You’ve heard it before, most likely from a teacher, an editor, or your agent. But Anton Chekhov said it most eloquently: *Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.* It may seem apparent when Chekhov says it, but sometimes it’s hard to put that advice into practice. There are times when your reader needs to be “told” because brevity is called for. On the other hand, no one wants to read your brain dump on every little matter.
There are dozens of places to find free grammar help online. In this article, we take a look at ten of the best.
Grammar and writing rules are important, but following them isn't the ultimate goal. Clear and compelling writing is. And sometimes, you need to ignore the writing rules in order to make your point.
Varied sentence length is an important feature of good writing. To maintain your readers’ interest, use a variety of sentence lengths: some short and punchy, others long and ﬂowing. The late Gary Provost illustrated it best. Click through to see how.
A sticky sentence is one that is full of glue words. Glue words are the empty space that readers need to get through before they can get to your ideas. If your sentences contain more than 45% glue words, they should probably be re-written to increase clarity. Here's how and why.
Writing can be as easy as talking to a friend—especially when you’re not trying to sound like someone you’re not. Use ProWritingAid to catch the technical and stylistic gaffes, then ask a trusted co-worker to read over your work. Another set of eyes will help you find places that need a little extra effort.
When you are writing in creative mode, you often rely on pronouns to keep your narrative moving: “He did this,” “She did that,” “They ran there,” “I found out.” That’s fine. It’s more important to keep your writing momentum up than it is to get every sentence just right. When you go back and edit, however, you should check your pronoun percentage. Ideally it should fall somewhere between 4% and 15%. Any more than this and your writing can feel dull. This is especially so with initial pronouns – those at the start of the sentence. Your initial pronoun percentage should be under 30%.
The Grammar Check is similar to the grammar and spelling checkers that you have probably used in within your word processor. It highlights any word that’s not in our dictionary in case it’s misspelled. It also looks at the construction of the sentence to make sure that the structure, punctuation and tense are correct. But, in addition to these standard grammar checks, our team of copyeditors have been inputting thousands of specific checks that they have come across in their years of editing. Our goal over the next couple of years is to have a simple explanation associated with every grammar issue that the software picks up.
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...
Repeating a word or phrase happens to the best of us, especially if you’re writing an article and using a specific vocabulary for your topic. You won’t even notice you’ve used the same word several times in the span of one paragraph because it’s foremost in your mind. But those repeats can set off an echo in the reader’s mind – that subconscious feeling of “Didn’t he just say that?” It can be irritating to read and, worse, it can detract from what you are trying to say. The more uncommon a word or phrase, the more likely it is to echo, even pages apart.
Zoinks! Humbug! Bada bing! Ruh-roh! Holy Hole in a Doughnut, Batman! An interjection is like a word bomb used to get someone's attention. In this piece, we examine what interjections are and when to use them.
Want to get the info you need for indie publishing success? Join us at the Indie Publishing Boot Camp! This article tells you when it is, what you get, and why it's awesome.
Need business writing tips? The ProWritingAid team has you covered. In this article, we cover, editing, proofreading, common pitfalls, and more. Read the entire article to learn more!
Often, changing just one word in a sentence allows a writer to present a more nuanced or specific idea. The contextual thesaurus allows you to explore a wider vocabulary. Unlike most thesaurus suggestions, our report takes into account the context of the word in the sentence and offers replacement words that fit within that context. The Thesaurus Report helps you expand your vocabulary and enrich your writing.