by Nikolas Baron
It’s smart. It’s fast. It’s always there for you when you need it. It’s the Internet. The Internet is the great equalizer when it comes to writing on an academic level. Even teens who do not have a genius IQ level or a college English professor for a parent can produce top-notch essays for college admissions or ace a final exam with the help of online writing tools.
As a function of my work with Grammarly, I have personally investigated the ways teenagers write and what they use in an attempt to improve their writing in English. I have seen a lot of misguided and frustrated young writers. The good news is that I have also discovered three amazing online tools that will take the mystery out of the writing process and send you along the path to well-written paragraphs that your mother will be begging to hang on the refrigerator door.
Tool #1: Grammarly.com
While most word-processing programs come equipped with spell-checking functions, grammar is something that is traditionally left in the figurative hands of textbooks and style manuals. Grammarly is a revolutionary new tool that performs a grammar check complete with suggestions for correction. All that you have to do is copy and paste your writing sample into the grammar checker. Within moments, Grammarly will examine your entire text for spelling, grammar, and even word choice errors. You can read the custom report of your mistakes and receive suggestions for correction. The comprehensive, instant results will help your document be all that it can be, even if you procrastinate until the day of the deadline to polish up that final copy. Try the service today at http://www.grammarly.com.
Tool #2: Dictionary.com
I would venture to guess that the dusty dictionary sitting on your desk does not talk to you. If it does, seek professional help immediately. All jokes aside, one of the best features of the Dictionary.com site is the talking dictionary, which helps you to pronounce as well as define words. Students often confuse words that sound or are spelled alike. Dictionary.com helps eliminate this danger with its pronunciation service and by listing commonly confused words so that you do not make embarrassing mistakes. There are also easy links on the main page to the other related sites offering translation, thesaurus, and reference tools, to name a few. Try the service now at http://dictionary.reference.com.
Tool #3: Google Docs
If you are a homeschool student who likes to collaborate with others, Google Docs is a service that you want to bring home to meet the parents. In your online drive, you can store copies of documents that you can access later wherever you have an Internet connection. You can make these documents private or create a public account that you and other classmates can use to share, edit, and comment on each other’s Word documents or spreadsheets. If you can develop familiarity with this product, it would be a definite plus for your résumé and put you a step above entry level candidates when you are ready to enter the career world. You can explore the capabilities of this service at https://drive.google.com.
With these three tools at your disposal, there is no writing project that you will be unable to master. You have a few options. You can spend a few hours staring at a blank page in frustration. You can hand in a mediocre manuscript covered with tears of despair. Or you can turn on your laptop and have the help that you need with a few clicks of the mouse. The choice is yours.
Copyright 2013. Used by permission of the publisher. Originally posted at The Homeschooling Teen, November 1, 2013.