Editing documents

I’ve said this before, but I’m not a great writer.  I’ve been told I write like I talk: too casually.  I’m fine with this because I feel the ultimate point in writing is to convey a message and (I hope) no one is confused by my writing.  Last year I realized I needed more help and I didn’t have the patience to wait for a physical person to do fine edits.  I still send it out for comments about readability and content, but passive voice, participles, commas, typos, etc. are not my specialty.  So last year someone recommended Grammarly and my school happens to have a site-wide premium subscription.  The online interface is simply wonderful with a little to be wanted with the Office plug-ins.  But I’ve noticed that my documents are coming out easier to read.  Even my collaborators have mentioned it.  This begs a question: have I always been terrible and they never said anything?  I don’t like to be handled with kid-gloves.  Just give me the truth and I’ll try to get better.

My previous editor has also mentioned that my documents are far easier to edit lately and I mentioned Grammarly.  It won’t put her out of business since computers are only so good for now, but it’s saving my budget about 10% on editing cost.  That should add up over time, though I’ve vowed to write fewer grants to get things under control so just that would save on editing time.  I’ve now asked all my students to go through this editing software and I’m curious how much better their documents will read.  English wasn’t my first language, and for the most part, they write like English wasn’t their first language, as well.

One last thing I like: the statistics and scores.  Grammarly ‘grades’ the documents and gives you weekly scores.  I’m apparently very bad with commas:

  1. Missing comma after introductory phrase               76 alerts
  2. Missing article                                                                 40 alerts
  3. Missing comma in compound sentence                     21 alerts


Didn’t mean for this to sound like an ad.  But I’m impressed with even the free version.  I don’t think I would ever pay for the premium version, but if you can get it at no cost and you write a lot, and you suck at writing, then I recommend it.


2 thoughts on “Editing documents

    • I wish I could use grants! I pay people to edit out of my own pocket. For content, I give it the usual rounds of colleagues I trust (they don’t charge…other than academic favors…which are worth more than money), but for the grammar, syntax, etc. I have a trusted source: an old industry friend. She has a charge/page, and she’s not an editor per se, but she’s the only one I could afford, and she does it as a pseudo-favor since we’re friends.

      edit: my friend apparently switched genders while I was typing this out….


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