Thursday, January 14, 2016

Writer's Tip: Mix Up Your Sentence Lengths


Use short sentences interspersed with long sentences.  Keep it interesting, but still easy to read.  Challenge people with your message, not with jumbled language misuse.

Use long sentences wherever necessary, of course.  Use short sentences relatively often, but not to the point that your writing sounds choppy.

Simplify.  Break down your message into simple truths, encapsulated by simple sentences.  Even if the sentence is long, it should still be easy to read.

Any sentence that looks like a paragraph by itself is almost certainly too long. On the other hand, a paragraph full of short sentences will sound monotonous.

When you utilize a variety of sentence lengths and structures, you will inject an engaging sense of rhythm into your writing.

So, mix it up!

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Use Document Grader to proofread the language usage and improve the overall readability of your written work.  You will be amazed at the variety and depth of feedback you will receive from this valuable author's tool.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Why is Writing Well So Difficult?

thinking head

Writing well requires an unnatural amount of self-criticism.  This is what sets apart truly effective writers -- they invest significant effort into not taking their perspective for granted.  If you want to communicate effectively, you have to carefully examine what you know versus what your audience know sand then figure out how to convey your new, important message based on that context.

A couple who has been happily married for 20 years might be able to read each other's minds, but this is most likely not the relationship you have with your readers.  We'd like to take for granted that others know what we know, or that our audience has a very similar background as ourselves, but this is almost never the case, especially if we're trying to convey new, groundbreaking information or ideas.

A similar principle applies for speaking with someone you've met for the first time.  If you want to have a conversation with them, then you must establish some common ground.  You have to get to know them and let them know you.

So also in writing, you must establish context.  Except you are forced to depend on your written words to establish context and make sure that your audience has enough background information about what you are writing about.  Unlike an active, verbal exchange, you cannot field follow up questions (at least, not right away), so you must take extra care think through your message as it will sound to your audience.

There must be a limitation to how much context you must establish, of course.  If you're writing for a video game blog, then you don't have to explain what a video game console is, or what a hand held controller is.  But if you are trying to introduce a new development in the video game world, then you would need to set your audience up to understand why this new information you are presenting is important.  How does this new development compare to previous developments in the video game world?  Why is this relevant for the typical reader on that video game blog?

Another aspect of self-criticism is eliminating clutter.  Many authors will include extraneous language in their blog posts or informative articles just to fill in what seems to be the ideal blog post or article length.  If you are coming up with a clean 500-1000 word message, then consider doing some additional research on the topic, then come back to finish your essay or article later.

You might ask, "Where can I get feedback on my writing, so I can improve my writing skills?"  Getting a skilled proofreader to challenge you and give you honest feedback is crucial.  This is why I created the website Document Grader (www.docgrader.com).

Document Grader is designed to make you think more critically about your writing habits.  Try it out for free today.  Also, let me know what you think -- all feedback is appreciated!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Essay Proofreading Video Tutorial Part 2

Continuing to proofread the article we already started.


Document Grader will walk you though the process of grading your essay, article, blog post, term paper, eBook or professional email.  

Give it a try today, it's free!

Article Proofreading Video Tutorial

Here is Document Grader in action after pasting in a new article that has not yet been proofread.



You can try out Document Grader for free today!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Awesome Free English Proofreading Tool

What exactly is Document Grader?

Firstly, it's a grammar and language usage tool.  Document Grader is designed to dive more deeply into your writing than any proofreading tool currently available.  If you simply need a second set of eyes before you hit that "send" button, or before you print that final draft, then you would do well to see what this app thinks of it first.

At the very least, Document Grader will encourage you to re-think your writing, and potentially inspire you to think of a better way to express a word, phrase or sentence.  Better writing is a product of thinking about what you have already written again and again.  As the saying goes, "Writing is a process."

On a longer timeline, Doc Grader is designed to turn you into a better writer.  Over time you will detect repeating patterns in your writing that you can correct yourself ahead of time.  When you instinctively check for a particular issue ahead of time (thanks to Doc Grader bringing them to your attention over and over), then you will have made a major step toward becoming a better writer.  Your goal should be to progress as a writer, even beyond the issues that Docucument Grader might help you find.

Also, the app is free.  

So what are you waiting for?  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  Any and all feedback is welcome. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

New Feature - Automatic Document Saving

Here is a new feature to Document Grader to help you continue where you left off in your proofreading work, and avoid the risk of losing your work in general: Auto-save!

If you change anything in your document, it will be saved automatically within a few seconds.  You also have the option of manually saving your document if the auto-save function is not fast enough for you.  

If your computer or browser crashes, or if you are logged out from inactivity, then when you log back into your account, the latest version of the essay you were working on will be automatically reloaded and re-graded.  You can thus continue where you left off without losing any of your hard work.

Let me know what you think about this new feature.  Also, any feedback is appreciated!

Try out Document Grader today, for free!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Text Box Editing Shortcuts for Windows and Mac - Ace Editor Magic!

The text box you are using when entering / editing text for Document Grader to proofread is based on the open source text editor called Ace Editor.  As such, there are a variety of built in "tricks" that you can utilize to make your document editing experience easier.

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- Undo

When the cursor is in the text editing box, you can simultaneously press the keys "Control + z" for Windows or "Command + z" for Mac to undo the last change that was done to your text.  This is already standard for these operating systems.  This will undo the last change regardless of whether you typed / deleted / pasted something, or if the document was automatically changed by Document Grader when you clicked the button to instruct the service to do so.

- Redo

This shortcut is also the same as standard commands for Windows and Mac.  To redo in Windows, press "Control + y".  To redo in Mac, press "Command + Shift + y".

- Text Find / Search

This shortcut is also the same as standard commands for Windows and Mac.  To search for text in Windows, press "Control + f", then a search widget appears and you can type in and search for your text.  For Mac, use "Command + f".

- Select a Word

Double Click.

- Select a Paraphraph

Triple Click.

- Shift Highlighted Text to left or right (Change Tab / Margin)

First highlight the line or paragraph you want to shift to the left or the right.  To shift the text to the right, press "Tab"  To move the text to the left, press "Shift + Tab."

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There are other tricks available for Ace Editor (Google it if you want the full rundown), but I feel that these are the most relevant shortcuts for the purpose of proofreading essays.