5 free tools to improve your writing

Here are five free online tools you should be using right now to make your writing better.

1. Hemingway editor

This is the favourite writing tool of all my clients.

Copy and paste a piece of your writing into this app and it’ll identify over complex sentences, passive writing and unnecessary adjectives. Result? Writing that’s as lean and muscular as Hemingway’s famously punchy style.

2. Drivel Defence

The Drivel Defence tool was created by the plain English campaign - the UK organisation that’s been fighting the war on jargon since 1979.

Sentence length is the main target with this tool - which tells you instantly what your average sentence length is. As well as how many words in each individual sentence - tip aim for an average of 15 and a maximum of 24.

Bonus tip: click the possible alternative words box to weed out poncy, pretentious corpspeak

3. Writer’s Diet

I love this tool, which will assess the flabbiness of your writing and diagnose it from fit and trim to heart attack territory. The key thing to look out for with this one is how nouny your writing is. Too many nouns can drag your writing down and make it lifeless - so that’s the figure to look at bringing down.

4. Up-goer Five Editor

This is a fun one.

The Up-goer Five editor challenges you to describe a complex topic using only the top 1,000 most commonly used words in English - which is harder than it sounds.

The results can be silly, funny and charming. But what’s great about it is it forces you find creative ways to communicate complex material.  

5. Grammarly

As someone who regularly breaks the traditional rules of grammar for effect, I find Grammarly overcorrects me. So if you’re a confident English writer who likes to play with the language, this one’s not for you. 

But my international students at Cambridge love Grammarly because it helps them catch some - although not all - common errors like tricky pronouns and a lack of subject verb agreement. So if English is your first language, think about adding this one to your tool kit. 

If you'd like an in-depth look at how to improve your writing, here's a discount to my online writing course with over 6 hours of writing lessons.