6 Calculators for Grammar and Writing

Calculators for Teaching
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Calculators can be used in math, science clases, and business. You can use financial calculators to determine payments for a house or car. If you want to know how many calories you eat in a day, there’s a calculator for that. Want to know your dog’s age in human years, there’s a calculator for that as well. But what about writing? A simple calculator can count the number of words you wrote. But how can there be calculators for grammar and writing?

Grammar and writing calculators can determine the percentage of passive sentences, analyze the reading level of a document, count the words in a sentence, average word length, and the number of unique words in the piece. If a teacher wants you to analyze a sentence, there’s a calculator for that.

Why wait? Let’s get started calculating.

A Passive Voice Detector Calculator

A piece of advice that is given repeatedly to writers is to avoid using passive voice. While avoiding passive voice altogether is almost impossible in longer writing, an article, blog post, or research paper should not have more than 20% passive voice. Passive voice means that instead of the actor being the subject, they are being acted upon.

For example, in this sentence

The blog post was analyzed by the Passive Voice Detector.

The thing performing the action (the detector) is not the subject of the sentence.

If the sentence is rewritten like this

The Passive Voice Detector analyzed the blog post.

The actor (thing doing the analyzing) is the subject of the sentence.

So how can you check for active and passive voice? You can identify the verb in each sentence, or you can go to the Passive Voice Detector, copy and paste some text, and let it do the work for you.

When I did so with those two sentence, the detector said those two sentences were in active voice. However, I also analyzed the first paragraph of the section, and that time it calculated that two out of three sentences used passive verbs.

I like the simplicity of this calculator for grammar and writing. The directions are clear, the analysis is quick, and you will like that it doesn’ have annoying ads.

Free Readability Calculator

Sometimes a teacher needs to know the grade level of a piece of writing. Or a writer of blog posts wants to know if the post is in the 6th to 8th grade range, the ideal reading level for the internet. The Readability Formula tool is useful for either.

The tool lets you paste a writing sample from 200 to 3,000 words. I pasted a few paragraphs from the previous section, and the results ranged from 8.5 to 12 grade. My Flesch Reading Ease Score was standard, but the Gunning Fog claimed it was hard to read. Other readability formulas placed the reading level at high school level.

But that makes sense since I am writing to teachers.

Next I tried the first few paragraphs of a post about semi-colon tattoos. The majority of the indexes scored it in the 6-8th grade range. Ironically, Flesch said it was difficult to read but Gunning Fog said it was fairly easy to read. For fun, I pasted a few paragraphs of a post about grammar nerds, and my readability scores were in the 6th and 7th grade.

One of the reasons I like this tool is it calculates more than one index to give me an average reading level. This site has a few ads, but they are unobtrusive. Two tips:

  • Paste your words as plain text
  • Check the I’m a human box at the bottom

Count Wordsworth

Kids love dinosaurs, so I used a section from the British Natural History Museum on dinosaurs for this calculator for grammar and writing. The Count did his thing, and I learned that it had the following metrics:

  • an average of 18.25 words per sentence
  • 23 prepositions
  • 5.10 letters per word
  • approximately 31 syllables per sentence.
  • the third most popular word is dinosaur

I enjoy this calculator, but it is more of a novelty and not as useful as the others. One odd quirk is that after you enter the text, the first piece of data is 0 words per sentence. Scroll down for the actual counts.

Lettercount–So Your Pinterest Post Won’t Be too Long

Everyone knows that tweets on Twitter have a character limit. But so do other sites. A LinkedIn summary needs to stay under 2,600 characters, your Instagram post can’t be over 2,200, the Pinterest post is limited to 500, and Snapchat has a 250-word limit.

If you use Twitter regularly, you type your message. They are rarely over the limit, and if so, just add another tweet. For longer posts, you might want to first type it into Lettercount. Trying to get the character count for a longer post is less annoying if you have a simple tool.

I used the tool for the third paragraph of this article. My goal was to have 300 characters max, and by pasting the paragraph into the counter, I successfully shortened it.

The site has a detailed article about character length and its importance. People sometimes confuse letter and character length. A sentence with a character count of 29 will have a longer character length. How is that possible?

In counting character length, spaces count. My question has 18 letters (counting the question mark), but 21 characters. If you find that odd, you are not alone.

Planet Calc–When You Want to Know if You Are Repeating Yourself

Sometimes it feels like we are using the same words again and again. If you think that might be the case, PlantCalc will let you know. Once again, I pasted the third paragraph to see if I was repeating myself. I had used 50 words, and 35 were unique. In other words, 15 words were repeated.

Although that might seem like a lot, PlanetCalc also told me which words were repeated. The paragraph contained 5 instances of “the,” and 5 instances of “a.” Seeing that those are two of the most popular words in English, I am satisfied that the section is not overly repetitious.

I like the simplicity of this calculator and the fact it checks something imporant that I would never think a calculator would do.

Ink For All–If You Need to Identify Parts of Speech

Sometimes you need to know what part of speech in a sentence, especially if you are in an English class. The Inkforall site claims to do so.

Teachers, before you get mad at me for linking this site for students, it is not 100% accurate, especially with verbs. When I pasted my by now famous third paragraph, it labelled the word writing in the phrase Grammar and writing calculators as a verb. It also failed to recognize an infinitive, and didn’t recognize the verb is in there’s.

It did get most of the other words correct, however.

I would use it as a teaching tool. By placing a sentence in and analyzing it, I would then ask students to explain why the Checker labelled words as a noun, preposition, determiner, verb, pronoun, and adjective. I would also ask them to identify the calculator made.

Diagramming Sentences

If you want to start a debate about grammar, mention sentence diagramming. Since this post is about calculators for grammar and writing you might find useful,it is not the place for this controversy, you might enjoy this fun history of sentence diagramming.

Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of  Diagramming Sentences: Florey, Kitty Burns, Kraemer, Becky: 0884402741071:  Amazon.com: Books

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