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.

***

- 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."

***

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.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Being Critical of Your Own Writing

It's difficult to be critical of your own writing.  

Mustering the energy to write in the first place is difficult.  Then, after you have pounded out what seems to be an awesome essay, you have to go back to the beginning and start again, as if you are writing it for the first time.

But, if you want to present your best written work, you have to be very critical of it. No word, phrase, sentence or paragraph is safe from the threat of revision.  Don't be afraid of re-thinking everything that sounded fine the first time around.

You might ask: How should I be critical?  What should I look for?  Should I literally consider rewriting every word?

Document Grader answers these questions to a great extent by highlighting portions of your writing that are worth reconsidering.  The service was designed to find potential proofreading issues so that you, the writer, can quickly focus on problem areas in your writing.  Ideally, you should also take into account the surrounding sentences and paragraph, making changes as needs to improve your writing beyond what DocGrader finds for you.

Practice is vital if you want to improve as a writer.  As you invest time and energy into your essay, you are also investing in yourself as a writer.  Consider the suggestions/examples Document Grader gives you and you will learn to recognize bad versus good writing patterns.  The more you rethink your writing according to these examples, the more effective your editorial instincts will become.  

Try out Document Grader today!

Monday, November 30, 2015

You Should Write Better than You Speak

Here's a general rule: 
- You're writing should sound better than your everyday talking.

Most people use excessive amounts of filler words when they talk (Um, uh, yeah, like, so ... ) as well as rhetorical questions (You know what I mean?).  This is to be expected for everyday speech. A small measure of such colloquialisms can even be useful to avoid sounding pretentious.  However, in the written world, these parts of speech represent mental baggage that will tire out your readers.

If your readers have to spend to much energy sifting through superfluous language, then they will miss the message you are trying to convey.

As the writer, you must carefully measure the value of each word, phrase and sentence to make sure they contribute to your message.  Otherwise, you will alienate your reader by requiring them to sift through the "fluff" themselves.  Most people, unless they are teachers who are being paid to read your writing, will abandon your essay or article before too long, and rightfully so.

Here's another rule: 
- Make your writing easy to read.

Do the necessary work ahead of time to gather the information you want to convey and then present it in a concise, orderly fashion.  Build logical flow into your written work so that your readers will naturally comprehend the point you are trying to make.  And, while you think about the overarching structure of your essay, you must continue to avoid excessively verbose or passive language.

This is a lot to think about, I know.  But, with the right kind of practice, you will develop your writing mind to the point that you naturally recognize some of the best practices referred to here. You can also practice by reading quality written book (published books, for example), getting feedback from experienced writers (your English teacher for example) and by using every available editing tool that you can find.

One such tool that is designed to make you a better writer is Document Grader.  It's free and will provide you with real-time feedback, including relevant suggestions and examples, after you paste your essay into the grading text box.

So, do you want to become a better writer?  If yes, then try out Document Grader today!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Writing is a Process

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Writing is a process" ?  

It's true.

Well written essays, books or even basic emails became well written because their conscientious authors took the time and effort to revise them several times.  No one writes a perfect essay, article, or term paper on the first try.  But you can make your written work close to perfect with enough concentrated, dedicated effort.  

In order to create a truly high quality piece of written work, you must pour over every sentence, word by word.  You have to mull over the context of every sentence.  Is the statement each sentence is making relevant?  Is the wording ideal?  Each paragraph must be considered in light of the whole document, and then you must consider how all the paragraphs flow together within the document to create a clear, logical train of thought.

Then again, as you make multiple revisions, you must also consider the reader's point of view.  YOur readers may know nothing about the subject matter you're addressing.  Who is your audience anyway?  What is their reading comprehension level?  What are their expectations in light of where your work will be published?

There are many subtle, painstaking aspects to making a single written work truly great.  And, hopefully, Document Grader can help you with this process.

Document Grader will bring your attention to a wide range of potential issues, from work choice to whether or not your phrasing is too verbose, to whether or not you are using the wrong word given the current context.

Whether you're a busy student, a stressed out professional, or an overworked teacher, Document Grader can really lighten your workload.  

So go ahead and give it a try ... it's free!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

We're Live!

What is Document Grader?

Document Grader (docgrader.com) will help you grade any kind of English writing. Using the guidance provided by this service, students of all shapes and sizes, bloggers and professionals can improve the quality of their writing.

Document Grader is primarily a teaching tool, secondarily a correction tool.  This means that, while in many cases an automated correction is available, most of the time you will receive relevant guidance in the context of your paper so you can make your own corrections.  This will require you to think about any writing issue found (or whether the issue in question is an issue at all) and then make corrections (or not) based on what you think will sound best in your essay (or email, or blog article, etc.).

This service will be a constant work in progress, and so I welcome any and all feedback!  See my contact info here.

So what are you waiting for?  Go give it a try!