If you’ve ever used Grammarly before you know how helpful it is. You also know how irritating the mistake alerts can be. You spend hours on writing the text you think is great, and then Grammarly greets you with this.
If you got tired by this already, here’s what you should focus on to reduce this number to the minimum.
First off, make sure you set the goals correctly. If you’re writing a blog post for your NGO website, here’s what you should probably check in the assistant.
Adjust the goals to the type of text you’re writing, but if you want to reach the biggest audience, this is the basic setting you should follow.
Misspelled words are one of the biggest reasons your Grammarly assistant fires up with red. It’s obvious, and you do know how to spell words properly. The thing is, if you spend a considerable part of your day writing, or write in a rush, you misspell words all the time.
This is why double checking the spelling is always a good idea.
Some words may be marked as misspelled because of regional variety. Grammarly doesn’t always pick on them, and it’s not a big deal if it does highlight them.
Note, that sometimes Grammarly makes mistakes too.
This is another rookie mistake that professionals do. You often forget to place a word where it has to be if you write rather fast. Grammarly doesn’t always detect this so you will need to double check this on your own.
The words that get left out the most are the pronouns and auxiliary words.
Incorrect comma placement
Commas can be tricky to grasp. Especially so if you’re writing fast and put a comma after every conjunction, or don’t put commas at all.
The most common mistakes when it comes to punctuation are:
- Missing comma in a compound predicate
- Missing comma between coordinate adjectives
- Missing comma between independent clauses
- Comma between dependent clauses
- Comma splice
Punctuation is too big of a topic for this post alone. In a nutshell, place a comma between items of a list and place a comma between coordinate clauses. Don’t place a comma between subordinate clauses and in the place where a full stop would suit better. This will help you with the majority of mistakes.
For in-depth knowledge, check out Grammarly’s post on commas.
If a word is overused in the article or repeated in the same paragraph, it will be highlighted by Grammarly Pro. Here’s the sentence about eloquence you saw earlier with the assistant on.
Grammarly highlights it because the word “eloquence” appears too often here, and offers you substitutes.
This is very handy, as often you may not pay attention to one word, and keep abusing it. This can happen if you’re writing on a specific theme and you have to go out of your way to come up with synonyms.
However, as is with the case of “eloquence,” Grammarly’s advice can be redundant. It’s a basic rule of three, and there’s nothing bad with repeating some words for dramatic effect.
If you want to keep the number of highlighted mistakes down to the minimum, you have to forget about overused words. Grammarly forces you to break conventions and think outside of the box when it comes to wording.
However, don’t treat Grammarly as a machine that knows better than you. For the most part, you can go with the overused word if it’s not overused in your article.
In this case, if you don’t have the word “huge” appear ten times in your text, you can skip this tip.
Other tips like this are more useful.
If you want to make your NGO content perfect for Grammarly, you have to be sure your readers understand you. Grammarly doesn’t just check spelling and punctuation, it tries to help your customers understand your content.
If you have a word that has many meanings, you may want to stick to a more precise synonym. This is especially critical if it can be understood both ways in the context.
Keeping your content fit for Grammarly means being brief but meaningful. No reader wants to read three words when they can read one without the loss of meaning.
Cut down on the wordiness, and Grammarly will rank your content higher.
One of the most important lessons William Strunk gives in the Elements of Style is this: “Use the active voice. The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive.”
The book is almost a century old, but the advice is as relevant as ever. Avoid using the passive voice, and you’ll get far less yellow highlights in Grammarly.
If you are using HR software for your writers, this is the point you should include in the guidelines for them.
Your readers will appreciate this because it’s hard to tell a compelling story with a lot of passive voice constructions.
It’s a common mistake that is easy to make even for a professional. When you write about something, you keep all the information you write about in mind. It’s easy to slip and write “this” or “they” because you know what it refers to.
Once you reread the text, the connection becomes unclear.
In this case, it was unclear what “this” refers to, and the paragraph before this one needed some changes to clarify that.
A sentence fragment is a group of words that looks like a sentence but isn’t one. Here’s an example.
On this own, this sentence wouldn’t make any sense. It only makes sense in the context. Avoid these, or at least provide sufficient context for them.
Monotony rarely pops up in your Grammarly mistakes, but it hurts the reading process rather badly. A group of sentences with a similar length and structure will be highlighted as monotonous.
Avoid this mistake by alternating sentence lengths at least every two sentences. This makes reading a lot easier.
If you click on the performance button, you will get a lot of statistics about your text. One of them is the readability score.
If the score is too above average, you will be missing a chunk of your audience. Make sure you don’t overuse long words and sentences as well as overly complicated words if you’re making content for the average people.
You can’t be perfect
Grammarly isn’t a perfect tool. It constantly highlights something that doesn’t need fixing. You aren’t a perfect writer. You will misspell words, miss commas, and create unclear sentences.
It’s okay though. You two make a perfect team to create perfect texts.
Over to you
Share your thoughts about writing great content for your nonprofit in the comment section below. I’m really looking forward to reading your comments.