with the right tool.

Each report in ProWritingAid helps you quickly and easily find technical and stylistic improvements in your writing. Shave hours off your editing process by using the reports in ProWritingAid to zero in on areas that need revision.

The Writing Style Report combines several checks together to help you create clear, concise, and engaging content that grabs readers’ attention.

Let us know in the comments below what your favorite ProWritingAid report is and which ones you won’t edit without.

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