Today I was doing some on-line research on a grammar issue and
I happened on a terrific writing web site: DailyWritingTips
. There’s lots of
very useful information on the site on a wide range of topics. I clicked on a
few topics that were of general interest to me and then I noticed an item
titled: 34 Writing Tips that Will Make You a Better Writer
. Curious, I clicked
The 2007 article was based on tips from readers. While all the
tips were good advice – most are conventional wisdom. But Tip #30, apparently submitted by E.I. Sanchez,
offered a fantastic idea that I’ll certainly put into practice – and so I
wanted to share it.
Here’s Tip 30:
“30. E. I. Sanchez
For large documents, I use Word’s Speech feature to have the computer read the
article back. This allows me to catch errors I have missed – especially missing
words or words that ’sort of sound the same’ but are spelled differently (e.g.
Front me instead of ‘From me’).”
I had never heard of Microsoft Word’s Speech feature and I
didn’t know if Word 2010 – the version I’m running – had the feature. With a
bit more on-line research I found a simple description of how to enable it – and I did. I’m thrilled to
say that the text-to-speech feature works really well.
Reading your writing aloud has always been a terrific way of
catching clumsy writing and even some typos. Indeed, it is a practice I employ
often. But, I’ve found that when I read my own writing aloud, I don’t always catch
typos because I read too quickly and because my mind knows what I meant to
write and so that’s what I “read” – even though that might not be exactly what’s
on the page.
Word’s Speech function reads at a more reasonable pace than
I read my own stuff, and it read exactly what’s written. I’ve found that by
reading the document on-screen as the document is read aloud to you, there’s a
darned good chance you’ll catch things you wouldn’t catch if you simply read it
Give it a try – I think you’ll find it as helpful as I
do. Thank you E.I. Sanchez!