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Hemingway Editor Help

How to use Hemingway Editor

What's the Hemingway Editor all about?

Hemingway makes your writing bold and clear. It's like a spellchecker, but for style. It makes sure that your reader will focus on your message, not your prose.

Too often, our words are like our thoughts — innumerable and disorganized. Almost any bit of writing could use some cutting. Less is more, etc.

So, the Hemingway Editor will highlight (in yellow and red) where your writing is too dense. Try removing needless words or splitting the sentence into two. Your readers will thank you.

Readability grade levels

Hemingway builds on the innovations of researchers of a field called “Readability.” These researchers study how understandable a piece of writing is. Part of that work involves trying to decide which U.S. grade level is required to understand your text.

Hemingway judges the “grade level” of your text using the Automated Readability Index. It's a reliable algorithm used since the days of electronic typewriters.

Now, when we say “grade level,” we aren't saying that's who you're writing for. In fact, Ernest Hemingway's work scores as low 5th grade, despite his adult audience. What our measurement actually gauges is the lowest education needed to understand your prose. Studies have shown the average American reads at a tenth-grade level — so that's a good target.

Writing that scores at a 15th grade level is not better than writing at an 8th grade level. In fact, a high grade level often means it is confusing and tedious for any reader. Worse, it's likely filled with jargon. After all, unless you're writing a textbook (and even then) you don't want it to sound like a textbook.

To help you notice sentences that are difficult to read, Hemingway highlights them in yellow. For the most difficult sentences, it uses a red highlight. Don't fret if your text lights up like a Christmas tree, though. With just a few changes, you can get your writing ready for even the toughest critics. And, Hemingway Editor's AI can suggest fixes to make your writing more readable.

Write and edit modes

Begin your document by clicking the "Write" button. This will fade out the editing tools, transferring Hemingway into distraction-free writing mode. Here, you can work out your first draft free from our highlighting.

Once you're finished, click "Edit" to transition back to editing mode. Now you can make changes with real-time Hemingway feedback. Tighten up your prose, clear the highlights, and then share your work with the masses.


Adverbs are like verbs' kryptonite (for non-nerds, they weaken them.) Instead of these verbal atrocities, switch over to a more powerful verb. For instance, instead of saying that someone is “walking slowly” you can say they “tip-toed” or they “crept.” That way, your writing is more vivid.

To help you cut the adverb scourge from your work, Hemingway highlights them in blue.

Words that can be simpler

One of the best ways to make your writing easier on readers is by eliminating words that are too complicated. While many people “utilize” big words to sound more educated, you should “use” more common synonyms if they exist. If you don't believe me, just take Papa's word for it:

“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don't know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.”

If your “objective” is to make your writing less verbose, you can reach your “goal” by checking our purple highlights. Mouse over those little bits of pomposity and we'll give you a better alternative.

Passive voice

When it comes to writing, confidence is key. AND YOU DON'T GET IT FROM WRITING IN ALL CAPS. Instead, removing passive voice can give your writing James Bond levels of swagger. Ensure that the subject of your sentence is doing the action, not being acted upon. For instance, “John threw a ball” is better than “the ball was thrown by John.” The first one has classic elegance; the second sounds like a Jeopardy clue.

While passive voice can deflate your writing, it can also hide deep within. To help you smoke it out, Hemingway highlights every instance in green.


Hemingway comes equipped with a utility belt of formatting goodies. When you click on your writing, you'll see a formatting bar appear at the top.

You can bold, italicize, bulletize, numberize(?), and even turn your a highlighted bit of text into a link. You can also turn paragraphs into different heading sizes.

But what if I want to break the rules?

Rules are meant to be broken. If you know what you're doing, don't let us stop you. View our suggestions as just that.

But, don't think you're above sloppy sentences. They happen to all of us, and a helpful nudge can be all we need to get it right.

Hemingway Editor Plus

What is Hemingway Editor Plus?

Hemingway Editor Plus is an optional, paid add-on for the Hemingway Editor. It fixes your writing using AI-generated suggestions for highlighted sentences. It can also generate drafts of new paragraphs for you.

What is the difference between the Hemingway Editor and the Hemingway Editor Plus?

The Hemingway Editor is our base plan. It highlights wordy sentences and common writing errors so that you know what to fix.

Hemingway Editor Plus adds on new cloud-based generative AI tools to offer suggestions for each highlight. With a click you can fix your work or discover new ideas you hadn't thought of.

Why is Hemingway Editor Plus a subscription?

While the Hemingway Editor can highlight text on your computer, the Hemingway Editor Plus can actually fix them using AI. This cloud-based AI helps you save time and spark fresh ideas. That AI magic requires an ongoing cost, but makes up for it with huge time savings for you.

Why does Hemingway Editor Plus mark suggested fixes with red or yellow highlights?

The Hemingway Editor Plus simplifies text while preserving your tone and meaning. Some sentences, like those with bigger words or long names, might still be pretty complex even after editing. That's why each suggestion comes with its own reading level score. You can easily check if it's easier to read than the original text, even if it still gets a red highlight.

We recommend treating each highlight as a suggestion rather than a hard and fast rule. Don't be afraid if you see a few highlights in your writing as long as the full text reads as well as it can.

How do I fix my writing with Hemingway Editor Plus?

To fix a highlighted sentence, first click on the highlight to see an explanation of the writing error. Then, click "Fix it for me" to generate a suggested fix.

You'll see your original sentence in the top box alongside the preceding and following sentences for context. Hemingway's suggested edit will appear in the box below.

You can also highlight a passage of text and then click the "Improve" button in the toolbar at the top. This will use AI to improve the readability of all the sentences you've highlighted.

Need more help?

Send us an email and we'll do our best to help as soon as we can.