StyleWriter checks word-processed documents against 50,000+
language problems and ways of clarifying the style.
The program helps
you edit and polish writing into clear and concise English. Running from within
your word processor on your files, StyleWriter 4 is the quickest way to improve
your writing style. It teaches you the techniques of top-grade journalists,
editors and other professional writers, and helps you break poor writing
You dont have to be an expert in the English language or
in computers to use Style Writer. It avoids technical terms and concentrates on making your writing more readable.
StyleWriter 4 is not
a grammar checker. Grammar checkers try to show you how to write a correct
sentence by analyzing each word for its part of speech and then only accepting
sentences if the parts of speech are in the right order. Frankly, we all know
how irritating grammar checkers can be, highlighting correct English and often
missing real mistakes.
We did a little experiment and wrote a passage
containing 25 grammatical mistakes. We asked people attending a writing course
to try to spot them. The lowest score was 20 out of 25. When we ran a grammar
checker through the same passage, it only found six mistakes but stopped in the
wrong place over 30 times.
The best way to improve grammatical skills
is to write clearly and to read what you have written. As editors, our
experience tells us that style and usage faults (confusing words, hyphenation
and word division) outnumber grammatical errors by 30 to 1.
If you want to write well, you have to learn the secrets
of professional editors and top writers. StyleWriter teaches you these skills
and helps you write clearly and effectively for results.
StyleWriter does not parse the sentence, but looks for the faults that
editors look for whenever they redraft a document. With
35,000 style and usage faults, StyleWriter has about 10 times the power of a
conventional grammar checker.
Call StyleWriter up by clicking a button in your word processor's toolbar. StyleWriter displays all your editing problems at the same time. As you begin editing, StyleWriter offers intelligent alternatives and sound advice to help you edit your document into simple, concise, plain English. With a split screen of StyleWriter and your word processor, you can go through your document at your own pace. You can click on any style or usage problem with your mouse, or click back to your word processor to edit your text.
StyleWriter edits any document. Articles, press releases, resumes and cover letters, technical manuals, speeches, ads, sales letters, proposals, legal documents, corporate communications - you name it, StyleWriter can help edit it. Within seconds of launching, StyleWriter has analysed your documents for thousands of style and English usage issues including:
Common Grammar Slips
StyleWriter's displays all of its editing advice at once. You can expand the screen to show a page of your document, with each problem or issue highlighted. The top of the screen shows you how to edit your document into concise, clear English. You can make most changes by just clicking the blue alternative shown. If you want to make more extensive changes - and you will - just click StyleWriter's Edit button to move to your familiar word processor with all its advanced editing features.
StyleWriter's gives you instant, relevant analysis and scores. Most writing aids offer you simplistic readability formulas. These measure, often inaccurately, your sentence length and a syllable count to define long words. There's more to good writing than sentence length and word length.
For example, readability formulas count 'tomorrow', 'wonderful' and 'elephants', as poor word choice because they contain three syllables. So a sentence such as:
'We'll have a wonderful time tomorrow at the zoo visiting the elephants.', is difficult reading - yet a three-year old understands it perfectly. Rating your document by word length and sentence length ignores many other issues that cause poor writing.
StyleWriter has three key scores and ratings shown at the bottom of the program's screen.
1) The Style Index - an overall score of the clarity of your style.
The Style Index tells you if you are writing in clear English. Rather than use a simplistic readability formula of word length and average sentence length, the Style Index measures the plain English problems in your text, including a weighted score for long sentences. In this way, the Style Index gives you an overall score of style based on many writing issues:
The best writers score as low as 10 on the Style Index, equivalent to one style problem for every five or six sentences. Most people score 6 or 7 times as badly as the best writers, averaging two or three style problems in every sentence.
- Business Clichés
- Complex Words
- Foreign Expressions
- Hidden Verbs
- Jargon/Abstract Words
- Legal Words
- Long Sentences
- Overused Words
- Passive Verbs
- Stale Phrases
2) The Average Sentence Length - an important readability measure.
Shortening sentences is one of the easiest ways to change your writing style. Deciding to cut words, remove unnecessary qualifications or simply breaking a long sentence into two or three shorter sentences dramatically alters your writing style.
The recommended average sentence length is between 15 to 18 words for a clear and easy reading style. You'll need to shorten it if you're writing advertising copy and you can lengthen it slightly in a business report. However, the higher your sentence average goes above 20, the less readable your writing style becomes.
3) The Passive Index - a measure of the most common writing problem.
Editing passive verbs is a powerful way to improve your writing style and is the number one rule of good editing. It makes your writing, concise, direct, forceful and natural. Here are some examples:
The Passive Index compares the number of passive verbs — the most common style problem in writing — with the number of sentences in your document. You should edit as many passive verbs from your writing as you can. A Passive Index of under 10 - equivalent to one passive verb for every ten sentences is the score of top writers. Don't worry about how to edit passive verbs - StyleWriter has lots of advice to explain how easy it is to do.
Each score and rating becomes instantly updated as you edit your document.
When you edit with StyleWriter, you'll discover that StyleWriter shortens sentences and improves word choice making your writing style clear and understandable.
As you edit, StyleWriter updates the text, analysis and ratings for your document. Each time you shorten a sentence, cut a redundant phrase or simplify your word choice, StyleWriter updates the text, reanalyzes your documents and gives you new scores and ratings. This real-time change lets you watch your writing style improve.
You can adapt StyleWriter's analysis and ratings to the type of document you're drafting. An advertisement needs to have a punchy, direct writing style; a manual needs to be clear and simple; a report can carry more complex ideas. You can tell StyleWriter the type of document you're drafting and it will alter its analysis and ratings to reflect the different styles expected. For example, you'll get a higher Style Index and stricter ratings if you tell StyleWriter you're writing an advertisement rather than a report.
Choose from 12 writing tasks to fine-tune StyleWriter's analysis.
StyleWriter gives you an instant graph of your sentence variety so you can see if you're mixing long and short sentences to add interest to your style. While short sentences make easy reading, good writing contains sentence variety and a readable average sentence length between 15 to 20 words. The program will even pop-up a warning if your sentence average drops below 12 words - a sign you're taking the idea of short sentences too far.
Use sentence variety to add interest to your writing style.
Identify your writing habits in every document. The left-hand side of StyleWriter's Category Summary Screen shows the style problems in document you're checking. You'll find this a great way to know if your style is passive and wordy, abstract or stale.
Use StyleWriter's summary of writing issues to identify your writing habits.
StyleWriter puts you in control of the problems it highlights in your writing. For example, if you find your main writing problems are passive and hidden verbs, you can ask the program to switch off all other categories and concentrate on these problems.
Choose which style problems you want StyleWriter to highlight.
You can add advice to StyleWriter to increase the power and accuracy of the program. The more you use StyleWriter, the more your writing and editing skills improve. Learning the main techniques of good editors makes you think like an editor and you'll soon spot other ways to improve your writing. For example, suppose you notice you are overusing the words 'provide', 'involve' and 'undertake', you can add them to StyleWriter and ask it to pop up some relevant advice. It's as easy as using search and replace on your word processor. But StyleWriter searches for everything you add and its 35,000 style and usage patterns check every time you run the program.
Add any editing advice to StyleWriter
Deleting advice from the program is easy. Anything that annoys you - perhaps because it has a different industry-specific meaning - you can easily remove.
Fine-tune StyleWriter's advice to suit your writing needs.
You can make context-sensitive changes to StyleWriter's advice to fine-tune it to your own writing needs. For example, StyleWriter suggests replacing 'purchasing' with 'buying' to simplify your style. But what if your job title is 'Purchasing Manager'?. You can make 'purchasing manager' an exception. Then every time StyleWriter checks a document it highlights all occurrences of 'purchasing' unless the next word is 'manager'.
Fine-tuning StyleWriter's advice is easy.
StyleWriter records any changes you make to the program so you can review and reverse them. Most users delete or make exceptions to between 10 and 50 of StyleWriter's 35,000 patterns. StyleWriter's Review Changed Patterns feature lets you view every change you've made.
Review your changes to StyleWriter's database.
StyleWriter looks for patterns in language and uses wild cards to find thousands of variants of problems in writing. This gives the program immense searching power. StyleWriter has 35,000 style and English usage checks designed to reflect patterns in the English language. For example:
Editors recognize 'reached his decision' and 'take retirement' as hidden verb - expressions you can turn from nouns to verbs to improve style, add action and save words. Because StyleWriter uses wild cards within its pattern searches, it doesn't matter if you write 'reached his decision', 'reaching different decisions' or 'reached my decision'. StyleWriter finds each variant hidden verb and thousands of other possible hidden verbs with just a few coded patterns.
StyleWriter, by using wild cards to match with patterns editors spot in text, is the world's most powerful writing aid.
Bring the power of StyleWriter to your writing.
You can call up StyleWriter's extensive help screens for different writing tasks. Perhaps you have to write a sales letter for the first time. Simply click on StyleWriter's Writing Tips and you'll find expert advice. You can also call up this advice from your word processor's help menu so it's available when you first draft your document.
StyleWriter helps you tackle different writing tasks.
If you want more advice, just click your mouse on the problem and up pops the relevant help screen with more editing advice.
For example, if you've used a grammar checker you'll notice it stops on passive verbs. But you probably don't understand why using passive verbs are a problem or what to do with them. StyleWriter, with its accurate and comprehensive search for passive verbs, explains why passive verbs are such a problem and shows you simple techniques to switch them to the shorter, more direct active style.
Look at this government example. Changing the passive verbs (shown in red) into active verbs (shown in blue) saves 18 per cent of the words.
Switching passive verbs to active verbs is easy with StyleWriter's expert editing advice.