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Hemingway App Teaches Students the Art of Economical Writing


Hemingway AppErnest Hemingway liked his martinis dry, his cats six-toed, and his sentences economical. The new Hemingway app doesn’t come with vermouth or felines, but it does promise to make your writing as “punchy and compelling” as Papa’s.

Here’s how it works: You paste your copy into the app and an algorithm color-codes it. If you’ve pontificated, a chief Hemingway sin, the app will tell you so. 

Text highlighted in red denotes a passage that is too long and complex.

Yellow means you need a grammar lesson.

Green shows you where you’ve used passive voice. For example, “He was moved by her” should be rewritten to say, “She moved him.”

Blue text means that you’ve used adverbs. Get rid of those too!

I think students might get a kick out of this. Just to show you how it works, I plugged in a paragraph from one of my blogs. 

hemingway app

According to Hemingway, I am not quite a hack, but close. One of my sentences was overwrought; another was super overwrought. My other vice: I write at a grade 13 level. “Scrap it!” says Ernest.

If you’re teaching Hemingway, or looking for another activity to pair with your lessons about Papa, check out one of our other blogs, “Teaching Flash Fiction: A Novel in Six Words.”

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