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A while back, a long while back if you're a long time MT podcast listener, I listened to the podcast on writing more effectively. Just bumped into this article on Inc. filled with apps on catching grammar and spelling mistakes. They even suggest a readability app.

I thought the MT community would enjoy. Has anyone used any of the recommended apps?

http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/5-free-apps-that-make-you-seem-smart.html

mrreliable's picture

 Interesting. Those apps could be as helpful as spell check (although I find myself relying on spell check too much).

We train writers of technical research materials. The focus of the apps was similar to what we teach and preach.

- Keep it short. Don't answer the question, "Is it raining?," with a dissertation on climatology.

- Use short sentences and short paragraphs. A readable paragraph is three to five sentences.

- One specific topic per paragraph. Don't start in Nebraska and end up in Illinois.

- Eliminate as many words as possible from your final manuscript. When cutting words, whatever doesn't kill it makes it stronger. Be ruthless when editing. You'll be surprised how many words and phrases are not necessary and how powerful your writing will be the more words you cut.

- Be careful with adjectives. They can ruin your writing.

- When writing, your job is to communicate, not to prove how smart you are.

- Use the "Duh" test. Insert the word "Duh" at the end of your sentence. If it doesn't look out of place, delete the sentence. Often "Duh" sentences occur trying to lead the reader into the topic. One of my favorite "Duh" sentences was something like, "Paying for college can be very expensive." Duh.

- In the words of an esteemed college professor: "Be short. Be brilliant. Be gone."