Do you check blog posts and website articles before clicking Publish in WordPress? Of course you do, but problems still slip through. Catch errors and improve your writing with this plugin.
No matter how many time you check your writing after finishing an article for your website or a blog post, there still might be typing slips and grammatical errors in it. The problem is that we don’t read exactly what is written, but what we think it says. In our minds we know what we wanted to say and so that is what we see when we read something we wrote.
It is very hard to spot every mistake in an article.
Web browsers and word processors are quite good at spotting spelling mistakes and they can sometimes even automatically correct them as you type. However, they are not perfect and even if you use something like Microsoft Word to write posts for your site, problems can still occur.
What can you do about it and how can you catch the errors that slip through?
Jetpack spelling and grammar
There are many web services and tools that provide spelling and grammar checkers and Grammarly is one of the best known. However, there are others the Jetpack plugin for WordPress might not be the first tool you think of but has the ability to check your writing before you hit that Publish button.
Jetpack is a very popular plugin that is built into the free sites on wordpress.com but it is also available as a plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites.
Install Jetpack in WordPress
If you don’t already have Jetpack, go to Plugins in the sidebar and click Add New. Enter Jetpack into the search box and then install it from the search results displayed. You need to create an account to get it up and running because some features are provided over the web, but the basic features are free.
Install it and and set it up, then go to Jetpack in the sidebar and then click Settings. Select the Writing tab and a little way down is the Composing section. Turn on the switch, Check your spelling, style and grammar, and then expand the section with the arrow on the right.
Most of the options are initially disabled by default and you must turn on the switches to enable them. The two Proofreading switches do not need to be switched on to use Jetpack’s spelling and grammar checker as we will see in a moment. However, you may find them useful.
The proofreader supports several languages and you can select various options like jargon, passive voice, clichés and so on. Why not turn them all on?
Use Jetpack to check your writing
When you are writing a new post for your site, there is an ABC button in the toolbar and this activates the Jetpack spelling, style and grammar checker. This manual proofreading works whether the two automatic proofreading switches are on or off.
This is actually a toggle switch – click it once to turn it on and click again to turn it off. When it is on, it underlines words and phrases in the text that are either wrong or could be improved. It uses different colours to indicate different types of problem, such as red for spelling mistakes or typing slips, blue and green for grammar and style errors and so on.
Click any underlined text to see the error. A little menu appears with the type of problem listed at the top and a number of options below, which vary according to the nature of the problem. A simple spelling /typing error suggests the correct spelling, with options to ignore it if you know it is right, such as with technical terms that are not commonly used in everyday language.
With some types of error, such as passive voice, it offers to explain. Click the menu option and a window pops up with an explanation and examples of text before and after correction. It is useful if you are not sure about a certain type of grammar or style error.
Using the Jetpack spelling, grammar and style checker is easy. When you have fixed all the problems or when you are happy with the text, click the toolbar button to turn it off. Then go ahead and publish the post.
Remember that this is a plugin and you don’t have to fix everything it highlights. It is simply advice you can act or ignore. You are the boss and you get the final decision on what is right and what is wrong.
Get the Chrome extension
The Jetpack plugin uses After the Deadline to provide the spelling, style and grammar checker. The developer is Automattic, the same as Jetpack and it is available as a Chrome extension.
Go to the Chrome Web Store and get After the Deadline (there is a Firefox add-on too). It adds a button to the toolbar at the right side of the address box in the browser.
Right click the button and select Options to configure the settings, which are identical to the Jetpack settings. Turn on all the switches and you are good to go.
The extension is active on web pages with places where you can enter text. I found it didn’t work in the WordPress post editor, but perhaps this is by design to avoid clashing with the Jetpack plugin which works in the post editor. It works almost everywhere else though.
Here I was entering a meta description for the post:
See the little ABC button in the bottom right corner? Look for it anywhere you type text in web pages and click it to activate the checker. Here it has highlighted two items which it thinks should be checked.
It also works with email too. Here is in Gmail when writing a new email. Click the problems to get suggestions:
The Chrome extension works everywhere the Jetpack plugin doesn’t, in other words, on the rest of the web.
Now there is no excuse for errors in your web articles and blog posts!