Articles by ProWritingAid

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Hyphen, En Dash & Em Dash: Do You Know the Difference?

by ProWritingAid Sep 28, 2016

Hyphen, En Dash & Em Dash: Do You Know the Difference?

Are you aware of these three little lines and how they’re used in punctuation?

-Hyphen

⎻En Dash

—Em Dash

Let’s talk a little more about each.

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Future Perfect? Past Continuous? What are All the Verb Tenses?

by ProWritingAid Sep 14, 2016

Future Perfect? Past Continuous? What are All the Verb Tenses?

Much like the specters Scrooge faced in A Christmas Carol, writers face 3 different verb tenses when constructing sentences: Past, Present, and Future.

Just like the Ghost of Christmas Past, a past tense verb refers to something that has already happened. The most commonly used verb tense is present, which talks about what’s going on right at this very moment. And the final, future tense tells us what might or will happen in the future. But that's not where it ends. There are three additional ways to talk about past, present, and future tense verbs: Continuous, Perfect, and Perfect Continuous. Sometimes referred to as aspects rather than tenses, these tell us about an action that happens once or repeatedly and if it’s completed or still continuing

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What's the Difference Between Narrative and Exposition?

by ProWritingAid Sep 14, 2016

What's the Difference Between Narrative and Exposition?

Sometimes, narrative and exposition are used synonymously to explain parts of a novel that “narrate” information for the reader. They are, in fact, different devices used to give the reader information. Used appropriately, narrative and exposition affect the pacing of your story.

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What are Word Classes?

by ProWritingAid Aug 31, 2016

What are Word Classes?

Word classes are parts of speech. They’re the building blocks that form every sentence ever uttered. They are categorized by the role they play in your sentences.

Everyone agrees on the following four main word classes: 1. Noun 2. Verb 3. Adjective 4. Adverb

There are varying opinions as to whether the following five categories are word classes or word forms. So we went straight to the experts: the Oxford and Cambridge Dictionaries. Per these two highly learned sources, the following are considered word classes also:

  1. Pronoun (e.g. I, you, me, we, mine, someone, he, she)
  2. Preposition (e.g. at, in, on, across, behind, for)

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What’s She Thinking? How to Use Inner Dialogue…

by ProWritingAid Aug 26, 2016

What’s She Thinking? How to Use Inner Dialogue…

Inner dialogue. Internal thought. Interior monologue. Internal speech. Whatever you call it, this internal thought process is as important as regular dialogue, character arc, and narrative arc in helping your reader understand your main character at an intimate level. It also serves to move your story forward and keep your readers deeply connected.

Unlike the one- or two-dimensional characters you see in movies and on television, when using inner dialogue in your narrative, it helps you present a much more nuanced and three-dimensional character. And since most stories are character driven, you really need to add that inner dialogue in.

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Are Your Adjectives Powerful?

by ProWritingAid Aug 02, 2016

Are Your Adjectives Powerful?

An adjective is a word that names an attribute of a noun. Some are strong and paint clear, specific pictures of the thing they are describing. Some are weak and vague and don’t tell us much. Let’s start with an example...

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Infographic: What are Homophones, Homographs, and Homonyms?

by ProWritingAid Jul 27, 2016

Infographic: What are Homophones, Homographs, and Homonyms?

Check out this great infographic to understand the difference between a homophone, a homograph and a homonym.

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When Do I Need to Hyphenate?

by ProWritingAid Jul 06, 2016

When Do I Need to Hyphenate?

Depending on who you subscribe to, you may hear some very different ideas concerning when and how to hyphenate. We’re here to set the record straight:

When in doubt, look it up.

Yep. This is the one form of punctuation that you’re best off looking up if you’re unsure. And another complication is that various style manuals conform to different rules. Add to that the state of fluctuation around certain words that can either be hyphenated, two separate words, or written together as one. Click through for some practical examples.

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How to Write Dialogue in a Narrative Paragraph

by ProWritingAid Jun 23, 2016

How to Write Dialogue in a Narrative Paragraph

The Chicago Manual of Style, putting dialogue in the middle of paragraphs depends on the context. As in the above example, if the dialogue is a natural continuation of the sentences that come before, it can be included in your paragraph. The major caveat is if someone new speaks after that, you start a new paragraph and indent it.

On the other hand, if the dialogue you’re writing departs from the sentences that come before it, you should start a new paragraph and indent the dialogue.

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Getting Started with ProWritingAid's MS Word Add-in

by ProWritingAid Jun 22, 2016

Getting Started with ProWritingAid's MS Word Add-in

If you haven’t used a Word add-in before, it’s very simple. You just need to download a small bit of software, which will then be automatically added to your menu in Word.

Click here and then click the “Download ProWritingAid add-in” button. A small file called ProWritingAidSetup.exe will begin to download. When it’s finished downloading, click it and a window will open asking you to agree to the license terms and conditions. Once you click the “agree” box, you will be able to begin installing.

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How to Create Striking Similes

by ProWritingAid Jun 20, 2016

How to Create Striking Similes

Similes can be found in all types of writing, from journalism to fiction to advertising. They’re creative ways to bring more attention and clarity to your meaning than straight narrative.

If you want to give your reader a thoughtful mental image while they’re reading, a simile is a great place to start. When you compare your main character to an animal or even an inanimate object like a giant sequoia, you’re exposing your reader to another way of looking at something that’s fresh and new.

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What is a Subordinate Clause

by ProWritingAid Jun 20, 2016

What is a Subordinate Clause

Firstly, a clause is a group of words that contain both a subject and a verb like: She ran to answer the phone.

A subordinate clause depends on a main clause to form a complete sentence or thought like: ...because she could hear ringing in the other room

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What are the 25 ProWritingAid Reports?

by ProWritingAid Jun 14, 2016

What are the 25 ProWritingAid Reports?

ProWritingAid analyzes your writing and presents its findings in 25 different reports. Each user will have their own writing strengths and weaknesses and so different reports will appeal to different people.

Remember, all the software can do is highlight potential pitfalls in your writing. It's up to you, the writer, to decide which suggestions work within your specific context, and which ones should be ignored.

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Where Does Punctuation Go in Dialogue?

by ProWritingAid Jun 08, 2016

Where Does Punctuation Go in Dialogue?

Dialogue is a fantastic way to bring your readers into the midst of the action. They can picture the main character talking to someone in their mind’s eye, and it gives them a glimpse into how your character interacts with others.

That said, dialogue is hard to punctuate, especially since there are different rules for different punctuation marks—because nothing in English grammar is ever easy, right? We’re going to try to make this as easy as possible.

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Echoes Report

by ProWritingAid Jun 07, 2016

Duplicating or repeating a word or phrase too quickly is an easy mistake to make. If you've just used a word then it will be active in your mind and so you can easily use it again without even realising. This is a key sign of an inexperienced writer, or not enough time spent on the editing phase! Although it can be an easy mistake to make it can be really difficult to spot.

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Find All Repeated Phrases in a Document

by ProWritingAid Jun 07, 2016

Ever get sick of a character who does the same thing over and over again, like frowning, smiling, grimacing, etc?   You can solve the problem by making sure you don't have too many repeated phrases in your manuscript.

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How Do You Find and Get Rid of Redundant Adverbs?

by ProWritingAid May 25, 2016

How Do You Find and Get Rid of Redundant Adverbs?

An adverb is redundant if you use it to modify a verb with the same meaning in its definition. Read more about how redundant adverbs clutter up your writing and how to get rid of them.

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How to Create Fantastic Metaphors

by ProWritingAid May 25, 2016

How to Create Fantastic Metaphors

Aristotle said a metaphor was “the act of giving a thing a name that belongs to something else.” It allows you to pack a powerful punch in a few words. Your reader can take their full understanding of one thing, and apply it to another thing. By writing, “my cubicle is a prison,” your reader understands how you feel about your job. With just that one word that they know you feel trapped, unhappy, desolate.

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How to use... The Diction Report

by ProWritingAid May 23, 2016

How to use... The Diction Report

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

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.

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How to use... The Vague & Abstract Words Check

by ProWritingAid May 19, 2016

How to use... The Vague & Abstract Words Check

There are two types of words that muddy the waters for clarity and concise writing: vague and abstract words. Replacing them with strong specific words can make a huge difference to your document.

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