Editsaurus: Another Hemingway Editor?

Editsaurus is a new writing tool that claims to highlight potential problems in your writing and encourage good writing habits. However, its usefulness is limited and ultimately, unless you are a beginning writer, its capabilities will not be that helpful to you.

This website functions much like the Hemingway Editor. You input your text or write directly into the box. Then it highlights potential problem areas. Which sounds useful. But when you examine the readout, it becomes less and less meaningful.

The tool highlights all uses of adverbs. Which, granted, too many is problem, but you can follow every rule of grammar and good writing and still use an occasional adverb.

It’s also rather worrisome how adverbs are being vilified by both this program and the Hemingway Editor. Not all adverbs are the enemy. Conversely, you can have writing completely free of adverbs and it can be still terrible. Avoiding every adverb in existence is not some magic formula for good writing. But when editors like this highlight every use, what message is it sending to writers?

The tool also highlights all uses of easily-confused words. Every use of the word “to” or “then” is highlighted because these words are often confused with “too” and “two” as well as “than”, respectively.

If a beginning writer struggles with the correct usage of these words, the highlight will be helpful. But someone who has a solid background in grammar will raise an eyebrow over how their piece has been marked up when their usage is correct.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the emotional reaction to this program. After years of spelling and grammar check from every piece of software that has it equipped, we are used to seeing anything highlighted as a problem that needs to be fixed. Seeing your writing come back so marked up can be anxiety inducing.

But when you examine why the marks are there, most of them aren’t problems that need correction. It’s just the inability of a computer to detect what is correct grammar and what is a mistake.

With the Hemingway Editor already in existence and the limitations of this tool, its ultimate practicality is questionable.

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