It doesn’t matter if you are a trained novel writer, poet, or journalist who writes what sounds good. The idea of writing is to write. And having done so the easiest way to check it is okay is to use your ear. If you can read a sentence out loud and the prose sings, then it has to be good. This is more important when writing business, academia, or blogs. If when reading your sentence sounds conversational when it shouldn’t be then it’s probably not good.

Many new and developing writers know grammar reasonably well, but sometimes their raw writing can reveal gaps in their spelling, sentence, and paragraph structure. If this is your problem then to make that start of your journey easier we would like to suggest that you try writing software to aid you. One such programme is Grammarly. I’ve been using this software on and off for some time, especially as I do a lot of reviewing of manuscripts. I find the programme much better than the spell and grammar check offered through Microsoft Word. I am therefore suggesting, that for those of you who are writing daily blogs and perhaps publishing without a single editor looking at it, this digital safety net might be a good idea for you.

Grammarly can be both a free, standalone web app or a browser plug-in. It uses a combination of artificial intelligence and natural-language processing to read your content, spot spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and even tone (that is how your writing sounds to others). You can also set it for British or American English and you can add words to the dictionary. For me, using this for the first edit of any manuscript cuts down on the amount of work needed before I get down to the serious side of reviewing and finalising the piece for publication.

Remember, good writing is not all about clarity and grammatical quality. Before you do any writing you need to know your audience. Fortunately Grammarly allows writers like me to set goals to ensure that any writing, whether I am reviewing or it is my own, is tailored to my desired audience. Leaving the setting on default, which assumes my audience is ‘Knowledgeable’ (instead of, say, an ‘Expert’) is reasonable. Also, the formality is set to ‘Neutral’ (not ‘Formal’), and the domain is ‘General’ (although I can change it to, say, ‘Creative’ or ‘Academic’ should it be needed).

No matter what circumstances you use it for, Grammarly is a font of constant writing feedback. Maybe you’ll enjoy the little smiley face you get when it deems that your writing tone sounds friendly to your readers. By the way, you can use the free version for basic assistance, or pay a subscription and get much more help with your writing. Either way, it’s worth giving it a try to see if it suits your requirements. Go on what have you got to lose.

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