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Editing Software – tests and results

Following on from yesterday’s blog, I ran the 326-word excerpt of A Christmas Carol through SmartEditor, Grammarly, Hemingway and ProWritingAid. The results are below. It makes interesting reading.

No software takes the place of the human eye. It is a tool. A writer takes from the software what she needs, and chooses the edit suggestions to accept or decline.

SmartEditor picked up

1 adverb

Grammarly highlighted

1 semi-colon and suggested replacing it with a comma
3 missing commas


3 of 20 sentences are hard to read
3 of 20 sentences are very hard to read
4 phrases have simpler alternatives
7 adverbs. Aim for one or fewer
2 uses of the passive voice. Aim for four or fewer.

ProWritingAid summary sheet

  1. A high “glue index” suggests you’re using lots of filler words. Try reducing these. Look at the sticky sentences section below for more specific guidance.

Document Statistics (The key statistics about your document)

339 Word Count
46 Sentences
32 Paragraphs
1,436 characters with no spaces
1,883 characters with spaces


183 Unique words
168 Word families

Most Unusual Words

  1. Marley
  2. scrooge
  3. Scrooge
  4. mourner
  5. deadest

Most Used Words

the 17
was 10
his 10
to 9
of 9
and 7
dead 6
that 6
‘s 6
a 6
Your vocabulary was more dynamic (unique words/total) than 53% of ProWritingAid users. (I bet this would thrill Dickens).

Overused Words (Words and phrases that are overused compared to published books)

Tip! We compare your document to published writing in the same genre to show overused words and constructs. Identifying and reducing these will improve your writing. Note: Often this requires more than substituting a different word.
3 Overused Words
knew/know 3 Reduce by 2
-ly adverb 8 Reduce by 1
was/were 12 Reduce by 5
14 Not Overused
it/there 9 Not overused
that 6 Not overused
could 1 Not overused
generic descriptions (watch/notice/observe/very) 1 Not overused
initial -ing 1 Not overused

Sentence Structure

Tip! Varying your sentence length keeps the reader engaged. Too many long sentences are hard to read.
6.6 Sentence Variety  Target > 3
7.4 Sentence Length Target between 11 and 18
0 Long Sentences
Your sentence variety was higher than 36% of ProWritingAid users
Your sentence length was higher than 14% of ProWritingAid users

Writing Style

Tip! Highlights common style issues such as passive voice, hidden verbs and adverb usage.
Passive Index Target < 25
0 Hidden Verbs Target 0
8 Adverbs 8 outside Dialogue

Most Used Adverbs
I am confused here – above lists 8 adverbs, below lists 5.

particularly 1
emphatically 1
dreadfully 1
distinctly 1
perfectly 1
0 Repeated Sentence Starts Target 0
6 Style Suggestions

Top Style Suggestions

chose to (omit) 1
that (omit) 1
own (omit) 1
Of course heHe 1
very (omit) 1
Your readability was better (suggestions/sentences) than 78% of ProWritingAid users

Grammar & Spelling

4 Grammar Issues

Top Grammar Suggestions

funeral,funeral 1
thanThen 1
0 Spelling Issues

Sticky Sentences (Sticky Sentences contain too many common words. They slow your reader down.)

Tip! Sticky sentences are ones containing a high percentage of glue words. Glue words are the 200 or so most common words in English (excluding the personal pronouns). You can think of the glue words as the empty space in your writing. The more of them there are the more empty space you readers have to pass through to get to the actual meaning. By cutting down the amount of glue words in your sentences you help expose the true meaning and make the reader’s job easier.
8 Sticky Sentences Target 0
52.5% Glue Index Target < 40%

Pacing (Shows areas of slower pacing by looking at verb tenses.)

Tip! Dark areas in the chart indicate areas of slow pacing (backstory in creative writing). Where you have large chunks of slower pacing, try to add some faster pacing to keep the reader more engaged.
0.0% Slow Pacing

Transitions (Looks at words and phrases that link your writing together)

Tip! Transitions are useful when you’re trying to structure an argument. They link your sentences together forming a flowing and cohesive structure.
10.9% Transitions Target > 25%

Top Transitions

to begin with 1
therefore 1
to repeat 1
Of course 1
otherwise 1

Repeated Phrases

Top 5-word phrases

dead as a door-nail 2

Top 4-word phrases

There is no doubt 2

Top 3-word phrases

a door-nail 3
that Marley was 2
Marley was as 2

Top 2-word phrases

his sole 5
was dead 3
I don’t 2

Top 1-word phrases

dead 6
sole 6
Scrooge 5
nail 4
Marley 4

Cliches & Redundancies (Cliches can make your writing sound tired)

0 Cliches and 0 Redundancies

Consistency (Checks for consistent spelling, hyphenation and capitalization.)

0 Inconsistent Spelling Target 0
0 Inconsistent Hyphenation Target 0
0 Inconsistent Capitalization Target 0

Usage Consistency

Curls/Smart Double Quotes 0
Straight Double Quotes 0
Curly/Smart Single Quotes 0
Straight Single Quotes 9
Ellipsis characters 0
Three dots 0
Hyphens 9
En-dash 0
Em-dash 0

Other Items


for 2 Avoid using prepositions such as “for” as the last word in a sentence
to 2 Avoid using prepositions such as “to” as the last word in a sentence
as 1 Avoid using prepositions such as “as” as the last word in a sentence
from 1 Avoid using prepositions such as “from” as the last word in a sentence
in 1 Avoid using prepositions such as “in” as the last word in a sentence

Vague & Abstract Words

about 2 Vague
would 2 Vague
anything 1 Vague

Corporate Wording

permit 1 Try to use a simpler wording. Examples: let; allow



Published inCultural LifeWriting

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