There’s an app for that
When it comes to modern copywriting, there are many resources to make our lives easier. They extend way beyond word count, spelling and grammar check and the online thesaurus. And rather than just providing ‘cheats’, they can teach us a lot about our writing and make us more aware of our strengths and weaknesses. I’ve found these resources really useful for eradicating bad writing habits:
- ‘Find and Replace’ in Word is an invaluable tool if you know you have a tendency to overuse a certain word (or to check if you do). Use the shortcut Ctrl + H.
- Did you know that Word has its own readability function? Go to Review > Spelling and Grammar and under Options, tick the ‘readability statistics’ box.
- The Hemingway App makes your writing bold and clear. Copy and paste in your text and it highlights it in certain colours to identify long or complex sentences, common errors, adverbs and phrases that use the passive voice.
- Wordcounter is another readability tool. Using the Dale-Chall readability formula, this tool counts your words, characters, sentences, paragraphs, reading level and reading time.
- The Campaign for Plain English has a great selection of free guides on its website, from glossaries to grammar guides. Their A-Z of alternative .words is very useful. It lists hundreds of plain English alternatives to “the pompous words and phrases that litter official writing.”
These resources are not only of use to copywriters; everyone’s writing could benefit from using them.