A linter for prose.
Writing is notoriously hard, even for the best writers, and it's not for lack of good advice — a tremendous amount of knowledge about the craft is strewn across usage guides, dictionaries, technical manuals, essays, pamphlets, websites, and the hearts and minds of great authors and editors. But poring over Strunk & White hardly makes one a better writer — it turns you into neither Strunk nor White. And nobody has the capacity to apply all the advice from Garner’s Modern American Usage, a 975-page usage guide, to everything they write. In fact, the whole notion that one becomes a better writer by reading advice on writing rests on untenable assumptions about learning and memory. The traditional formats of knowledge about writing are thus essentially inert, waiting to be transformed.
We devised a simple solution: proselint, a linter for prose. (A linter is a computer program that, like a spell checker, scans through a document and analyzes it.)
proselint places the world’s greatest writers and editors by your side, where they whisper suggestions on how to improve your prose. You’ll be guided by advice inspired by Bryan Garner, David Foster Wallace, Chuck Palahniuk, Steve Pinker, Mary Norris, Mark Twain, Elmore Leonard, George Orwell, Matthew Butterick, William Strunk, E.B. White, Philip Corbett, Ernest Gowers, and the editorial staff of the world’s finest literary magazines and newspapers, among others. Our goal is to aggregate knowledge about best practices in writing and to make that knowledge immediately accessible to all authors in the form of a linter for prose.
See a live demo at http://proselint.com/write. (It's been tested only on the latest version of Chrome.)
Currently, proselint is a command-line utility that is meant to be integrated into other tools. You can install it using pip: pip install proselint. There’s a plugin for Sublime Text. It’s open-source software available under the permissive BSD license. Work on proselint happens over on GitHub. We welcome contributors.
With time, proselint will become fast, precise, exhaustive, and authoritative. Eventually, it will be unthinkable to write without it by your side.
For more information, see: