Tools for removing "errors" from your writing

Initially, I was going to title this either "How to improve your writing", or "How to write better". But both those are subjective. The current title is apter [1] , I think. In technical terms, these are errors/warnings in the prose. Errors you must fix. Warnings you should fix, but can choose to ignore.

Since the "prose" isn't compiled, there is no compiler. This is similar to various interpreted (programming) languages, where there are no compilers, hence there is no easy way to catch the errors/warnings before hand. In comes the "linters" - they "can" check for potential errors before hand, and it is always a good practice to run the code via the "linter".

The prose is the same. In fact, one of the tools is aptly named exactly that proselint

So there are some of the tools I have come across recently.

Grammarly

As the name suggests, it is mainly used for checking the Grammar. Useful for someone like myself for whom English is not the first language.

All of my writing is in emacs. So Grammarly does not directly integrate with my workflow. There is a native app, where I can copy paste this text and make corrections, and import the fixes "back" to emacs :) Bit tedious if you ask me.

write-good-mode

I've already written about it earlier. It is a minor mode in emacs. It identifies weasel words (words that do not add value or change the meaning), passive voice, duplicate words.

proselint

This is a python program. you install it using pip install proselint

Apparently, there is a way to integrate this with emacs as well (Need to research)

Here is an output from proselint when run on one of my previous post [2]

$ proselint ../posts/gitlab-project-not-found.rst
../posts/gitlab-project-not-found.rst:8:55: cliches.write_good 'Needless to say' is a cliché.
../posts/gitlab-project-not-found.rst:33:36: typography.symbols.ellipsis '...' is an approximation, use the ellipsis symbol '…'.
../posts/gitlab-project-not-found.rst:55:29: hyperbolic.misc '!!!' is hyperbolic.
../posts/gitlab-project-not-found.rst:55:30: leonard.exclamation.multiple Stop yelling. Keep your exclamation points under control.

When I ran it against some other posts, there was no output, indicating that those posts were "fine" :)


Footnotes:

[1] I had chosen to write "more apt". Grammarly suggested "apter". I had never heard of this word. I had to check to see whether this was a false report. It wasn't.
[2] I've since fixed 3 out of these 4 errors. The error about ellipsis is verbatim output from ssh-add --help

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