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5 Tools To Improve Your Writing Skills

Improve Your Writing Skills

Image courtesy of chanpipat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

You’ve just written the perfect post.

You’ve checked and double-checked it and it’s A-1 okay.

It’s your best work yet. It’s going to win awards in fact.

You can’t contain your excitement and you press the publish button. No need to improve your writing skills?

You proofread your work and yes, you’re good to go.

Then to your horror, you receive some comments about your poor spelling. What could have happened?

There must be some online tools that can help your writing skills.

Well, luckily there are a few which can come to your rescue.

Orangoo

Orangoo is an online spell checker and you can also check your grammar and synonyms via the online thesaurus.

You can  paste the text you want to be checked into the website and Orangoo will come back with suggested corrections. It will provide you with a spell check in 18 different languages.

Now if you’re a WordPress user, you probably don’t need this option as the built-in proofreader generally does a good job.

However, one thing you may be interested in is the service that Orangoo offer in partnership with TextTrust. TextTrust will scan your whole website and come back with details of all the spelling mistakes.

If you do this via the Orangoo website, you will receive a free sample report from TextTrust with information on a few mistakes that have been detected. In order to receive the full report, you have to sign up to the paid service. The following options are available to help improve your writing skills:

TextTrust Express $199.95

  • Full site review – complete report of your site’s text mistakes
  • Download report – excel friendly and easy to distribute
  • No software download – TextTrust is an online spell checker service
TextTrust Pro $299.95 (or $24.95 per month)
The same features as TextTrust Express plus:
  •  Pro Power Tools – Advanced reports and custom dictionary
  • Regular Reports – Scheduled or on demand as often as you want
  • Site insurance – automated scans, weekly or monthly reports
  • Support Staff – Phone and email support

Respelt

Respelt is a completely free online spell checker which allows you to:

  • paste your document into a text box;
  • enter a URL or;
  • enter an RSS feed

and it will then spell check your data and come back with any mistakes it finds.

If you sign up for a free account, you can also get daily checks of your posts and you get your own private word dictionary.

Tip Of My Tongue

I’m sure it’s happened to you before.

As much as you will yourself to remember a particular word and it’s been bothering you all day, you just can’t remember it.

You could always try Tip of My Tongue. It’s a free website that you can use to try to help you remember that elusive word.

You can enter a partial word, letters, meanings and you can refine your search by word length.

Tip of My Tongue will then search the dictionary and report back on suggested words.

For $2.99 you can even get Tip of My Tongue on your iPhone.

Confusing Words

Confusing words is a collection of 3,210 words that are most often confused or misused.

Some of these words sound alike but are spelt differently and some are just commonly confused.

Here are some examples of confusing words that are covered: affect and effect; there, their and they’re.

Whilst this site hasn’t been worked on in many years, it is still a useful resource and appears to be the largest one of this type available online.

WebSource.It

Some words can have more than one spelling but how do you know which one is correct or the most-used?

With WebSource.it, you can test both and see which one comes out on top.

You can enter up to five words in the text fields and Websource.it will check out the number of resulting hits on Google to give you an indication of popularity.

Not too scientific; you’re relying on the wisdom of the crowd as to which of the two is correct.

It can, at least, give you an idea of what other people have used.

Over To You… What Tools Do You Use To Improve Your Writing Skills?

Well that’s all folks for today. I’ve really enjoyed researching and writing about these tools.

Now, what do you think of them? Have you used any of them before? Do you use any other online tools to help improve your writing?

I can’t wait to hear what you think. I always appreciate any comments you would like to make.

Please share this post on your favourite social media sites if you found any of the tools to improve your writing skills useful as you never know who else they might help.

Comments

  1. Sapna says

    Hi Tim

    Its me, I don’t proofread the post and publish it, my urge to publish post has been putting me in doldrums most of the time, but gradually I will surely overcome that.
    Thanks for mentioning such good tools like Orangoo and respelt. Let me explore them and will surely get back to you on this.

    Thanks for sharing the great tools.

    Sapna

    • says

      Hi Sapna

      I love your enthusiasm for getting those posts published!

      I hope the tools I’ve mentioned help and yes please do let me know how you get on with them.

      Enjoy the rest of your week.

      Tim

  2. says

    Hi Tim,

    I was very interested to read this post – ‘write’ up my street, as it were! I spend ages proofreading my posts and generally do this manually – I don’t trust automated spell checkers and grammar tools, partly because I don’t think they can possibly always get it right – English spelling and grammar can be notoriously complicated and for every ‘rule’ there are umpteen exceptions. That’s not to say I always get it right myself, mind you.

    I like the sound of the ‘tip of my tongue’ site – I’ll probably give that a try. The site I use most frequently when I’m writing is thesaurus.com – also dictionary sites to check spellings and meanings of words.

    The Websource site about different spellings looks useful – I’m often stumped when it comes to words that have different English and American spellings. Although it goes against the grain, I’m starting to adopt the US versions because they seem to be more commonly used online. Whenever I write a word like ‘color’, though, I feel I’ve made a spelling mistake!

    Thanks very much for this – some really interesting links, which I’ll be checking out,

    Sue

    • says

      Hi Sue

      I was thinking about you when I wrote this post. Not because you need all the tools but I wondered what you would think about them because this is your subject. :-)

      The tip of my tongue site has got me out of a few frustrating moments. I hate it when I just can’t remember a word. I like the fact you can put in meanings amongst other things. That really helps!

      Websource.it doesn’t necessarily give you the correct answer, just the most popular. The idea being that the majority of people must be right! I looked up ‘whilst’ and ‘while’ the other day and ‘while’ definitely came out on top. Both are correct, although ‘whilst’ is used more in the UK I believe. I tend to favour ‘whilst’ in writing, for some reason ‘while’ just doesn’t sound right to me in most sentences.

      I like the fact that we have English spellings and I will always use those over the American ones. I particularly don’t like using z’s in words instead of s’s. I’m English and proud of it! :-)

      I hope you’re having a great week Sue.

      Tim

      • says

        Well, Tim – I’m very honoured (or should I say honored?) that you should think of me!

        When I have a ‘tip of the tongue’ moment, my usual trick is to go through the alphabet – doesn’t always work, but a word often comes to me when I think of its first letter. I’ve bookmarked that site, though, and will give it a try.

        I think it’s great that there aren’t always categorically ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers when it comes to spelling and grammar – I only really get hot under the collar about it when a mistake actually affects the meaning of a sentence. It’s also reassuring to know that the experts don’t always get it right – I read recently that someone’s spotted some grammatical errors in Lynn Truss’s “Eats, Shoots and Leaves”, so there’s hope for us all.

        Love it that you’re flying the flag for British spellings – afraid I’m guilty of treachery at times,

        Sue

  3. says

    Hi Tim

    Just tried the Respelt, that works pretty good. Never knew about it. We keep learning and learning don’t we. Thanks for all the research. I shall have to tweet this post.

    Have a great day,
    Mary

    • says

      Hey Mary

      I check my RSS feed with Respelt and you’re right it does work pretty well doesn’t it. :-)

      I’m glad you found it useful. I really enjoy doing this kind of research.

      Thank you for the Tweet. I’m sorry I’ve not come back to you before today.

      Enjoy the rest of your week.

      Tim

  4. says

    Tim, my best tool is… (drumroll, please…) Microsoft Word. It helps me find typos, misspellings and poor grammar when I’m composing. It’s not perfect, but I already have it, so it’s free in a sense. I use a Mac, so I make good use of the Thesaurus section in the Mac’s dictionary.

    • says

      Hey Barrett

      Microsoft Word’s as good as anything. I tend to write straight into WordPress so I use the Proofread function quite a lot.

      I’ve tried writing outside of WordPress but I haven’t found a PC program I’m completely comfortable with yet for doing that.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Barrett and I hope you’re having a great week.

      Tim

      • says

        Hi Tim and Barrett,

        I’m a recent convert to Scrivener – not free, but a great tool for drafting posts and ebooks – particularly good for longer writing projects. I absolutely love it – you can try it out for a month for free (available for Mac as well as Windows).

        Sue

        • says

          Hi Sue

          I downloaded Scrivener a while back and it certainly looks like a great tool.

          I’ve not had a lot of time to play around with it too much but it’s one of the things on my list to buy for the future.

          Thanks for prompting me to have a proper look at it.

          I hope you have a great weekend.

          Tim

  5. says

    Tim,

    What a great list! I had not heard of any of these tools before. I think the “Tip of My Tongue” sounds the most interesting, only because it is so unique. I am curious to see how well it works the next time I am stumped.

    Good stuff!

    • says

      Hey Adam

      “Tip of My Tongue” has helped me out on a few occasions; particularly as one of the parameters you can use is word meaning.

      Let me know how you get on the next time you’re stumped!

      Enjoy the rest of your week.

      Tim

    • says

      Hi Khaja

      Most of them can’t be added to your WP blog as such as they’re not plugins. That would be really useful though wouldn’t it!

      Webspellchecker.net do offer a service which you may be able to incorporate into your WP blog. Their service certainly isn’t cheap though!

      I hope you’re having a great week.

      Tim

  6. says

    Tim, I love this one! I’ve asked my sister way too many times to proof mine and she always finds something. I’ve been reading my new posts on my smartphone soon as I hit publish and I usually catch a couple that way. I’ll be checking these out for sure. Thanks so much for sharing this and I’m sure my sister thanks you too Tim.

    • says

      Hi Lisa

      I’m really glad you liked the post and I hope your sister does too! :-)

      Let me know how you get on.

      I hope you’re week is going well and sorry I’ve not got back to you sooner!

      Tim

  7. says

    Hi Tim
    I am guilty of not proof reading my post and I know I should be doing that!
    I will take a look at the tools you have listed and see how they can help me. Thanks for sharing.
    Have a great day
    Pauline

    • says

      Hi Pauline

      I tend to use the Proofreading tool on WordPress but I don’t always agree with everything it tells me to do!

      I also use Respelt to check my RSS feed just in case.

      I hope you find a use for a couple of the tools in my post.

      I’m sure the weather in Greece is lovely still at this time of year. I’m envious!

      Enjoy the rest of your week.

      Tim

  8. says

    Tim, great resources here but like @barrett I use MSWord which we get as part of the OS normally. It covers most of the grammatical stuff but is no substitute for good writing skills. It’s important to learn those and not rely too much on automation. I personally have a long way to go.

    Cheers sir!

    • says

      Hey Ralph

      You’ve made a great point there. Whilst we can find many different tools to help with the spelling and grammatical stuff, there is no substitute for good writing skills. I couldn’t agree more.

      I don’t think any spell checker or grammatical checker will ever correct things 100%. They can be of some help though.

      I’m not so sure you have such a long way to go. You’re a pretty darn good writer Ralph!

      I hope you are well and thank you for your comments.

      Tim

  9. Theodore Nwangene says

    Hi Tim,
    An amazing post you have here. What i don’t know is how you normally take time to research all this. Men, it can take so many time.

    Its very to automate our business sometimes with such tools to avoid waisting much time on one thing. I specially like the first tool but others equally rocks. Will check them out one by one.

    Thanks for the discovery.

    Happy Xmas in advance.

    • says

      Hi Theodore

      It does take quite a bit of time to research things like this you’re right. I really enjoy it. Sometimes it means I don’t get as many posts out as I’d like.

      I’ve not been so active online recently for other reasons though. Hopefully the New Year in a few weeks time will be a better time for me to move forward with my blog.

      I’m really glad you like the look of the tools though Theodore and I appreciate your kind comments.

      Happy Christmas in advance too!

      Tim

  10. Andrew says

    Well, is this a well documented review or what? Thanks for the insight, Tim!

    I see you’ve included some payment options, too. I think those would be the most professional and if you’re running a, say, grammar blog, you definitely could use those services!

    For the rest of us, more rudimentary spell checkers work well enough. I personally use ZenWriter’s built-in spellcheck tool, and if it misses anything, usually Microsoft Word or, as you’ve pointed out, wordpress’s built-in spellchecker catches any remaining mistakes.

    • says

      Hey Andrew

      If you’re running a grammar blog you’d definitely need to be careful about your writing! You’re so right.

      I don’t know ZenWriter but if it has a built-in spell check tool then that’s going to pick up most things, I’d say.

      Services such as TextTrust come into their own if you have a huge website, not set up through WordPress, and you want to spell check the whole site and get a report back.

      Thank you for your comments Andrew and I hope you enjoy the rest of your week.

      Tim

  11. says

    Those are some cool tools Tim. To be honest with you, I mainly use the good old online dictionary when I want to know how to spell something or use a similar word. I know, I know, so old school.

    For the most part though I use the online spell checkers that come with most programs. I mean if I’m typing a blog post I spell check it before adding it to my WordPress blog.

    Now the one most people should really pay attention to is “Confusing Words”. I see so many mistakes like this all over the web because they are using the wrong word. Kind of like correctly the grammar as we go and I use to be really bad about that but no more thank goodness.

    Love these resources, thank you so much for sharing them.

    Enjoy your week Tim.

    ~Adrienne

    • says

      Hey Adrienne

      I think the spell checkers that come with most programs are fine and will pick up most things.

      TextTrust is probably more of use if you have a huge website with hundreds of pages and it’s not built around WordPress or something similar.

      I do use Respelt to check things over automatically and I’ll let you into a little secret Adrienne. Most of the spelling issues it picks up are from comments people have left on my blog. I don’t want to go in and correct those though. I’m just pleased people have left those comments!

      I know what you mean about “Confusing Words”. I sometimes get words muddled up myself. I think my worst one is “your” instead of “you’re” and vice versa! I’ve never had WordPress pick that up yet so I have to keep an eye on that one at all times!

      I’m really glad you liked the resources Adrienne and I hope you are enjoying the week.

      Tim

  12. Praveen Rajarao says

    Tim – those are some cool tools you have listed, it takes a lot of time for me once i have completed my post, to do all these other necessary steps before I can publish the post. Even though I think i have covered most, there are some mistakes that happen when i do it manually which can be easily corrected by these automated processes.

    Thanks for sharing the info.

    • says

      Hi Praveen

      I hope you find the resources I’ve listed of some use.

      I use Respelt to check my blog automatically and it helps to pick up things I’ve missed quite a bit.

      Let me know how you get on.

      Enjoy the rest of your week.

      Tim

    • says

      Hi Jayme

      There’s always a certain pressure to publish things consistently and in a timely manner and proofreading can often take a back seat.

      Hopefully these tools can help before and after the fact!

      I hope you’re well and thank you for your comments.

      Tim

  13. says

    Hi Tim,

    Love the list, so thanks! I have honestly not heard of any of these, so will have to check out. At the moment my wife is my chief proof reader and she always, always finds something. Anyway something like Tip Of My Tongue … very cool and will have to give that a shot for sure. I usually start with WriteRoom, then edit using Apple’s TextEdit and go the old manual route, including bouncing between dictionary.com and thesaurus.com. Anyway, great list. Thank you.

    • says

      Hi Craig

      It’s always worth having another pair of eyes looking over your work and your wife sounds like she’s doing a sterling job!

      During term time, my wife is so busy otherwise I’d ask her so I’m left to my own devices. Scary thought!

      I like “Tip of My Tongue” a lot – might I say a frustration reliever even! Hopefully you’ll find it of some use.

      I remember Jens mentioning WhiteRoom as well. I’m a PC man so I can’t use WhiteRoom but I’ve read about some alternatives. I’ll maybe give one of them a go as distraction can be a killer; enough to make more spelling and grammatical mistakes probably.

      I’ve not been around online so much over the past few weeks so apologies that I’ve not dropped into your blog recently. A long story but many things have happened offline which have meant being online have had to take a back seat. I am gradually getting back up to speed though so I’ll be sure to pop in over the next couple of days.

      I hope you’re well Craig and are enjoying the run up to Christmas. My kids are counting down the days.

      Tim

  14. says

    This is great advice Tim. I am Norwegian and I should be using all sorts of help to improve my writing skills. But, the only thing I use is a few extra minutes to read the article again before I hit publish :)

    • says

      Hi Jens

      Your writing skills in English are better than mine Jens!

      I think spelling and grammar tools can always be of some use though before or after you hit publish. Hopefully you will find some of the ones I have listed of some use.

      I know over-automation can also make us blind to things too though so there’s no substitute to reading over something before you publish.

      I hope it’s not too cold over in Halden. The frozen sea in your picture of the harbour was beautiful.

      Enjoy the rest of the week Jens.

      Tim

  15. says

    Hi Tim,

    I should spend more time proofing my work than I do now. Frankly, I rarely go through my copy and that is a mistake. It might be useful to add one of these tools to supplement my own eye.

    I appreciate the list.

    • says

      Hey Josh

      I can’t say I remember noticing any spelling or grammatical mistakes in your work so you’re doing a great job for not proofreading your copy!

      I hope you find the tools of some use in any case. I particularly like “Tip of My Tongue”.

      I hope you’re well and enjoying the week.

      Tim

  16. says

    Thank you for doing this research and sharing it with us. I haven’t heard of most of these free tools before. It is simply amazing that these days we can find true gems on the web absolutely for free.

    • says

      I know what you mean Jack.

      I love doing research and finding all of the freebies out there.

      Most of the time you can sign up for a paid service but why bother if you can get all of this for free!

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