3 November 2015
It may be hard to imagine, but there was a time when a student simply typed a paper, handed it in, and hoped for the best. Today, you have a wealth of online writing tools at your fingertips. You can get assistance in everything from getting started to doing final checks. Even if you aren’t a natural-born writer, you’ll be able to turn in flawless work every time. Just check out these tools, and see what they can do for you.
Hemingway is a general writing app that lets you import a Word doc or paste in text. From there, you can, count words, assess readability, check grammar and spelling, format text, and add HTML and Markdown tags to create Web-friendly content. Color-coding makes Hemingway attractive, simple, and fun to use. This app is so affordable that it’s almost silly not to have it, whether you’re a student or a professional.
You haven’t lived until you’ve been let down by Word’s built-in spelling and grammar check features. Grammarly is an old standby among writing-enhancement platforms. With Grammarly, you can find grammatical mistakes, correct spelling, check your work for plagiarism, and get word-replacement suggestions. Use this app to supplement Word, and you’ll never have to turn in another paper littered with embarrassing mistakes.
I Write Like (iwl.me)
This tool is more of an entertaining nature. Just paste a passage from your essay or blog, or even a comment from social media, and the tool will analyze your writing style and word choice and compare them with those of well-known writers. For more accurate results try to paste large amounts of text.
Writing a paper is one thing; adding your citations is another. Many students find the former task to be far easier than the latter. Luckily, you don’t have to read that massive style guide cover-to-cover in order to add your footnotes or endnotes correctly. BibMe is set up to generate your citations automatically in the appropriate format, whether you need to follow APA, Chicago, MLA, or another style. You’ll still need your style guide for other reasons, but BibMe makes those pesky notes a lot less painless, and you can get them done far more quickly.
Cliché Finder (cliche.theinfo.org)
If you’re relatively young and not an avid reader, you may not know a lot of clichés in the first place. But if you’ve spent a lot of time listening to your grandparents—or to politicians—you may have subconsciously picked up such banal phrases and made them part of your own verbal repertoire. Once you’ve gotten into the habit of spouting out clichés, it’s hard to recognize your own misdoings. Never fear; simply paste your work into Cliché Finder and click the magic button. All of your trite adages will be highlighted, so you can pluck them out and find fresher ways to say what you mean.
As we mentioned, some of the apps above assess the reading level of your writing in addition to performing a number of other helpful tasks for you. However, if you generally feel confident about writing on your own, you may prefer the simpler Readability–Score.com. Just paste in your text, and the program assigns an average reading level, based on several different formulas. It’s a quick and easy way to make sure your college paper sounds like it was written by a college student.
If you have trouble getting your thoughts together before you write, turn to MindMup. This mind-mapping tool is a great way to put all of your ideas in one place. From there, you can figure out how to proceed with your paper. MindMup is an especially helpful organizing method for people who don’t do well with the traditional linear outlining method.Don’t put off that paper until the last minute. And whatever you do, don’t resort to paying somebody to write it for you. It’s a huge offense that brings you no benefit, because you learn nothing and risk everything. Use all the free and low-cost resources available to you, and you’ll be churning out top-notch papers in no time.
Useful samples and examples: