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Check your English writing using this free online ESL grammar checker:

Copy and paste your text into the text area, click "Check spelling" or "Check grammar." For speech recognition, click on the microphone icon and begin speaking.

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What is the Virtual Writing Tutor?

This online proofreader helps writers count words, check spelling, check grammar and punctuation, check paraphrasing, improve word choice, self-assess the use of target structures, and master English pronunciation. It also trains learners and novice teachers to become better proofreaders with an error correction game on the My Profile page. This website is 100% free to use, and membership is free. Read on to learn more.

Word Counter

To check your word count, copy-paste your text into the text area above and click Word Count. The results will appear below the text area. Knowing the number of words in your essay, blog post, article, report, academic paper, short story, or book will help you respect the minimum and maximum limits set by your professor, editor, or client. The word counter will also count your sentences and calculate your sentence length. This feature is useful if you are aiming for a more conversational style with a shorter average sentence length, or if you are aiming for a more academic style with longer sentences.

Spell Checker

Click Check Spellling and misspelled words will be underlined in red inside the text area. Left-click on misspelled words to see spelling suggestions. Currently, I use a standard international dictionary, but I can add custom entries. Contact me if you get tired of seeing your name (or some other word) flagged as being misspelled when it isn't.

Grammar Checker

To check your grammar, click on the Check Grammar button. The system will check for common punctuation errors, common grammar mistakes and ESL grammar errors, false cognates, contextual spelling errors, and word choice errors. The results of the grammar-check are listed below the text area. You must scroll down to see the suggested corrections. The reason for putting correction advice down below is simple. When learners scroll down to read the correction advice and then scroll up to make the correction, I believe that there is a better chance that they will remember the correction in the future.

The Virtual Writng Tuotor's grammar and punctuation checker feature is powered by a modified LanguageTool system. The difference between these two systems is that the Virtual Writing Tutor grammar checker has thousands of additional error detection rules to catch common ESL grammar errors. These are error detection rules I created while correcting my French-speaking students' English second language writing for my college ESL classes.

Vocabulary Checker

To check your vocabulary, click on the Vocabulary Checker button. This will open a list of options to choose from.

Academic and conversational vocabulary → Click this link to list all of the words that make your text seem particularly academic or conversational. Aim to use academic vocabulary for your school work and to reserve conversational words for blog posts and fiction.
Cliches and power words → Bloggers should select this option to check for expressions that have lost their original impact because of overuse (cliches) and to count the types of words that elicit powerful emotional reactions in readers (power words). Eliminate cliches; they're boring. Include power words; they're engaging.
Field-related vocabulary → If you are learning English for professional or academic purposes, click on Field-related vocabulary to see which words in your text are related to the 47 fields of study on FieldRelated.com. The system can display the best match, the three best matches, or the ten best matches. Each match is shown with a link to additional field-related readings, listenings, and glossaries to help you extend your field-related learning.
Target Structures → English Second Language teachers often ask their students to use certain target structures in their writing. This tool checks for comma-separated lists of words in your writing, displaying and numbering sentences that contain a word or phrase from your list. List items can be case-sensitive or case-insensitive. Useful lists to use with this tool can be found here.

Paraphrase Checker

Try the Paraphrase Checker the next time you want to use other people's ideas in your writing. Remember that ideas are free, but the expression of those ideas is owned by the original author. Good writers must, therefore, learn to paraphrase effectively and give credit where credit is due to avoid accusations of plagiarism. Remember that it is very easy for professors to catch plagiarism these days.

The Virtual Writing Tutor can help you improve your paraphrasing skills quickly. Here's how. Draft your paraphrase, click on the Paraphrase Checker button, and copy-paste the source text into the text box. Click Check, and the paraphrase checker will compare your text to the original text. It will underline words and phrases that are common to both texts. In addition, it will calculate the similarity of the two texts with a score. For optimal results, check one sentence at a time, and aim for a paraphrase score below 50%.

Essay Outliner

By clicking the Essay Outliner button, members will be able to get help creating essay outlines for three common academic discourse models: the opinion essay, the prioritized list essay, and the argument essay. This module is not finished yet. Stay tuned.

My Feedback and Links

Members can see texts and feedback from past grammar checks. Clicking the My Feedback and Links button is a great way to review your errors. You can also see a prioritized summary of the links that were generated with the feedback your receive. In this way, the Virtual Writing Tutor generates a personalized curriculum for each member.

Error Correction Game

Members can play a game on the My Profile page that provides practice finding and correcting common second language errors. There are 1000 sentneces in the database to practice with. Membership is free.

Disclaimer and Suggested Alternatives

This website is a work in progress, so I cannot guarantee that the system will catch every error in every text or that the advice and corrections will always be perfect. If you are not happy with this website, I can suggest a few others: Grammarly or LanguageTool or GramCheck or SpellCheckPlus or AftertheDeadline or GrammarCheck or Ginger or you can always learn more about grammar checkers and their limitations on Wikipedia.