The Pros and Cons of the Hemingway Editor

The Hemingway Editor is an application which evaluates writing. You can input text or write directly on the website or the downloadable desktop version. The editor will mark any sentences it deems too complicated and will suggest changing words that can be simplified. The idea behind the Hemingway Editor is excellent. However, there are some drawbacks.

But let’s talk about the good news first. The editor has a finely-tuned passive voice detector. Several times I found myself writing in passive voice without even realizing it. If you struggle with this grammar no-no, this application can definitely  help.

For those among us who find themselves to be wordy writers, the Hemingway Editor will not let you off the hook until your sentences are as concise as possible. It can cure you of comma splices and run-on sentences with its yellow and red highlighting.

After using the editor for several projects, I found myself aware of just how long some of my sentences were. It also helped me to stop hedging so much and say what I wanted to say. It will definitely make you think about your writing on a different level. However, that’s not always a good thing.

The Hemingway Editor is still a computer application. It can’t tell good writing from bad. Plug in any academic writing and the editor will score the PhD who wrote it very poorly. When using the editor for an entire story, you might find that your writing has been boiled down to a series of incredibly short sentences.

The application also hates adverbs. It marks each one as a problem and recommends removing them. Although using too many adverbs can be an issue, using none can make your writing sound mechanical and dull.

My overall opinion is that the editor can be helpful and there is something to be gained from looking at it. However, I would not recommend writing to the editor or taking its advice every single time. Good writing is concise and free from excessively long sentences. But there should always be room for some adverbs.

2 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of the Hemingway Editor

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  1. I had not heard of the Hemmingway Editor, so I found this interesting. The only helpful aspect of the app for me, though, would be catching passive sentences, and other apps which catch that must be out there. Thanks for the review.

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