Hemingway Vs. Pro Writing Aid: Which Should You Use

Confession #1489385 (probably closer to 12): I HATE editing. It can be a daunting and intimidating task, especially if you’re editing something big like a novel. Ripping apart a hundred or more pages of prose can be frustrating and time consuming. It also forces you to deal with those unruly plot holes and shitty sentences you’ve been avoiding. 

Despite my disdain for editing, I know it’s a necessary evil. In order for readers to take you seriously, you have to present them with a polished product. However, polishing your writing through editing can be easier said than done. At times, we can be too critical of ourselves. We may cut, change or add to things that were perfect the way they were. On the flip side, we can be too lenient with ourselves thinking that everything we’ve written is gold. Sometimes we get too close to the project or don’t know what the hell we need to do to improve it.

That’s where editing software comes in! Just like a real editor, editing software can help identify issues with syntax, grammar, spelling and the overall readability of our writing. Editing software can be a great help, especially if you don’t have access to a real one.

As some of you may recall, I mentioned using Pro Writing Aid to help me edit Madness. I love the website and think it’s a very useful tool, but recently a writer I follow on Twitter, Rachel Thompson, posted a link to an article about a new app called Hemingway. Just like Pro Writing Aid,  Hemingway examines writing and grades it on a scale. I decided to put both editing tools to the test and see which was the better.

To test both programs I used a short story I wrote called Collared, which can be found here.


hemminhway app 

Hemingway is really easy to use. Erase the text inputted on the screen and replace it with your own. You even have the option to write new text and have it graded.

I copied and pasted the story and within a few minutes, I got the results. The app graded my story a 3 which is good. It identified 13 adverbs, suggesting I aim for 9 or fewer.  It also identified 9 uses of passive voice, but I figure that’s okay considering the app suggests aiming for 50 or fewer.

Simply put, Hemingway is easy to use and understand. It hits all the main issues writers, professional and amateur, have with their work. The app suggests you aim for a score of Grade 10 or below for bold and clear writing.

Pro Writing Aid

prowriting aid

Just like Hemingway, you can copy and paste the text you want analyzed. You also have the option to the import the text if it is a Word document or Rich Text. Unfortunately, because I inserted more than 1000 words as a non-member, I received an alert telling me that I needed to either sign up for membership or input fewer words. I’m already a member so all I had to do was log in and it allowed me to have the whole text analyzed at once. Membership is free and if you do decide to use this app I would suggest it.

Pro Writing Aid provides you with a really thorough report. It alerts you of overused words, clichés and redundancies,  grammar, diction, sticky sentences, writing style, sentence length and so much more. This can be overwhelming at first, but once you click through each problem area, it breaks it down for you and offers suggestions.

pro writing aid more

It used to offer the ability to save your work as well, but it looks like those free memberships don’t have that option anymore.

Which is better? 

Truthfully, I like both. Although Hemingway isn’t nearly as thorough as Pro Writing Aid, it hits the most common areas of concern for writers. You also don’t need a membership to input more than 1000 words. As mentioned earlier, Pro Writing Aid is extremely thorough, but it can be a little overwhelming at first and kind of coaxes you into getting a membership.

If you want something simple that hits all the common areas of concern, use Hemingway. If you want something that examines your writing with a fine tooth comb, use Pro Writing Aid.

My suggestion is to use Hemingway to fix those trouble spots and gauge how clear your writing is. If you want a more thorough check after that, input your work into Pro Writing Aid and fix those trouble spots. When you finish you can head back over to Hemingway and make sure it’s still easy to read.

What do you guys think? Do you like Hemingway or Pro Writing Aid better? Let me know in the comments below!

25 thoughts on “Hemingway Vs. Pro Writing Aid: Which Should You Use

  1. I just added Pro Writing Aid to my Google Docs as one of their add ons. The very first thing I tried to use it for required a paid subscription. A simple check for overused words required a payment. Needless to say, I quickly removed it, gave it the lowest review possible, and am now scouring the internet finding various places to continue doing just that. I absolutely loathe the tactic of letting you download it for free, then having one function before being required to pay. Either what they advertise is free, or it is not, simple as that. I have a small list of companies that I will make it a point to never do business with, and they just made it.

    1. I’m sorry you had that experience. Maybe it’s something to do with Google Docs? I haven’t used it in awhile because I haven’t really had the need for it, but I just checked it myself to make sure I had my facts straight. I tried it logged in and logged out. Both of them allowed to me to check the overused words without paying. I don’t use Google Docs so I think it may just be there.

    2. Hi. Sorry to hear you had a negative experience. It actually asks you to sign up for a free trial which doesn’t require any payment. Some features of the Google Docs addin are only available to premium members. You can access all the reports for free on our website.

  2. I have not tried Hemingway, but I am a life time subscriber to Pro Writing Aid.Editing is a laborious, but necessary task for every writer, and the Artificial Intelligence behind Pro Writing Aid makes it worth the price of a subscription. You pay for what you get and this product is well worth the price.

  3. At this point I am so overwhelmed by the editing process. I did the last two nanowrimos and used Hemmingway. I love how it works. I always scored pretty high and it made me feel my writing was half way decent. Just recently I bought Grammarly. They were offering a half price deal. I used it after Hemmingway and found more errors, still nothing I couldn’t handle. Just a couple of days ago I bought Pro Writing Aid. I feel so lost. There are so many mark-ups. I tend to have lots of sticky sentences. I wish I could add the plug in for Word, but my Word program is on a Mac. It is my understanding that can’t be done. How do you feel about Grammarly? Thanks so much for your article.

    1. Any time! Thank you for reading. I’ve never tried Grammarly so I can’t really give you my opinion on it. Don’t let editing stress you out. You can go over it a million times and the programs may still find mistakes. Sometimes it helps to let another person look at it. Get a close friend, another writer, or even a professional editor to look it over. It may take some of the stress off. Hope this was helpful and thanks again for reading.

  4. I ended up buying the Hemmingway app. I like it. I signed up for the 7-day grammarly trial. So far, I like it also. I choose the year option for $12 a month. Not too bad. Then I started with the free pro writing aid. I think I may have to use all three.

  5. Thank you for this article. I’m a young (starting out) writer, and currently in a copywriting class. I’ve have know about Grammarly, but wasn’t sure. I have tried the prowritingaid on one blog post and like it. Question: Do you use two editing software?

  6. Thank you so much for this blog post… I had never heard of hemmingway before and it looks great so far but one question that I hope you can answer. The last time I checked out ProWritingAid I didn’t ave the sign up for an account and now I do. Is this a new thing? If I sign up will I be charged at all?

  7. Thank you so much for answering. 🙂 I just wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a pay wall and that I would get charged. Well, I am off now to sign up. 🙂

  8. Thanks for useful post. I’m sure Hemingway is UK English, but can’t see what Pro Writing is. Do you know if it is in American or UK English?

  9. Hi, I purchased Pro Writing Aid. I have also looked at Grammarly and Autocrit. I went for Pro Writing Aid because of cost. It is a bit laborious but it gets the job done. I have a manuscript that is around 50% complete (42,000 words). It has taken me weeks to do a line by line edit on my work. Pro Writing Aid produces 21 reports and you have to sift your way through them. You still have to make decisions because the only way to edit anything is by human response To the lady who was overwhelmed by the editing process…stick with it. It has taken me a long time to understand the process but I am getting there. To the guy about the UK feature of Pro Writing Aid. It is very much a manual thing… it tells you when you are using UK spelling or US spelling in their consistency report. You have to make the choice of what you want but it is a simple reject or accept. Grammar is grammar so we all work off the same page. A mention on Grammar. Pro Writing Aid is quite strict (You do not end a sentence with a preposition etc etc.) But when you get these type of responses question it because times change and our language is a dynamic language that constantly changes. Nowadays yes you can begin a sentence with And. So when you see Pro Writing Aid telling you to do something then check it out on the web etc etc. It is a good tool for organizing you.

    Lossforwords….thank you for allowing this forum to happen. God bless writers and their ideas.

  10. Dear Lossforwords, thanks, so much, for your blog. I have been researching writing improvement programs for some time and have been overwhelmed by the choices, features, options and cost versus what I really need. Your blog has helped clear the air.
    A couple questions; 1) when a writer submits their work for analysis, where does the analysis occur? Does the software perform analysis locally (within the writer’s computer where it remains private) or in an on-line location? Assuming the latter, for on-line subscription applications, how does a writer know whether their work, book theme or concept is protected from theft? I’m aware that nothing is completely secure regardless of location. And, yes, call me paranoid, but these days it makes me wonder.
    Thanks, again, for your awesome blog.

  11. I looked at Pro Writing Aid. I’m not keen on subscription programs. Also, if I remember rightly, a lengthy ad preceded access to submission. The access to the evaluation came in an email. When I followed the access address another ad preceded the showing of the results. At that point I quit, having had enough of salesmanship. I did buy Hemingway. Overall I like the program, although I disagree with a few assumptions. Adverbs and adjectives are not per se bad. In essence they are clarifying words. What is more likely bad about them is their percentage in a document. I certainly agree their use ought to be weighed. My other disagreement with Hemingway concerns long sentences. Yes, a writer is more likely to trip over himself in a long sentences but whether a sentence is simple, compound, or complex, clarity is just as possible in a lengthy one as in a short one. Certainly it is right to beware of too many of them, particularly close together. Of course when Hemingway flags one of my sentences as wordy, I give it a closer look. And I have followed the program’s recommendations in its analysis of my pieces, a compliance which in my opinion has improved my prose, so my money has been well spent (cliche).

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