Prose Editing

One of the best ways to improve writing is by eliminating words that are too complicated or repetitive. In the heat of the moment, we all tend to use words and phrases which need improvement. That is what editing is for. The Hemingway editor does this but I don’t want to switch between Scrivener and another editor.

I seek to omit things like:
using the passive-voice, run-on sentences, repeated words, overuse of adverbs, identification of sentences which are too complicated.

Are there any plans to build prose editing into Scrivener?

I second this motion. Numero uno on my list would be looking for the passive voice. I think Scrivener should incorporate some form of advanced grammar checking above and beyond what the macOS and Windows OS provide out of the box. Maybe a custom link-up to Grammarly, if you’re a subscriber to that service, or maybe a home-grown grammar checker that looks for basic things like passive voice, oft-repeated words, capitalization, subject-verb agreement, etc., or that uses an open-source grammar checking solution as its core engine. Or that uses the OS native grammar service, but builds on it to incorporate more features aimed at professional writers. Obviously this is beyond the scope of Scrivener’s original intent as a pure composition and formatting tool, but it would be great if it could be added as a bonus.


Keith —

Please say No.


I second this motion.

And I support it too.

Me too. (Looks like it’s old-timer curmudgeon week … :slight_smile: )

I’m an old-timer … can I be a curmudgeon too, please! :slight_smile:

Please, please say no! Let those who want to dumb down their text to the lowest common denominator use an app designed for that purpose.


Of course sir. Of course. We even let Mr K join the club once, that should prove we are not all that exclusive.

While I think the original request is what is called “a bad idea”, I do see where this might be useful in a few cases. That said, I don’t think those cases could justify addition into the core of scriv. Having now said that, in another thread is was mentioned that some apple txt kit features should be available once scriv is 64bit, which happens to be one of the upsides to scriv v3. With that now off my chest, KB is one who supports the right of an individual to do thing that are not really “the smart thing” (he has not blocked me or Mr K as of yet) so maybe, just maybe, these features would find a place in v3+.

My largest issue with this idea… Since when have the “rules” actually mattered when it comes to writing? I enjoy playing with words and do not want a pile of squiggles telling me I have to comply with a rule that destroys the rhythm of what I’m working on. “My voice”, as others have often called the way an individual writer … writes, should be unique to me and not some automate clone of grammar rules.

But that’s just my uneducated opinion. Not really worth much, to be honest. Still, no less valid than anyone else’s.


The suggestion to incorporate various kinds of grammar checking into Scrivener have been discussed a good deal on this forum. For those interested in the extant takeaway on that, it might be worth a forum search. (This forum has a rich history, so such searches are often very worthwhile.)


Wot’s wrong with passive voices? :open_mouth: Wish my in-laws had 'em!

Well… over here we all bully the passive person which means you need to “BE AGGRESSIVE! BE! BE! AGGRESSIVE!” to be noticed.

I wonder if that is as funny on your side of the pond. I fell off my chair laughing at my own joke.

Having spent most of my life not wishing to be noticed—I have two titles for my autobiography if I ever write it … “Taking the back seat”, or better “Once more into the woodwork …”—I suppose I ought to invest in a suit of armour! :unamused:

But, to go back to the topic, I find myself wondering how many times a day those who keep telling us that “the passive is too difficult to understand” actually use the passive in everyday speech … it’s so much a part of natural English grammar, as it is used (note the construction) for theme maintenance in discourse, that my guess is “Very often!”

And I am reminded (note the construction) of a wonderful occasion during the period when life had consigned me to trying to teach English to young Swiss, when the following conversation happened in class when I was having to try to teach them how to use the passive:

Student: Why are we wasting time learning the passive?
Me: We are not wasting time. What makes you say that?
Student: I asked my landlady (always an indication that rubbish is about to follow!) and she said we are wasting time because the passive is never used in English (my emphasis).

Being the nice guy I am really, I did not fall about laughing!


I abhor aggressive behaviour, in all of its myriad guises, with every fibre of my being. Give me the subtly sadistic any day!

Which begs the question, "Just what kind of woman was this ‘Landlady’?

Passive voice is like saffron, in my opinion. It doesn’t take much to markedly color and flavor the whole dish.

Sports commentators are the WORST at passive voice. Ever listen to Mike Goldberg dictate a UFC fight? It’s painful, the tortured passive voice sentences he could create.

And yes, some people use it more than others – and I always find them hard to listen to. I don’t know what the magic ratio is, but it sure seems to exist.

When all is said and done, I take it Scrivener will not incorporate the option to seek out the various (not just passive voice) items I listed.
Oh well. :unamused:

Do people actually use the Hemingway app :open_mouth: . I experimented with it recently having read about it elsewhere, and couldn’t believe what it was suggesting. Its sole purpose, from what I could see, is to reduce English to a pidgin language.

These tools seem most popular with folks who wish to BE writers without learning to write.

What a snobbish bunch! Not everyone who writes has to be some yellow-fingered wizened prose master whose only purpose in life is to shine their literary pearl to syntactic perfection. If there are tools which may help people improve their written work, especially those who are non-native and write because they must (workers, academics etc.) not because an oracle prophesied they would win the Nobel Prize in Literature, then more power to them… :stuck_out_tongue:

But that’s the point. My brief experience with the Hemingway app (which is the only tool I mentioned) is that it will not improve anyone’s written work. And it is marketed as an artificial ‘yellow-fingered wizened prose master’. At least I’m pretty sure that’s its tag line.