Digital Writing Aids | CORPORATE ETHOS

Digital Writing Aids

By: | December 4, 2017
digital writing

As we use written communication now more than ever before, to convey the ideas effectively we need good writing skills. In this digital age technology is your friend and here also you can seek her help. There are several tools available to help you compose your thoughts into a written form more effectively and with minimum mistakes. A few such apps are discussed here.

Digital Dictionary
While in the process of writing, at times, you may find it difficult to spot a word that appropriately expresses your thought. Or you may wish to use a different word instead of using an oft-repeated word. One solution is to try out one of the online thesaurus/dictionary apps out there (like Oxford dictionary- https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/english-thesaurus, Thesarus.com-http://www.thesaurus.com). Note: if you are using the online editor Google Docs, you don’t need to do this- just right-click on the word and access the ‘Define’ option from the Window that pops up.
You may not always be online and in this case, the ideal solution would be to have a digital dictionary that can be accessed offline, directly from the writing device (laptop/desktop/mobile etc). One such tool worth a try is the free software WordWeb (https://wordweb.info/free/). Once installed, the program will lie dormant in the background. To obtain the meaning/synonym of a word, simply Ctrl+Right click on it and look at the window that pops up.

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If you often have the trouble of finding the right word to describe something, then the application ‘Twin Word Writer’ (https://www.twinword.com/writer/) might be for you. You can compose the complete text via its editor window. The app has got an engine that detects when you pause your writing and then suggests alternate words to the word that you just wrote.
Grammarly- A grammar checker
When you write something, however skilled you are, you are prone to make spelling and grammatical errors. Even if you read your writing yourself a couple of times, it is likely that you still fail to spot all the errors. One solution is to have the text proofread by another person before submitting it to the publisher.
If you cannot afford to have the assistance of a proofreader who can correct the grammatical/spelling errors, a tool like Grammarly (https://app.grammarly.com/ ) could come in handy. When you run your text through Grammarly, it will spot the spelling and grammar mistakes in your text.
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You can access the Grammarly service and start doing your writing right inside the app’s own interface. In this fashion, you can use it as a replacement for your word processor. The advantage here is that you can keep all your documents on the Grammarly’s server as well as use it for correcting errors in your document.
To help you invoke the application easily, Grammarly offers a browser extension (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/grammarly-for-chrome/kbfnbcaeplbcioakkpcpgfkobkghlhen ). When you install the extension you will find its icon in the browser’s toolbar. The advantage of the extension is that it automatically comes into play whenever you start writing something on a browser window (it could be an email compose window, an FB/blog post page or Twitter input box).
The extension makes the app run constantly in the background and as your writing progresses, it quickly catches the errors and suggests corrections on the fly. When you click on the top of a mistake pointed out by the app, it lets you correct the error immediately, and when you correct the mistake (or accept its suggestion shown in green colour) the error prompt will disappear. Of course, Grammarly is by no means perfect and one should not blindly follow its suggestions. But the suggestions give you an opportunity to think of your text critically and make some changes if required.

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As mentioned earlier, you will find Grammarly very helpful when you create email responses. It scans all your text entry in your browser and displays a count of the number of errors detected in a small red circle. When you click on the red circle the app will immediately launch its own editor and load the text into it. On the right-hand side, you will see all of the different corrections that you may have. On the left-hand side, you will find the different tools for correcting the text.

Simplify your text with Rewordify
Readwordify (https://rewordify.com/index.php) is a word comprehension app that allows you to paste any text and get it converted to a more simplified version. Once you paste all the information, select the ‘Rewordify text’ button and instantly you will see a levelled or simplified version of the text. You will find that in the simplified version most of the hard words are replaced with easier ones; this means you can understand the text without the help of a dictionary. Every word in yellow is a word that has been changed and if hover over a highlighted word (or tap it with your finger if you are using a tablet or phone) you can see the original word along with a question mark- this question mark indicates that you can click on it in case you wish to learn more about the word.

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If you are not happy with the default output of Redwordify you can change its settings and obtain the modified text in a variety of ways. In the ‘settings’ you will find different display modes. For instance, if you select the option ‘Don’t reword words’, the hard (highlighted) words will stay the same, but when you click on a highlighted word you will get its definition. Another option is to display hard words and easier words inline (as shown above) – this is a great way to see the original word right next to the modified word.