For day 2 in our “12 days of ZUM” we ask the question: Can an app turn a good writer into a great one?
Many argue that until computers advance to the point where they can fully grasp the nuance and poetry of written expression, reliance on apps can only result in stiff and uninteresting prose.*
Others point out that even the best writers have bad habits, and like a good editor, apps can help break them.
Regardless of where you stand, here are two apps you might want to take for a spin next time you need to give something an extra bit of polish:
This tool goes far beyond the basic spelling and grammar check. Copy in your text and it will highlight long, complex sentences and flag many common errors. It can also help you ferret out pesky problems with passive voice hidden deep within your prose (my bad habit).
Rewordify scans your writing for hard words and phrases and suggests simpler ways to say the same thing. For example, it might suggest you replace “anxiety” with “stress,” or “assuage” with “calm.”
I’m a big fan of simple writing. This tool is helpful, but not perfect. In one case it suggested I replace “sentence” with “series of words that make sense and that have a subject and a verb.”
Do these apps help you write better? I think so. Do they have their limits? Of course. But next time you need to produce something really polished, give them a try. I’m sure they will make a difference.
*This sentence scored as “very hard to read”, and it is. But in this context simplifying would change the meaning.