Writing remains a staple of contemporary education. An average student writes about 1,000 pages per academic year. Your knowledge, skills, and effort are assessed through papers you hand in – over and over. Whether it’s an essay on history or a lab report on chemistry, your writing speaks for you way more often than you do. Since so much of your academic success hinges on your written eloquence, poor writing skills can land you with subpar grades despite studying hard and being knowledgeable on the subject.
However, writing doesn’t come easily to everyone. Sometimes, writing is a struggle, and all your bright thoughts and clever arguments wither on paper and leave an underwhelming impression. Maybe someday we will come up with a better way to teach and learn, but right now, your only option is to up your writing game.
Luckily, there is a plethora of online resources and tools for those who need help with writing, and most of them are absolutely free! We have hand-picked the ten most helpful, so all you have to do is grab them and use them to your advantage.
Editing Tools for Help with Writing
This is probably the most popular website to help students with writing. It is absolutely free, but you have to register an account for personalized help and statistics. The app gives you detailed feedback on your texts: provides clarity, engagement, and delivery scores, detects grammar, spelling, and vocabulary issues, and suggests ways to fix them.
Grammarly exists as a browser version and as an MS Word extension that you install on your device. You can also upgrade to a Premium subscription to get additional suggestions. For example, how to make your text more engaging, how to avoid monotonous passages, etc. You will also be able to adjust your delivery for the right impression with the audience by tweaking the parameters, such as formality, friendliness, confidence, etc.
Named after a writer known best for his lapidary style and precision, Hemingway Editor is geared towards shaving all unnecessary fluff off your text – much like cutting a rough diamond to let it shine. Type your text directly into the editor window or paste it from your usual word processor after you’ve done some initial editing. Hemingway Editor color-codes the issues like word use, complex sentences, weak expressions, etc., and highlights them in your text.
It also sores your text for readability and provides key metrics like the number of words, characters, letters, sentences, and paragraphs, which is particularly handy for short essays with word/character limits. The best part? All you need is an open browser window – no subscription, no account, no strings attached.
Academic Paper Writing Help
When you need help writing a paper for college, this is probably the most reliable paper writing service out there. For students struggling with a particular format of school or college paper, studying and emulating samples can be a great way to learn about academic language, structure, argumentative rhetoric, objective tone of voice, citations, etc.
PaperHelp prepares custom samples in nearly a hundred subject areas and on various academic levels – high school through Ph.D. Their services also include editing, proofreading, research assistance, homework help by subject, and more. There is also a blog for students with writing guides, higher education discussions, and lifestyle tips to smart you up for campus life.
Among companies providing academic writing help online, this one stands out due to the abundance of free content you can get on their website. This little essay helper will make you feel like Christmas came early. There is an essay database with over 90,000 model college and university papers written by professional academic writers or donated by students. If you need to write, say, a case study, you have more than 4,600 examples of this format to learn from. Free samples are available for any visitor without signing up. If you choose to buy a subscription, you will get access to a whopping million samples in the Premium database.
On top of that, WowEssays offers free writing tools, such as spellchecker, readability checker, GPA calculator, words to pages converter, word frequency counter, case converter, citation generator, and many more.
Writing Help Website and Blog Resources
You spent last semester memorizing APA guidelines, and now your new instructor has specified Turabian for the next research paper? The Purdue University Online Writing Lab, affectionately named OWL, is your first port of call when you need information on various citation styles and formatting requirements. Proper citation is the only way to reference the works of others in your writing and avoid plagiarism, so bookmark this website!
This resource has loads of helpful information on general writing, particular styles, grammar, punctuation, text structure and visual rhetoric, writing process, and so on. However, the top of the list for most students is their extensive guide on academic writing skills that looks in detail at each particular paper format.
Mignon Fogarty and her quick and dirty tips on writing are a godsend for both language enthusiasts and struggling students who desperately want to make writing less boring. Her blog is full of entertaining posts on the surprising origins of words, pronunciation quirks, and ways to memorize tricky grammar rules.
Want to know once and for all when to say “affect” and when “effect”? Ever wondered whether it’s rude to correct someone’s grammar? Wish someone would finally explain to you what’s up with the passive voice and why it is suddenly so reviled by everyone (that was on purpose, by the way)? Mignon has all the answers and excels at explaining even the most complicated things engagingly and with an inimitable sense of humor.
Online Writing Help for ESL Students
This website is a massive collection of tools for learning and teaching English as a second language. Go there for tests and quizzes to check your grammar and reading comprehension, for references to learn the meaning of English idioms, phrasal verbs, and grammar terms, or for details on English grammar and usage.
There are also forums with a supportive community, free e-books, and text analysis tools designed specifically as English writing help for international learners.
If you want to sound and write like a native speaker, you will need to grow your vocabulary. One of the great ways to do it quickly is using an online dictionary. Thesaurus provides synonyms and antonyms for any word you type in, along with its pronunciation. Another great thing about it is definition suggestions, which are also handy for learners. For example, if you search the word “list,” Thesaurus returns three sets of synonyms – one for each meaning of the word.
If you need a detailed definition and usage examples, just switch between the dictionary.com and thesaurus.com tabs or click “See definition on Dictionary.com” next to the word.
Advanced Writing Resources
Creative Writing Specialization from Coursera
Coursera is a well-known free online learning platform making courses from the best college and universities available for everyone. If you aim to polish your creative writing and want to apply your skills professionally, Coursera has gathered a series of free courses from Wesleyan University. It is aimed at beginners with no prior experience, takes about 6 months to complete, and offers subtitles in 10 languages for overseas learners. You can enroll in the Creative Writing Specialization directly or choose any specific course you are interested in.
If you complete all courses in the specialization and submit a hands-on project, you can earn a shareable certificate to show your future employers. However, you may also take only one class and stop your education whenever you want – it’s up to you.
The website of Poynter Institute for Media Studies is geared towards non-profit journalists and reporters. The News University project hosted here is of particular interest. It offers online courses, webinars, and learning games for journalism training – TV news, visual storytelling, building a personal brand, diversity, etc. Some of these courses are paid, while some are absolutely free.
On top of blogs and helpful tools, Poynter offers such valuable resources as fake news blacklist, media literacy channels for Gen-Z and seniors, and a code of ethics for fact-checking organizations. There are also many training resources, including e-learning, in-person training, and custom training. If you are thinking about a career in journalism, definitely bookmark Poynter.org. By the way, they list media job openings on their homepage, so this might be your ticket to a dream job.