Does It Really Improve Writing? Hemingway App Review

Hemingway is a writing and editing tool, which helps users finesse their writing. It highlights words or sentences that could be changed to better the piece, and suggests replacements for them. Utilising a kinaesthetic learning method, the app helps users learn as they write by suggesting improvements as they type. It’s a simple tool for writing, and checking the quality of that writing.

However, the app costs $19.99, which is the same price as the Scrivener app. So, one must consider before purchasing – does it really help improve writing and is it worth the money? We reviewed the app to answer these questions.

Does It Really Improve Writing? Hemingway App Review

At $19.99, the app costs a fair amount of money despite it being a one-time payment. When deciding whether it’s worth purchasing, one must first understand what the app really does. The app opens with a piece of sample text that describes its purpose and functions. It states its purpose as an app that ‘clarifies and enhances your writing’. It does so by detecting certain mistakes within texts in a quick and simple manner.

Simple Error-Detection System

The app detects errors using a highlighting system, which consists of six different colours that denote six different things.

The red highlights show spelling mistakes.

red-highlight

The blue highlights identify adverbs or qualifiers.

The purple highlights indicate a complex word or phrase that has a simpler alternative.

purple-highlight

The green highlights signify passive voice.

green-highlight

The yellow highlights distinguish complex sentences.

yellow-highlight

The pink highlights mark highly complex sentences.

pink-highlight

Unfortunately, outside of the six things the highlights represent, Hemingway fails to detect writing errors. For example, it can fail to detect basic grammatical errors (as seen below).

wrong-grammar

Hemingway failed to detect incorrect grammar in the sentence, as well as the lack of a capital letter. It seems the app can only detect the six things the highlights denote.

Shallow Learning Curve

There is a low learning curve for this app, so it’s easy to pick up.

There are few settings to make note of, which makes learning the app so simple. There’s the writer and editor modes, some basic text options, the six highlights, an import/export setting, a save setting, a clear all setting, and a demo mode setting (this respawns the sample text).

All these settings are either easily visible, or easy to reach. This makes for a easily comprehendible UI.

Write Without Disruptions

The app has a writer mode, which gets rid of the highlights in the text as well as the readability grade tab. This declutters the interface, making way for a pleasant and non-disruptive writing platform.

writer-mode

You can easily switch between editor mode and writer mode by clicking on their respective tabs, which are next to each other for ease of access.

Limited Options

Another downside to the app is that there are limited options for customisation. For example, the text size options are limited to three heading sizes, and the default paragraph text size. You can’t actually customise the size of the body text.

text-options

There’s also no undo button, so the only way you can undo is by using the universal keyboard shortcut for undo (ctrl+z). This means that you can’t undo on phones or other non-keyboard devices. Undo is a vital option when using an editing app like this. Users can easily mis-click and unintentionally alter something they didn’t wish to alter. Thus, an easily accessible undo button is key.

Lack of Explanations

The app doesn’t actually explain or define any of the six errors it detects.

green-highlight

This makes correcting those errors a difficult task for anyone who isn’t knowledgeable about those concepts. The app should be directed towards writers who need or want help with improving their writing. It stands to reason that these people won’t know of all the common mistakes a writer can make. Therefore, a simple definition for each of the six errors could be really helpful in making its users learn and grow as writers.

Pros

  • Free to test out. The iOS app offers a one-day trial, and the Hemingway Editor website lets users try out some of the app’s functions.
  • Easy to learn. It opens with some sample text detailing what the app does and what each highlight means. The text can be edited, so the user can learn as they do.
  • Easy to use. It has a simple interface with few settings.
  • Allows you to write without disruption. The writer mode hides all the highlights so you can write comfortably.
  • Offers a tool to analyse the quality of a headline. It breaks down the pros and cons in a fairly detailed manner, which can help users improve their headlines.

Cons

  • Costs money.
  • Doesn’t detect grammatical errors.
  • Doesn’t define the jargon, e.g. qualifier. This can make correcting the writing difficult for those who aren’t familiar with these terms.
  • Some highlights don’t offer suggestions. They only offer the option to exclude the word, which can lead to more highlights.
  • No undo button. You can only undo by using the desktop shortcut ‘ctrl+z’. This can’t be done on phones.
  • Readability grades are not explained. It’s hard to know whether a grade is good or not if there’s no scale or description to go with it.

Common Questions

What does the Hemingway app do?

It analyses texts, and offers ways of improving them by highlighting words or phrases that could be changed for the better. It also offers a writing mode, where you can write to your heart’s content without seeing the corrections.

Is Hemingway available for Android?

No, it is only available for desktop and iOS.

Is the Hemingway app free?

The desktop app is not free. But, the Hemingway editor is a website, which allows users to test out some of the app’s functions for free.

The iPhone app is also free. However, it only allows users to access some of its functions. You need to pay to access the pro version.

Does Hemingway offer a free trial?

Yes. The iPhone app offers a one-day free trial when you attempt to edit the sample text.

Is Hemingway a subscription service?

No, it is a one-time payment of $19.99 for a life-time of use.

Conclusion

If you’re a writer, who wants a quick way of finding common mistakes within your text, then this app is for you. It highlights the errors in your text in an easily comprehendible manner. The system is easy to notice and fairly easy to memorise.

However, whilst the app is a good tool for distinguishing common errors in your writing, it is not a fool-proof editing tool. It only catches errors that fall under their six highlighting categories. It fails to catch other errors, such as some grammatical mistakes.

Therefore, it should not be treated as a professional editing app that can point out all the mistakes in your writing. Nor should it be seen as a sure-fire way of improving your text. The readability grade is not clear on what each grade means, and the app doesn’t include a quality check for the writing as a whole.

Nevertheless, the app functions well as a simple tool for detecting certain errors in your text, and fixing those errors. It also doubles as a writing app, where you can type out some text and check it for errors in a quick and easy manner.

Apps UK
International House
12 Constance Street
London, E16 2DQ