A style guide for writing on Medium
Quincy Larson

“Use the Hemingway App. There’s nothing magical about this simple tool, but it will automatically detect widely agreed-upon style issues:

  • passive voice
  • unnecessary adverbs
  • words that have more common equivalents”

The Hemingway app has a bad rep among writing professionals in my field. It is a simplistic app that applies arbitrary rules whether they are appropriate or not. It doesn’t analyse prose the way apps like Stylewriter do, it simply runs a set of rules. It will often flag and suggest changes that are detrimental to the text. It will flag adverbs, passive voice, and complexity (hard to read) where to make the suggested changes will create a nonsensical piece of text.

For instance I recall when we tested it, it constantly suggested removing the word “physically” in an article about physical disability and architectural design response. It seems to do little more than count commas to decide whether a sentence is “difficult”.

I found that Stylewriter is the only app that actually analyses prose. A couple of years back, we did a report on the currently available apps for improving writing among those who lacked language skill. It was an interesting exercise. I realise that Stylewriter is more expensive, but to throw in well worn cliché, you get what you pay for.