List of Checks

This page was replaced with Rules. Checks are now obsolete and are here only as reference.

Title Body Check Type
Absolute Adjectives and Modifiers Grammar
Adverbs do not modify nouns Adverbs do not modify nouns, so try converting this adverb to an adjective or place it closer to the adjective or the verb. Grammar
Change of Tense The first verb in a sentence establishes the tense of any verb that comes later. If you begin writing in the past, don’t change to the present. Similarly, if you begin writing in the present, don’t change to the past. Incorrect: In the story, the king loses his kingdom, but he regained everything in the end. Correct: In the story, the king loses his kingdom, but he regains everything in the end.... Grammar
Comma Before Nonrestrictive Relative Clause Use “that” restrictively, and “which” nonrestrictively. The easy way to remember: which is preceded by a comma; that is not (in 99% of the cases). This check makes sure you have a comma before which. Grammar
Comma Splice A comma splice is the use of a comma to join two independent clauses. Grammar
Conjunctive Adverb - Comma if at start of sentence A Conjunctive Adverb must be followed by a comma if you position it at the beginning of the sentence to indicate result, concession, apposition, addition, time, contrast, summary, or reinforcement. Grammar
Conjunctive Adverb - Joining Clauses Conjunctive Adverbs in the middle of the sentence should only join independent clauses, and only with a semi colon before and a comma after: The gods thundered in the heavens; furthermore, the mortals below cowered in fear.  Dr. Wheeler is a grammar tyrant; thus, he requires correct punctuation Grammar
Double Comparative A type of faulty comparison is the double comparative when a comparative ending in "er" follows words like "more" or "less". For example, instead of "more tastier" you would say tastier. Grammar
Double Preposition Some grammarians argue that two consecutive prepositions should be avoided. Grammar
Double Superlative A type of faulty comparison is the double superlative when a superlative ending in "est" follows words like "most" or "least". For example, instead of "most brightest" you would say brightest. Grammar
Fused Sentence A fused sentence misses proper punctuation between clauses, and this check identifies such sentences and guesses the part of the sentence where you combine two clauses without proper separation. For solving these issues, study the in-depth explanations in the references. Grammar
Hyphenate comparative and superlative adjectives when compoundeded with modifiers Comparative and superlative forms of adjectives are hyphenated when compounded with other modifiers (for example,"shorter-term loan"). Grammar
Hyphenate noun-plus-adjective compound modifiers Hyphenate noun-plus-adjective compounds - when they occur in that order - whether used attributively (before the noun) or predicatively (after the noun) (for example, \"duty-free goods\", \"goods that are duty-free\"). Grammar
Hyphenate number plus noun compound modifiers Hyphenate compound adjectives in which one element is a cardinal or ordinal number (whether a figure or a word) and the other a noun (for example, "six-month period", "12-person capacity"). The introduction of the "open" style into the 1985 Statute Revision (for example, six month period) has been superseded. Grammar
Incomplete Alternative Comparison This check is as good as it gets. Use "as adjective as" to make an alternative comparison.  Grammar
Incomplete Comparison Make sure that if you start a comparison you finish it with a clause starting "than". Grammar
Indefinite Article - Subject Agreement Indefinite articles, a/an, take singular nouns only. Incorrect: "A big beds of roses" Correct: "A big bed of roses" Grammar
Irregular Verbs - Past Tense Dozens of English verbs have irregular verbs. This check verifies you are using the proper form. Grammar
No article before preposition You shouldn't place a determiner before a preposition. For example: Many flowers are the on table. => Many flowers are on the table. Grammar
No Comma Before Restrictive Relative Clause Use “that” restrictively, and “which” nonrestrictively. The easy way to remember: which is preceded by a comma; that is not (in 99% of the cases). Grammar
Possessive Determiner Pronoun before Gerund The use of a possessive determiner pronoun before a gerund lends formality. Grammar
Preposition at end of sentence Some grammarians argue that you should not use prepositions at the end of a sentence, others say that such an idiomatic expression is a valuable resource to the English language. Grammar
Proper Nouns Do Not Take Articles Proper nouns (e.g. John, Alice and India) do not take articles.  Incorrect: The New York is a lovely city. Correct: New York is a lovely city. Grammar
Relative Adverbs instead of Preposition Plus Relative Pronoun A relative adverb can be used instead of a relative pronoun plus preposition. This often makes the sentence easier to understand.For example  "This is the store in which I bought my car" → "This is the store where I bought my car".  Grammar
Sentence Without Noun Most sentences should have a noun, unless very short ones like "No!" Grammar
Sentence Without Verb Most sentences should have at least a verb. An exception to this is an exclamation like "How quick!" Grammar
Superlatives should have a "the" determiner in front of them Form superlatives with a "the best" or a possessive pronoun "my best" in front of the adjective. Grammar
Vague Demonstrative Pronoun Avoid the vague "this" and other demonstrative pronouns in formal writing. Do not just merely add a noun after it, but replace "this" with a noun phrase. VAGUE: I kept working despite my aching back. This has helped me in my work.STILL VAGUE: This attitude has helped me in my work.CLEAR: The same attitude has helped me in my work. Grammar
Words that require an 'a' instead of 'an' as determiner Words that require 'a' instead of 'an' as a determiner, even though they begin with [aeiou] (words are case-insensitive). Grammar
Words that require an 'an' instead of 'a' as determiner Words that require 'an' instead of 'a' as a determiner, even though they don't begin with [aeiou]. Grammar
Bing Check sentences for duplication online via Bing. For plagiarism checks with Bing, Proofread Bot requires a free Bing API Key that you can obtain easily at Once signed up to Bing, you will find your key here: Bing gives you 5000 queries for free per month! You will need to enter... Plagiarism
Google Check sentences for duplication online via Google. For plagiarism checks with Google, Proofread Bot requires a free Google Search API Key that you can obtain a Google Custom Search (CSE) key at under "Services" option. Once you enable the Search service, you will find your key under the "Access" tab. Click here for more info on Google CSE Google gives you 100... Plagiarism
Capitalize Country Names Always capitalize country names! Punctuation
Capitalize Ethnicities Always capitalize ethnicities! Punctuation
Capitalize Language Names Always capitalize language names! Punctuation
Capitalize start of sentence The start of a sentence needs to be capitalized. Punctuation
Colons and Semicolons Are Always Placed Outside of Quotes Punctuation
Comma After Coordinating Conjunction One of the most frequent errors in comma usage is the placement of a comma after a coordinating conjunction.  Punctuation
Contractions Many guides recommend avoiding contractions, such as "I've, they're, didn't, we've", in formal writing, even though they are grammatically correct.  Punctuation
Duplicate Words Sometimes we we repeat words by accident that spellcheckers don't detect. Punctuation
Extra/Double Space Two or more spaces should be reduced to one. Punctuation
Hyphenate noun-plus-participle or noun-plus-gerund compound modifiers Noun-plus-participle compounds are hyphenated (for example, "time-consuming activity", "an activity that is time-consuming"). Punctuation
Hyphenate preposition-plus-noun compound adjectives Preposition-plus-noun compound adjectives are hyphenated as well (for example,"after-tax income"). Punctuation
In Text Citations Must Be Within Sentence "Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation. Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text" (Prudue OWL). Punctuation
Interrogative Subject-Auxiliary Inversion In written formal English the auxiliary should precede the subject! Punctuation
Lowercase pronouns mid-sentence except "I" Mid-sentence pronouns are lowercase except "I", which is always uppercase regardless of position. Punctuation
No Apostrophe After Possessive Pronouns Possessive pronouns already express possession, so never add an apostrophe with an s ('s) to them. Punctuation
No Space After Punctuation Punctuation should be followed by a white space, if not end of text or paragraph. Punctuation
Periods and Commas Go Inside Quotation Marks (USA) Punctuation
Repeated Punctuation Repeated punctuation means a punctuation repeated two or more times. This error is common writing often ignored by word processors and spell checkers. Punctuation
Serial Comma Many style guides require the serial comma that is the comma before a coordinating conjunction in a list. On the other hand, journalism guides do not require it. Punctuation
Space Before Punctuation No space should appear before a punctuation. Punctuation
Two Single Quotes Instead Of A Double Quote Some writers use two single quotes for a double quote. Punctuation
General Statistics Stats on your text. Statistic
Readability Scores Various readability statistics. Statistic
Sentence Length Most professional editors and textbook writers try to maintain an average sentence length of 15 to 20 words. This ideal size range is based on chunking and human memory principles, and some sentences will be longer than 20 words. In academic texts for example, you may have sentences of 30 or 35 words. Try to break up long sentences (more than 35 words) to smaller ones, and join short sentences (... Statistic
Sentence Opening Variation Warns if sentences begin with the same words. Vary sentence beginnings for an enjoyable read. Statistic
Sentence Rhythm Vary short and long sentences for an enjoyable read. Statistic
Similar Sentences Algorithmic check highlighting sentence pairs with the highest similarity percentage and gives a warning if any is greater than 50%. Statistic
Word Density Word density higher than 5% may show a lack of vocabulary and variation in style resulting in a dull reading. This check verifies both paragraphs and the entire text for single and double word densities. Statistic
Adverbs ending in ly While an adverb ending with -ly has no grammatical problem, many consider it as bad style. Straight from "On Writing Well, 5th Edition" by William Zinsser: "Most adverbs are unnecessary. You will clutter your sentence and annoy the reader if you choose a verb that has a specific meaning and then add an adverb that carries the same meaning. Don't tell us that the radio blared loudly - "blare"... Style
Archaisms Archaism is an obsolete form of speech or writing. Style
Circumlocutions We commonly use roundabout expressions, circumlocutions, that take several words to say what could be said more succinctly. We often overlook them because many such expressions are habitual figures of speech. In writing, though, they should be avoided since they add extra words without extra meaning.  Style
Clipped Form Clipped forms, shortened abbreviations of words, are often informal and unacceptable in formal writing. Style
Double Negatives A double negative employs two negatives in the same sentence so that they cancel each other and create a positive. In Shakespeare's day, double negatives were considered emphatic, but today, they are considered grammar mistakes. Style
Expletive Constructs Expletive constructions begin with "there is / are" or "it is", and their variations. These do not add any meaning, and can be easily replaced for example: There are twenty-five students who have already expressed a desire... can be easily rewritten to Twenty-five students already expressed a desire... Style
First and Second Person The more formal the writing, the more you should avoid using first and second person. Style
Gender Bias A phrase like “a good congressman knows his duty” excludes women, and it may show good style to rewrite such a sentence in a gender neutral form, like "good representatives know their duty". Check the references for more info on techniques to avoid gender bias in your wriitng. Style
Intensifiers Avoid using words such as really, very, quite, extremely, severely when they are not necessary. It is probably enough to say that the salary increase is inadequate. Does saying that it is severely inadequate introduce anything more than a tone of hysteria? Style
Nominalization Abstract nouns, such as "decision", often have verb forms, "decide", and several experts urge you to use verbs when possible rather than noun forms known as nominalizations. Sentences with many nominalizations usually have weak verbs such as have, make, give and forms of be as the main verbs. Using the action verbs disguised in nominalizations as the main verbs--instead of forms of be--can help... Style
Passive Voice Many scholars promote turning passive voice into active voice. The Columbia Guide to Standard American English (1993) stated that: Active voice makes subjects do something (to something); passive voice permits subjects to have something done to them (by someone or something). Some argue that active voice is more muscular, direct, and succinct, passive voice flabbier, more indirect, and wordier.... Style
Pleonasms Pleonasm (from Greek, pleon: more, too much) is the use of more words or word-parts than is necessary for clear expression: examples are black darkness, or burning fire. Style
Positive Form From the Elements of Style: "Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, non-committal language. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion." He was not very often on time. He usually came late. He did not think that studying Latin was much use. He thought the study of Latin useless. Style
Preposition Overuse Some grammar experts claim that the fewer prepositions the better, and this check warns you if the ratio of prepositions is more than 1 preposition per 5 words.Abundant prepositions: The data from the participants of younger age in this study were compared with those of subjects of older age by an analysis of variance.“Healthy” ratio of prepositions: The data from the younger and older study... Style
Slang Informal words that are more common in speech than writing Style
Split Infinitive A split infinitive is an English-language grammatical construction in which a word or phrase, usually an adverb or adverbial phrase, comes between the marker to and the bare infinitive (uninflected) form of a verb. Many scholars consider it as bad style. Style
Stacked Modifiers and Nouns Avoid using long strings of modifiers or nouns. These stacked modifiers and nouns can be hard to read and sometimes create ambiguity. Add a few words (especially prepositions and conjunctions) to make the relationships between nouns clear to the reader. Weak Example Previous work has shown that a purified pro-oxidant, vitamin E-deficient fish oil diet protects mice against malaria parasites.... Style