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Why Correct Language Does not Automatically Have to Be an Optimal Style …

powered by LanguageTool

The free writing assistant LanguageTool has two modes of operation. Let us introduce you to picky mode.

Picky Mode
Sometimes a minor correction is enough.

What Exactly Is Picky Mode?

There are many situations every day in which we are confronted with writing. Each text has certain criteria that it must or can fulfill: the target group, the topic, the text type, and often also the relationship between the participants. For example, different things matter in a business e-mail than in an academic term paper, a job application, or a literary text. Thanks to LanguageTool’s picky mode, you have the possibility to show or hide stylistic and graphical suggestions for improvement.

Basically, LanguageTool works according to the following color scheme:

Spelling errors in red, grammar mistakes in yellow, and style suggestions in blue
LanguageTool’s color scheme

Spelling errors are always shown to you in red. Picky mode shows you more grammar errors and style tips than usual (for when the text has to be extra-proper).

It is important to note that you can write an error-free and convincing text even without using picky mode. Only if you want to be a bit more precise concerning linguistic accuracy, writing form, or impeccable tone, picky mode is recommended.

By the way, it has nothing to do with whether you use a free account or are among our premium customers. The distinction between premium account and free account corrections are independent of the picky mode.


Which Errors are Detected in Picky Mode?

As already mentioned, the improvements of picky mode concern grammar corrections, but for the most part, stylistic hints on word choice, punctuation, and expression. You can recognize the improvement suggestions that only appear in picky mode by the glasses icon in the correction window:

  1. Concise punctuation
Concise punctuation
Example I without Picky Mode
Concise punctuation
Example I with Picky Mode

2. Overused constructions (e.g., passive voice) or wordy formulations (e.g., in order to)

3. Typographic finesses (e.g., quotation marks, dashes, ellipses)

Typographic finesses (e.g., quotation marks, dashes, ellipses)
Example II without Picky Mode
Typographic finesses (e.g., quotation marks, dashes, ellipses)
Example II without Picky Mode

4. Long or complex sentences
5. Redundant, vague, and imprecise language (synonyms suggested)

Redundant, vague, and imprecise language (synonyms suggested)
Example III without Picky Mode
Redundant, vague, and imprecise language (synonyms suggested)
Example III without Picky Mode

How Do I Activate Picky Mode?

In the LanguageTool browser add-on, you can turn the picky mode on and off in the settings next to the search bar:

You can turn the picky mode on and off
Find your setting in the top-right corner.

In the LanguageTool Editor (both on the website and in the application on your desktop under Windows or macOS).

Also, you can activate and deactivate picky mode in your editor.
Activate Picky Mode in the LT editor

How Do I Use Picky Mode Correctly?

As already noted, the most important thing about picky mode is to achieve the linguistic optimum. Basically, the two modes are suitable in the following situations:

Criteria Standard Mode Picky Mode
Target group Known, familiar Unfamiliar, distant, professional
Topic / Text format Everyday texts (comments, messages, etc.), literary texts Technical texts, academic texts, job applications or letters of motivation, news, official or legal texts
Tone / Style Casual, informal, understandable, not so strict Respectful, serious, formal, sophisticated

Of course, these are only hints, and it is also possible that certain situations require switching to the other mode.

No matter if you intend to strive for linguistic perfection or if your textual outcome just needs spelling, grammar, and style checking, LanguageTool can do both. It is suited for the entire spectrum of different contexts and text types. In addition to picky mode, the premium version also provides you with further hints for your linguistic expression.

Be picky with choosing your intelligent writing assistant!


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