It is a classic pain and the eternal struggle of an academic writer - to finish a research paper fast and to minimize mistakes at the same time. How many times did you spot a ridiculous omission right after sending an assignment to a client? How many unpleasant letters did you get from the “Editing and Proofreading Department” with mistakes underlined through all the paper which you have been written all night not to violate a deadline?
For those who claim that Ginger doesn’t work as it should, and for those not satisfied with the limited abilities of Grammarly’s free edition, we prepared a list of free online proofreading services. But before you start using them, let's make a small crash test and see what they are capable of.
We took a piece from a real academic paper on Ai Weiwei, shared with us by essaylancer Sasha B., and added 23 mistakes into it to check the efficiency of the proofreading services:
Let’s see how well PaperRater.com, ProofreadBot.com and 1Checker.com will cope with the task.
Mistakes found: 10/23
Additional features: assesses level of the used vocabulary according to the chosen academic level.
PaperRater provides you with an adequate assessment of your style regarding the needed academic level. It allows you to select the type and the level of your paper and gives a feedback based on the word choice according to this data. For example, it can mention that your word choice is 30% better than detected in the similar type/level articles checked.
PaperRater has a paid extension and also offers a personalized proofreading and editing done by a professional writer, which can be of great help for PhD and Master’s students.
But what about mistakes? Not that good as expected. It found 7 spelling and 3 grammar mistakes and gave several suggestions on style and word choice.
Hmmm…. A bit disappointed.
Mistakes found: 6/23
Additional features: gives detailed explanation of mistakes, though often not related to the text in question.
The website is clean, basic, and free. No hidden payments are demanded after several proofreads. It is a kind of a self-learning program: you can teach it some mistakes it didn’t grasp, and with a high probability, it will do better next time. If you spot mistakes it didn't find and send a well-grounded report, ProofReadBot is eager to provide you with 25 000 words of free PRO check. We have filed a report but still didn't get a reply.
From the first try, in this 107-word piece, ProofReadBot managed to find 88 mistakes. Later it said 6 and after the third try it got angry for our distrust and stopped highlighting mistakes at all. At the same time, we still got a report. It spotted double negative construction, 2 spelling mistakes and several cases of “gender insensitive language,” insisting on replacing all cases of "he" with "one" or "individual."
Not enough, ProofReadBot, not enough.
Mistakes found: 16/23
Additional features: assesses level of the used vocabulary, provides an illustrative report.
It is a software which you need to install on your PC. It is light, checked for viruses, easy to use and impressively efficient. It spotted 16 mistakes in our text, even very tricky ones, gave grammar and spelling suggestions and presented a preliminary analysis in a form of an infographic. This program is completely free and can be of a great help for an academic writer not willing to pay for a premium account on Grammarly.
When summarizing the rating of these online proofreading services, 1Checker definitely receives the highest score. PaperRater gets the second prize, with special Audience Award for a thorough assessment of the academic vocabulary used. Unfortunately, we can recommend ProofReadBot only for papers on Gender Studies.
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