A Writer’s Friend: WordCounter

Avoidance of repetition when writing is something to be considered to ensure that one’s message gets across to his or her readers. As frequent story developers of the written word, journalists,  bloggers, and even students must take into consideration the words they use and avoid redundancy.

The use of the online program WordCounter shows a writer just how many times a word is used in something they have written. Redundancy can be helped if one knows what word is being used too often.

According to the University of Houston-Victoria, “Redundancy happens when the repetition of a word or idea does not add anything to the previous usage; it just restates what has already been said, takes up space, and gets in the way without adding meaning.”

The following is a look at the WordCounter web site.

Once text has been pasted into the box, the frequency of words is calculated and the results are given on a new page. Also, notice above that there is a pull-down menu where writers can decide if they want the “Small Words” to be included such as “the” and “it”.

The results for this article when it was placed into WordCounter are in the picture to the right. The results are excluding the “Small Words.”

When writers have the WordCounter results available for them, the use of a thesaurus may help in providing alternatives for over-used words. However, one must be careful to not replace an understandable word with one that does not fit the context of the text or one whose meaning may be completely different.

According to the book, “Word Smart: Building an Educated Vocabulary” by author Adam Robinson and the staff of The Princeton Review, the use of a thesaurus to find a better word is abused by writers, especially students.

It reads, “Students very often try to make their vocabularies seem bigger than they actually are by using a thesaurus to beef up the papers they write.” The book then continued with the meaning of the same sentence using major thesaurus abuse, “(Neophytes chronically endeavor to induce their parlance to portend more magisterially by employing a lexicon of synonyms to amplify the theses they inscribe.)”

As a writer, one must be watchful of redundancy but also beware of thesaurus abuse as well. With WordCounter, a thesaurus and a thoughtful mind, creating an understandable article, blog or story may not be too hard to attain.

The utilization of tools to assist one in writing may be essential toward a great article or blog, and WordCounter is just one of many that can be found on the World Wide Web.

The program code of WordCounter was developed by Steven Morgan Friedman, president of Diseño Porteño, a rapid application development firm in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was also a senior technology analyst and vice president at a company named Basex and a webmaster at University of Pennsylvania.

Friedman has developed many programs and applications. To see his other website creations, please click here. Also, please take a moment to visit Friedman’s resume, which not only showcases what he does but also highlights his awards and appearances in the media.

*Photos were screen shots of the site www.wordcounter.com taken by the author
* The passage from "Word Smart" came from page 20. The book can be found here on Scribd

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8 Responses to A Writer’s Friend: WordCounter

  1. jrenee21 says:

    Word counter would help me a lot because I feel I repeat words way to much in all of my papers. How much does the program cost??

  2. sheyy says:

    This is a really interesting tool. I find myself manually editing my work but if a tool exist that can do provide the same help then it is even better. This tool gives you a another perspective and provides answers that we were too jaded to think on our own. I will definitely try this tool in the future.

  3. omedina49 says:

    This is sooo cool! There are times where i tried to read my papers to my family and they always tell me it sounds fine but i sometimes think they are not even listening to me. This can help alert me to words that i may be using a little to often. I think that there are times where we tend to write the way we speak and redundancies are sure to pop up. This is a really neat tool, thanks!

  4. dannyduran says:

    Of course I find out about this my last year in college. This could be used as a very useful tool when writing. I definitely caught myself overusing words in papers I have written in the past but I feel it is harder to spot things in your own writing. I will certainly use this in the future if I end up writing another paper or article. Thank you for the find.

  5. Great find, thanks for letting us know. I am interested to see which words I use most in my papers. What would be cool is if when you submitted papers to turnitin.com it would run your paper through this program and the program that shows what grade level you are writing at. Then you would have the choice right there to make some adjustments before you finally submitted it to be graded.

  6. cnaslund says:

    This will defiantly help when I write anything for anyone. It could be very useful to know how often I use a particular word and then I can try even harder to make those word counts go down (kind of like a game). thanks for the heads up!

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