Recently I downloaded the updated version of the Smart-Edit software I’d described below at http://bit.ly/12iU9nZ. I ran my work-in-progress through it even though I’d already made corrections based on the last analysis. Guess what? The program still found problems for me to fix.
Redundancies caught me this time. Here are some examples:
I started off
I flung myself backward from whence I’d come
Under Punctuation, the program pointed out I had two straight apostrophes. These were easy fixes.
Under Acronyms, I discovered I’d shortened medical examiner three different ways—M.E., ME, and M.E missing the final period. I changed them all to the first one. It’s great having a second set of eyes like this to find mistakes.
The program counts curly and straight apostrophes and quote marks. It found two straight apostrophes instead of curly ones. Under punctuation problems, it alerted me that I hadn’t eliminated all the extra spaces.
More new findings:
Overused phrases: “gave me a”, “hands on”, “thank goodness”
Repeated words –“when” 204 times
Possible misused words: Different from or different than, eager or anxious, less than or fewer than. (I’m not sure I understand which one to use. Do you know?)
The new edition also lets you work in word processing software, but I didn’t use this feature.
I repeat my recommendation to try one of these programs after your last round of polishing. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve missed.
Here’s a list of programs, some suggested by readers of my earlier column. I’ve only tried the first two and they’re similar in tasks. They don’t replace the read-throughs you need to do for yourself. Rather, they help you pick up errors, repetitive phrasing, redundancies and such that you might have missed.
SELF-EDITING SOFTWARE PROGRAMS