Do you write? Blogs, books, letters to the editor?  If so, you might enjoy experimenting with the Hemingway Editor app that will give you feedback on your piece of writing.  Using the style of Hemingway as its criteria, this app will highlight long sentences that might be difficult to read, the overuse of adverbs and the passive voice as well as let you know which words are misspelled.

image of the opening paragraph in Hemingway EditorYou can see in the image above that the algorithms this app uses find one of my sentences hard to read, and that I used the passive voice once.  I wonder how Charles Dickens will fare? Here are the opening paragraphs of A Tale of Two Cities.

Image of opening paragraphs of A Tale of Two Cities

Ah, Mr. Dickens’ sentences are hard to read and very hard to read.  This app does not like compound-complex sentences, but neither did Hemingway.  That’s why Hemingway’s work often receives reading levels of around sixth grade–reading level formulas often just take into account syllables and sentence lengths, not the complexity of the ideas.

The app is very easy to use and works on a Mac or PC.  Simply paste your text into the space provided, and you will receive immediate color-coded feedback. You can edit right in the app and save it to your computer.

Is it worth it?

  • Inexpensive—$6.99
  • Easy to use
  • Very specific feedback
  • Does not help with content issues such as…
    • Idea development
    • Strength of your argument
    • Richness or accuracy of vocabulary

If you want your prose to be succinct, crisp, and accessible to a wide audience, then this app is very helpful. I sometimes get mired in the passive voice; it will help me avoid that pitfall. Bloggers, I think, would find it useful because they need to get their point across quickly and with clarity. Those writing the great American novel in a style unlike Hemingway’s might find it less useful.  But, at $6.99 it’s a bargain you might find interesting to explore.