Copy editing & proofreading:
The 5 best tools, tips & tricks
Proofreading English copy isn’t any easy task for most non-native speakers, simply because you rarely notice your own grammatical or spelling mistakes. Correct and easy-to-read copy is especially important for companies to leave a professional impression with their customers. It's also essential for the SEO optimisation of your website; the higher your content quality, the higher you rank with Google. Here are our top 5 tools that should help you to write better English copy or improve your existing texts:
This is by far one of the best tools you can use for English grammar and text correction. Spelling mistakes are detected immediately, and the programme suggests context-specific corrections. This also applies to potential grammar, punctuation, word choice and style errors, which are expertly captured by artificial intelligence (AI). Grammarly is available as a web or desktop editor, as a browser extension for Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge and as an app for iOS and Android. The premium service is available for a monthly or annual payment and this version even includes a plagiarism check.
Named after the American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Ernest Hemingway, this exceptional app highlights long, complex sentences and frequent errors in colour, indicating what needs to be changed. If a sentence appears highlighted in yellow, it should be shortened or split into two sentences. If you see red highlighting, your sentence is so complicated that your readers will fail to understand it. Try editing it to remove the red highlighting. Passive structures, weak adverbs and unnecessarily long words will, however, also be highlighted, and the tool suggests better alternatives.
Similar to Grammarly, PaperRater analyses your text, draws your attention to spelling and grammatical errors and at the same time, detects plagiarism. To achieve this, the tool uses a database containing more than 10 billion documents. A significant advantage of PaperRater is that the system evaluates your work and thus always gives you an overview of how good your text really is.
Even many native speakers* make mistakes with "you" and "you're" or with the distinction between "their, "they're" and "there". You don't have such problems with Ginger, because it puts your spelling into context with what you are trying to express. The software also allows you to correct your grammar and adapt it immediately. It is not for nothing that Ginger is the most frequently used software by people with dyslexia. Additionally, it is also available as a Google Chrome Extension — a must-have for every English text correction.
In addition to using tools, there are, of course, other tips and tricks to improve your English copy. For example, reading aloud is still one of the most effective methods of detecting ambiguities and errors in your writing. If it sounds wrong, it usually is. But at some point, after you have read your text through countless times, that won't help either. Then the four-eyes principle is the next step: four eyes always see more than two. That's why you should have your text proofread by someone else to make sure that all flaws are eliminated.
If you want to improve your English skills, it usually helps to write as much as possible. Practice by writing a blog post. Here is a blog post where you can read about the best way to approach this:
When we write copy or go in for the final proofread – we never do it right after having worked on it. Letting your copy sit for a couple of hours or overnight gives you a fresh perspective and you're more likely to spot mistakes.
This has happened to each and every one of us: you polish off an email, hit send (maybe even to a significant number of subscribers) you check it an hour later and smack bang in the middle – there's a typo. A pretty obvious typo – and somehow you missed it. This tends to happen because when you look at your own copy for long enough, your eye doesn't see the mistakes anymore. Our brains are trained to read right over them, which is why we always recommend having someone else proofread your work.
Although tools can help ensure your copy is formally correct, if you want your copy to flow, represent a strong brand and sell your product you'll have to go the extra mile. That’s why it’s important to work with native speakers, copy editors and professional proofreaders; exactly what we can offer here at Say it right. So if you've got a blog article, website copy or a job application that needs polishing get in touch & let's talk about your proofreading needs.