Sunday, September 3, 2017

4 Writing Tools That I Can't Live Without

Not having studied abroad or earned a master's in English, I still enjoy writing and blogging in the language even though I'm far from being perfect. However, you don't want to wait till you're absolutely excellent because that day will never come. That being said, you also don't want to make too many mistakes when posting openly online. We ARE English teachers after all. Now I want to share four free yet very useful online resources that I've been using for quite a while. 

It checks not only spelling but grammar, including tense, prepositions, punctuation, and so on, which helps ensure a basic quality of your writing. Also, it saves your every single piece of work automatically. To continue with any unfinished article, all you have to do is log in and keep on working on that piece. If you install Grammarly's application on your Chrome browser, it'll proofread everything, including your emails or comments on Facebook. 

Oftentimes we're not sure if a phrase is correct or commonly used by native speakers, and you don't want to go into too much trouble with corpus even though it's a very powerful tool. Netspeak is so quick and easy to use when you want to find one word, many words, similar words or check the order. It provides lots of example sentences and even sources so that you can have a clear picture of how they're used.

3. SkELL

SkELL is a simple tool to easily check whether or how a particular phrase or a word is used by real speakers of English, containing three main features: Examples, Word sketch, and Similar words. It's example sentences are shorter and easier, with the target words or phrases highlighted. Word sketch has a comprehensive collocation database, which allows you to locate specific strings or chunks according to part of speech. Similiar words suggest good synonyms to replace overused words. 

ProWritingAid is an unbelievable tool for all kinds of writers. It provides many kinds of "reports" of your writing, including a very detailed summary, grammar, style, overused, readability, along with so many cool features that I strongly recommend using each of them. Take this post of mine, for example, I scored 63 for Readability and 6.0 for Sentence Variety. 

Good writing skills come from reading comprehension and of course, lots of practice. I have been using those four tools to help me write better and more correctly. On top of that, they provide many good ideas of teaching new words or coaching students to revise their English writing. 

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