There are a lot of language checkers out there. So how to choose the best one? If you are studying or doing research at university, here’s why you need one specifically for academic writing.

Language models tailored to science

A state-of-the-art language check relies on AI, not black-or-white rules, to provide feedback. But how these AI algorithms are trained is the key question, as this determines the quality of the feedback. If you’re writing a research paper, what you want is a tool that has been trained on a very large database of published scientific texts, so that its feedback helps you emulate those.

Appropriate word usage and phrasings

Academic writing can be rather different from other writing genres. It has its specific ‘rules’, and many recurring turns of phrase that you should be aware of. From introducing your study to presenting statistical results or discussing limitations, there are many language patterns you ought to know and use. A tailored writing app will help you do that, without errors.

The right guidance on style

The register of academic writing tends to be rather formal, neutral and detached. Reading a lot of journal papers in your discipline will help you get a feel for it, but a tailored tool will screen your text for accidental slips. If you start a sentence with and or but, it will suggest alternatives such as additionally or however. Informal words (e.g. huge, thing) will also be replaced.

Specialist vocabulary

There is little chance your average language check recognizes words like tetrafluorohydrazine, cosecant, or ichthyology. As a result, it is likely to flag them as non-words or incorrect spellings. If your paper is full of them, this quickly gets very frustrating! Best to go for an academic-trained app that knows those highly technical, scientific terms you’re likely to be using.