Six Essential Tools No Writer Can Live Without

The Internet is an endless resource for writers, but sometimes it’s hard to find a web site or tool that will be beneficial to you.  To help out, we’ve collected six great online tools for your use.  Each site below is equally unique and fun.  You’ll find yourself wondering how you ever wrote without these incredible tools.

Word Counter – www.wordcounter.com

You know that girl from, like, way back in high school that, like, said the same word, like, all the time? What if there was a tool that could show that girl that she says the same word way too much?  Well it might be too late to help that girl from your high school, but it’s not too late to help yourself. Word Counter is a handy site that picks out your most frequently used words in a body of text.  Just copy and paste your text to the web site and it will handpick the words you use most.  This is also useful to find words that would work best as tags if you plan to post your work on a blog or social networking site.

Grammar Girl –  grammar.quickanddirtytips.com

Not everyone is a grammar nerd, but thankfully the Grammar Girl is one grammar nerd who wants to help us out.  Grammar Girl creator, Mignon Fogarty, is an expert at “Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.”  The difference between the Grammar Girl and other grammar blogs is this “quick and dirty” aspect.  Most Grammar Girl posts take about two minutes to read, but each post is filled with helpful information and relevant examples.  In addition to grammar, the Grammar Girl posts about word choice, punctuation, and style.  Recent posts on the site include “E-mail or Email?” and “When to Capitalize Seasons”.  Not only can you access these tips through the Grammar Girl web site, but you can also view tips through Twitter and Podcasts.

Grammar Comics on The Oatmeal  –  www.theoatmeal.com/tag/grammar     

Grammar can be a tough subject to tackle.  Make it fun with some grammar comics from The Oatmeal, a web site that uses comics to illustrate basic rules of grammar.  The Oatmeal uses Internet jokes and fun images to make grammar funny and memorable.  Check out “How to Use a Semicolon: The Most Feared Punctuation on Earth” for a highly entertaining grammar lesson featuring a gorilla wearing a party hat.

One Look Reverse Dictionary – www.onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml

For those moments when the word you want is on the tip of your tongue, there’s The One Look Reverse Dictionary.  This web site allows writers to describe an idea and get a list of related ideas and words.  For example, I looked up “science of atoms” and the resulting words varied from “chemistry” to “microphysics” to “periodic table.”  Bookmark this tool to never be at a loss for words again.

Visuwords – www.Visuwords.com

This web site is a tool that creates a word map around a word of your choice.  When you type a word into the search bar, you will get a map of definitions and synonyms among other helpful related words and topics.  The map also differentiates between parts of speech so you can quickly find nouns, adjectives, or verbs.  Visuwords is like a futuristic thesaurus.  Not only can you find words and concepts that are similar to one another, but you can also see a visual interpretation of how these words intertwine.  On the left is a screen shot of the word map for poetry.

Professional Writing OSU Twitter – www.twitter.com/profwritingosu

For more tools, tricks, and tips for writers, check out our Professional Writing twitter.  Each day we post videos, web sites, blog posts, and more to assist students and businesses in their professional writing pursuits.  For all things professional writing, visit www.twitter.com/profwritingosu.

With these six essential web sites, you now have the power to master every aspect of grammar, look up words using phrases and concepts, and figure out which words you use the most when writing (for this blog post our most-used words are “word” and “grammar”).  We hope you find these web sites to be helpful in all your writing pursuits.  Have fun experimenting with each site.  In the comments, send us a link to any of your favorite online tools that we missed.

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