Can the Hemingway App help you?

Reading time: About 1.5 minutes

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a piece of  software — designed to help you write like Hemingway — available free on the Internet…..

I’ve never been a huge Ernest Hemingway fan. I found the book about his first marriage, The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain, more interesting than anything he wrote himself.

That said, I deeply admire his writing principles: short sentences, short words, active voice, few adjectives. Thus, I was delighted when one of my readers, Mohan Arun, wrote to tell me about a new free app called, Hemingway.

I gave it a test drive this morning and I can tell you it’s a winner. Simply go the app, paste in a piece of your writing and hit the “edit” button (top right.). It will give you a grade ranking (I hit grade 7, which made me happy.) Then, see how it neatly highlights anything it regards as a problem. I especially liked the way the app uses different colours.  Hard-to-read sentences are marked in yellow. (I had two of those, which I fixed immediately.) Very hard-to-read sentences are marked in red. (I had three — note my use of the past tense.)

Adverbs are marked in blue. Astonishingly, I had six of them although after review, I decided to keep them all. (That’s one of the great things about the software. You’re free to disregard anything you don’t agree with.) Complex words or phrases are marked in purple (I had two, which I edited.) And passive voice is green. (I had one, which I changed.)

The Hemingway app is similar to readability statistics but it’s better in that it also gives you more specific feedback. I suggest you give it a try.

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