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Are there any simple efficient tools or programs that will help me in editing by detecting and/or marking adverbs? This is mostly to get rid of word bloat.

  • Can be migrated here: softwarerecs.stackexchange.com if you mean tools strictly to be a piece of software – Karan Desai Aug 3 '17 at 8:05
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    I'd suggest a more preemptive approach: remove all the adverb keys from your keyboard. Seriously, there is nothing wrong with adverbs. Any word, any part of speech can be used inappropriately. You need to train your ear to the sound and effect of great prose by reading great writers with attention. Pay attention to the whole of the sentence, the paragraph, the story, not the individual words. You are never going to become a good writer by employing an adverb whacking machine. – user16226 Aug 3 '17 at 11:01
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    Even if there's software that does this, you'll get better results by reading your work yourself and marking adverbs (and adverb phrases and adjectives, etc.) that feel clumsy and heavy-handed. – Ken Mohnkern Aug 3 '17 at 12:47
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    No, but that does not change the basic human tendency to guess at solutions to their problem and then ask how to implement that solution. This is just how people think. But the only reasonable response to someone who is asking how to implement the wrong solution is the tell them that it is the wrong solution. As with all questions here, it is harder to prove your answers than it is with a more physical or logical process, which makes all answers here less certain, but it does not change the pattern, nor the appropriate response to the pattern. You can see the pattern at work on every forum. – user16226 Aug 4 '17 at 10:50
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    While I agree with Mark I also know that asking Word to find examples of "ly " in my writing gives me a quick way to scan, for areas that might require a closer look. I'm often surprised by how many adverbs I use. This is not done in place of proper editing, but rather in addition, as an independent 'pass' through the words. – DPT Oct 26 '17 at 20:27
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I personally have been using this service called Hemingway App. They have it freely online or you can pay 19 dollars to download a desktop version. They mark adverbs and all other issues with your writing such as if the sentence could be potentially hard to read. Some times it flags sentences that sound normal or okay to me, but as I sit there and think about it and work on rewording it, ultimately I come out with something that at least I think sounds better, less wordy and easier to understand. I am use to academic and technical writing so my word choices some times reflect that. I also have a bad habit of writing really long sentences, so by it marking those as difficult to read, it allows me to chop them up and think of better ways of wording it.

  • Language Log on '"Hemingway" on Hemingway': Mark Liberman found that it evaluated some passages from the real Hemingway as "Bad", "OK", "Bad", "OK", "OK". The app also apparently produced the gem "3 adverbs. Aim for 0 or fewer." – aer Oct 26 '17 at 19:32
  • @sumelic yes, by no means is any app like this perfect, especially when they have a free version. You still need to go through the proper channels of editing and testing. I found that app to be a nice free alternative. Even if you don't use it's advice, you can still use it to help improve on things, or not. As I said in my post, a few sentences I initially thought were okay (but not according to the app), I eventually rewrote into something I felt were stronger and better sentences. The only true way is to hire an editor but the tool helps to some degree. – ggiaquin16 Oct 26 '17 at 19:38
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Another great option is Pro Writing Aid. It has a free version and a paid Pro version. Even the free version has been helpful for me.

It does a lot more than detect adverbs. It runs through your whole story and analyzes like everything. It tells you all sorts of things that are weak with your writing.

It gives you a report on your writing style, on your grammar, overused words, clichés and redundancies, sticky sentences, sentence length, pronoun use, pacing, etc.

It really does a lot.

Plus it integrates into most tools you already use like Word, Scrivener, Open Office, Google Docs, etc.

And it doesn't just tell you what is wrong. There are really detailed explanations about how to improve.

Highly Recommend

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