As a college student, relying on a writing app is one of the best ways to avoid easy-to-miss mistakes and see which styling improvements you can make. Because sometimes, your text may be flawless in grammar, but it may also be full of lengthy sentences and other common errors. You are looking for an app that focuses on your message, and here is where Hemingway App comes in.
Currently, there are many writing editing tools you can use. We have already reviewed some of them, like Grammarly and ProWritingAid, two solid yet different options. But if styling is what you are mainly looking for, maybe they are not the best alternatives.
So, you want to learn everything you can about Hemingway.
What does the app revise? How trustworthy are their suggestions? How much does it cost?
You need answers to these questions, and you have found them.
Here at Gradehacker, we are the non-traditional student’s most trusted resource. We know that having a reliable editing tool can significantly improve how you write.
That’s why today we are taking an extra step and giving you an in-depth Hemingway App honest review.
Now, in case you are not certain what a writing app is, here are the basics:
What is the Hemingway App?
The Hemingway Editor is a writing tool that aims to improve your writing skills by making your texts bolder and more precise. Besides checking grammatical errors, the app reviews your writing style and gives you simpler alternatives to improve all your complex sentences.
In other words, it’s a style editor that, instead of focusing on your prose, focuses on your message.
There are two ways you can use Hemingway App:
Both versions have the same editing features and tools, and thanks to all of its features, the Hemingway App can be a powerful tool for students who want to have smooth writing without any grammar errors.
So how does it work? Well, let’s start with our review.
Interface and User Experience
The Hemingway Editor is as simple and direct as it can be.
It has two modes: Writing and Editing.
By default, you’ll be in the Edit Mode when you first access their site. You are welcomed by a short text, which is the perfect example of how the app works. With its blue, purple, green, and yellow highlights, you’ll find the different styles and grammar suggestions you get.
On your right, you’ll find a concise dashboard with the main statistics of your text. It gives a score to your writing piece and summarizes the key elements and suggestions you see in your text’s body.
But if you want to focus only on your writing first, you can use the Write Mode. This way, all the editing tools will fade out, turning the app design into a distraction-free space. Once you think you are ready to start editing, just click on the Edit button, and you’ll go back to the app editor.
So, Hemingway is easy to use, but what does it do? What elements of your text will be revised and reviewed?
Readability Grade Levels
The first factor Hemingway defines is the readability grade. This stat proves how understandable your writing is, and which grade level is required to understand it. In other words, the app judges the “grade level” of your content.
Far from determining your audience, it’s a great way to show you how hard or easy it is to understand what you are writing.
Now, if you run your text and see that your readability says it is for 6th-grade level students, does that mean it’s bad?
Well, no! The lower your readability score is, the easier it is to understand it.
Actually, they assure that the reading level from Ernest Hemingway’s works is for 5th-grade level students. And he didn’t write for children.
So, if you get a 15th-grade level score, you should consider your text as confusing and hard to follow and may need a few changes here and there if you want to improve it. To lower it, you can follow Hemingway’s highlights: a yellow sentence means it is hard to read, and you might have to change it, but if you see a red highlight, then you should definitely modify it.
Unfortunately, Hemingway only highlights long sentences and doesn’t give you any suggestions on how you can improve them. Generally, splitting one sentence into two works, but you can also try adding connectors or directly removing words.
If you ask yourself which score you should aim for, keep in mind that the average American adult has a 10th-grade reading level, so you can aim for that readability stat as a solid target.
Another element that this app identifies is adverbs.
Using these modified verbs (like “slowly, quickly, efficiently”) is one of the most unrecommended writing tips. Instead, teachers and experts suggest that you should use other verbs that carry the same meaning without recurring to adverbs.
And Hemingway agrees. That’s why every time you see blue highlights, it is the app identifying an adverb that you should remove. But again, there is no editing tip on how to replace it.
Words That Can Be Simpler
One of the most common mistakes when writing is using fancy or complicated words that sound more educated. This is the case for words like “utilizing” or “objective.” Avoid them, and go for a more straightforward choice, like “use” and “goal.”
While you may feel that these educated words add a sense of formality to your text, the truth is that by the end of the day, you should always prioritize that your message is easy to understand. That’s why Hemingway’s writing software shows a purple highlight every time they recognize an alternative for a complicated word with a more common synonym.
The good news is that they suggest which word you should replace it with in this case.
Another common recommendation from writing experts is to avoid passive voice and always use active voice instead. A passive voice can deflate your writing and add unnecessary complexity to your sentence structure.
We know that sometimes using passive voice is too tempting, as it can be easy to use at first. But implementing an active voice makes your sentence clearer and makes it sound more stylish and straightforward.
As Hemingway aims to improve your writing skills, it will show you green highlights every time you use passive voice.
Even though they don’t directly suggest how you can replace it, at least they recognize that sometimes it is not wrong to use passive voice. According to the length of your paper, they give you a limit of passive voices you can write, so you don’t overuse them.
The Problem With Hemingway's Editing Tools
We must say there is one shared common problem in all of these editing tools. We found that the biggest issue with the Hemingway Editor is that they strictly follow a specific set of writing rules.
By following these parameters, they want to establish what is “good and concise” writing, but this is subjective. If it’s well applied, there is no problem with having a writing style that fails to meet these rules.
Of course, we are not saying that grammar mistakes or complex sentences are acceptable. Still, as long as your sentence is clear and your message is understood, you can use adverbs, long sentences, or passive voice. While you shouldn’t overuse them, sometimes these writing elements can be better than their “correct” alternatives.
And as Hemingway defines its score based on the following of these rules, relying 100% on every correction and suggestion they make might worsen the style of your writing.
Before we jump into our final thoughts, we still haven’t talked about Hemingway’s cost.
As we already mentioned, they have two versions: their online site and their desktop app.
Their online version is 100% free.
You have access to every editing tool, and it’s not even necessary to create an account. Just enter the main site, and you can start writing in the Editor Mode, with all of their editing features available.
But if you want to download their desktop version, you’ll have to pay a one-time fee of $19.99. If they later add an update, you’ll have it for free.
If you choose to purchase it, besides all of their editing tools, you’ll get to:
So, what do we think about Hemingway?
In our opinion, Hemingway is a useful online editor that you should definitely consider using. It flags all your spelling and grammar mistakes and highlights which fragments of your sentences are hard to understand.
They have a wide range of editing tools and identify key writing elements that are common among writers.
Plus, we believe it’s really incredible that all of their features are available for free on their website version. Their $19.99 cost isn’t that expensive either, making it a worthwhile one-time investment if you want to retribute them for their service.
However, as it strictly follows their writing rules, their editing style can be too square, limiting the possibilities of correctly using these “common writing mistakes” like adverbs and passive voice.
We recommend Hemingway as a second or third advisor that gives you a more stylish review of your text but keep in mind that your own point of view and interpretation counts. Follow the suggestions you see to improve your text’s understanding and leave behind the corrections that don’t add that much.
Many great editing tools
It follows a strict set of rules that can condition your writing
Checks for grammar mistakes and focuses on style
Some editing tools flag mistakes but don't suggest how to improve them
Online free version
Its paid version is not expensive and it’s a one-time payment
Is the Hemingway App For You?
Now, you may be wondering, is the Hemingway the app for me?
Well, we think it is if you:
If you are a college student who constantly has to write all types of assignments, we think Hemingway is worth the shot.
But remember to always follow your instinct when looking at their corrections. Don’t let the rules of the app limit your own style, but also be open to taking those corrections if you see they truly improve the clarity of your text.
We hope you found this review helpful. If writing is not your strength, you can always count on Gradehacker to help you with your assignments. We help students like you with their essays, classes, and even their entire degrees, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
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