Hemingway App Review: Hemingway Editor Pros and Cons

P.J McNulty
April 17, 2023 | 11 mins

Will the Hemingway App help you improve your writing style? We set out to answer that exact question in this detailed Hemingway Editor review.

In a world of up-and-coming technology, it’s getting more and more difficult for writers to differentiate between the best digital tools that will actually improve writing.

This writing tool is named after the famous author Ernest Hemingway himself, who once said that, when it comes to writing, “we are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

Let’s find out if the Hemingway Editor can actually help you improve your writing craft.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this Hemingway App Editor review:

  1. What is the Hemingway App?
  2. How does Hemingway Editor work?
  3. Hemingway App Benefits
  4. Is the Hemingway App free?
  5. Is the Hemingway Editor good?
  6. Hemingway Editor alternatives

What is the Hemingway App?

The Hemingway App is an editing tool that identifies errors and areas of improvement in writing, by highlights and fixing common errors and sentence structure.

Also known as Hemingway Editor, the editing tool finds and fixes errors in spelling, syntax, flow, and sentence structure through the use of color-coded highlighting. 

The desktop version of Hemingway Editor doesn’t require Internet, so it can be used on any device, and also allows formatting and direct publishing features.

It’s one of the many apps out there claiming to help you write better. These days, rather than simply catching your mistakes, book writing apps claim to be able to improve your style and mold you into a better writer. 

Author Opening Hemingway App

What does Hemingway editor do?

So what’s the key promise made by Hemingway App Editor? Can it really help authors improve their book writing?

In the words of its creators, Hemingway “makes your writing bold and clear.” A big claim. And when the creators choose to name their app after arguably the best writer of all time, it becomes even bigger!

We’ll delve deep into Hemingway editor, exploring exactly how to use it, how it will help you, and if it’s the right choice for you as a self-published author. 

How does Hemingway Editor work?

We’ll delve deep into the process of using Hemingway, but first, know that there are two main ways to use the service on offer:

  1. Hemingway Editor – free online editing service, no account required.
  2. Hemingway App – downloadable version of Hemingway, one-off payment.

Let’s check out how to use both versions of the app.

How to use the Hemingway Editor free version:

Step #1 – Go to the Hemingway App website to get started.

Hemingway App Minimalist Interface

You will see from the above image that it’s suitably minimalist and straightforward, considering it’s named after Hemingway!

Step #2 – Write directly into the app, or paste in some text. 

When you have entered text into the Hemingway editor, it will highlight different sections in different colors, according to areas of improvement it has identified, as seen below.

Hemingway App Color-Coded Feedback

Just for fun, we ran an extract of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Up in Michigan’ through the editor, which produced the results shown below.

Hemingway App: Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Up In Michigan’ Readability

Step #3 – Review the highlighted portions of text. 

At-a-glance, you can identify and review any suggested areas of improvement or errors using the color-coded blocks.

As you can see from the above image, Hemingway’s text is shown as mostly, if not entirely, error-free by the app! 

Step #4 – Decide what to revise based on Hemingway Editor’s suggestions. 

Hover your mouse over the highlighted portions of your text, and if a suggested revision is available, you can click on it to instantly accept the change. 

Consider the suggested revisions, but ultimately let your writer’s intuition have the final say in deciding what to change and keep.

How to use the Hemingway Editor desktop version: 

If you’re interested in using the paid app version of Hemingway, here are the key facts you need to know:

  • Hemingway App is available for a one-off price of $19.99
  • There are versions of Hemingway for both Mac OSX and Windows

The interface of the paid version of Hemingway is the same as the free version shown above. The information given is of the same type and presented in the same way.

So why would you consider paying for something so similar to the free online version?

The paid version of the Hemingway Editor includes these extra features:

  1. Works offline. Want to write without the distraction of the online world? Need to work on a plane or other situation where you can’t connect? The app version of Hemingway is fully functional offline.
  2. Publish directly. With the Hemingway App, you can publish directly to WordPress or elsewhere, straight from the software.
  3. PDF exports. One cool thing offered by the app version of Hemingway is the ability to create a PDF which retains all of the colored highlights. This is a really attractive way to present edits for a project. 

Overall, if you like the sound of Hemingway and what it can do for your writing, we suggest checking out the free online version initially. Get a feel for Hemingway. See if you like the experience of using it, and the improvements it makes to your writing.

If you value it enough and want to use it offline, or simply want to support the creators for making something so useful, consider investing in the paid version.

Hemingway App benefits

Now that you know the basic purpose of Hemingway App Editor, and the difference between the free and paid versions, let’s look at the way it helps writers in a little more depth. 

When you enter text into Hemingway, it highlights the following areas of improvement based on color. 

Here are the benefits of the Hemingway Editor App: 

#1 – Adverbs in blue. Hemingway highlights the adverbs you use. If the number of adverbs is over a suggested amount, the app points this out. If you’ve read writing guides such as On Writing by Stephen King, you’ll know that adverbs are frowned upon.

Hemingway App: Adverbs In Blue

#2 – Passive voice in green. Although suitable for formal writing, many people feel that using the passive voice lessens the impact of your words. Hemingway points out your use of the passive voice, so you can consider using an active form instead. 

Hemingway App: Passive Voice In Green

#3 – Very long sentences in red. If Hemingway considers a sentence to be very long or complex, it highlights it in red. This example sentence taken from Stuart Little is one example!

Hemingway App: Very Long Sentences In Red

#4 – Long sentences in yellow. If your sentences are long or complex, but not so much as to be highlighted red, Hemingway highlights them yellow. This is shown with an example sentence from Stephen King’s The Shining. 

Hemingway App: Long Sentences In Yellow

#5 – Complex words and phrases in purple. When Hemingway finds a word or phrase that it feels could be written using a simpler alternative, it highlights it in purple. This is shown with an example from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. 

Hemingway App: Complex Words And Phrases In Purple

#6 – Show more information option. As well as the detailed, highlighted areas of improvement described above, Hemingway also gives you a word count and readability level for your text, as shown below, using Jane Austen’s Emma as an example.

You can also expand these stats, as seen below, again using Jane Austen’s Emma. 

Hemingway App: Jane Austen’s Emma Stats

Overall, we feel that Hemingway can help you out as a self-publisher by catching stylistic errors that are warned against by many of the top writing guides out there.

As authors, we often are unaware of our weak points. Even when we become aware of them, we sometimes try to overlook them due to pride.

Hemingway Editor does a lot of the work for you in identifying your weak points. 

This helps you to grow in self-awareness as a writer. It improves the readability of your work, and lessens the load for your human editor, should you be fortunate enough to have one. 

Is the Hemingway App free?

Yes, Hemingway App does have a free version, but it also has a $19.99 paid version. You can use the free version of Hemingway via the online interface. For the desktop version of Hemingway Editor, you will pay $19.99.

Basically, the free version gives the same copyediting capabilities as the paid version, but there are additional perks with the paid Hemingway Editor, such as publishing features, formatting, and more.

It’s a great value for the aspiring author looking to cut down on self-publishing costs.

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Hemingway App review: is Hemingway Editor good? 

So what exactly is good about Hemingway Editor? Why should you introduce yet another app or tool into your self-publishing process?

After testing, we found a few favorite things that made using Hemingway worthwhile. 

Here’s what makes Hemingway Editor a good tool to use: 

  1. Concise, minimalistic interface. Hemingway is far from bloated. You don’t even need to create an account.
  2. Easy to use. There is no learning curve to using Hemingway. If you can copy and paste, you can get the full potential out of Hemingway. 
  3. Good value. The free version of Hemingway is powerful enough to help out a lot of writers. For full, offline access, a one-off payment of $20 is superb value.

If you’re looking for a simple, easy to use tool for improving your writing style and readability, you should check out Hemingway.  

Of course, no tool or app is perfect. So what are some of the downsides to using Hemingway?

Here’s what makes Hemingway Editor NOT a good choice to use:

  1. Limited insight. Hemingway doesn’t provide the same volume of information and feedback as some alternatives out there.
  2. Not for everyone. Not every piece of writing should be in the sparse, easy to read style advocated by Hemingway. You need to consider whether the style promoted by Hemingway is the right one for you.
  3. All or nothing thinking. Hemingway App is a programmed tool, which means it edits writing through a very black and white lens. It does not have the functionality to account for broken “writing rules” that are intentional due to author style or a literary devices list that it can use to evaluate your writing.
  4. Using it to replace a professional editor. While tools like Hemingway Editor can save some time during the editing process, it cannot – nor should not – fully replace editing services. You should still budget for and plan to find a book editor that has expertise in your genre and type of writing.

If you’re looking for a complex, fully-featured writing app, Hemingway isn’t it, but it doesn’t claim to be. 

It’s hard to fault Hemingway based on what it does. It’s more a case of carefully considering whether what Hemingway offers is a good fit for your needs as a writer. 

Hemingway Editor alternatives 

As mentioned, Hemingway doesn’t have the functionality of some of the other options out there. 

If you’re looking for an alternative to Hemingway, you might want to consider the following options. 

Here are some alternatives to Hemingway App Editor 

  1. ProWritingAid. ProWritingAid offers a lot of functionality that isn’t found in Hemingway. Check out our full exploration of ProWritingAid here
  2. Grammarly. A lot of writers swear by Grammarly. If you’re looking for a Hemingway alternative, consider if Grammarly is a better fit for you. 

So, briefly, how does Hemingway stack up against its two main alternatives?

Hemingway Editor vs ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid claims to be one of the most comprehensive writing tools on the market.

As well as claiming to help in fairly standard ways, such as catching spelling and grammar errors, ProWritingAid goes further and claims to use artificial intelligence and other advances to guide you to be a better writer.

The level of feedback and explanations given in ProWritingAid far exceeds that of Hemingway.

However, to use the full version of ProWritingAid, you need to invest a lot more money than the paid version of Hemingway. 

So how to choose between Hemingway and ProWritingAid?

We suggest giving both a try. You can do this without spending anything. Get hands-on, and get a feel for the experience of using each option.

Once you know how it feels to use Hemingway and ProWritingAid, consider their respective feature sets. What level of functionality do you need? What are you willing to pay for it?

These questions will help you to make the right choice between Hemingway and ProWritingAid.

Hemingway Editor vs Grammarly 

Grammarly is arguably the best-known option in the writing improvement software world. 

In terms of features and functionality, it’s pretty similar to ProWritingAid. It offers detailed feedback on your writing, drawing upon AI and other technology. 

Grammarly has more features than Hemingway, and it also integrates with other apps, such as web browsers, something Hemingway isn’t capable of.

However, Grammarly is also a lot more expensive than Hemingway. 

If you’re looking for a great value, limited option, choose Hemingway. If you want to spend more money in exchange for a more powerful tool, take the time to compare ProWritingAid and Grammarly. 

Is Hemingway Editor right for you?

Now that you know what Hemingway is, what it does, and what the alternatives are, it all boils down to one question – should you use Hemingway, or should you look elsewhere?

Of course, the best way to answer that question is to go and check it out for yourself. Choose a writing prompt, and start typing away on the app. You can get a feel for it in under a minute. 

As a guideline, we suggest using Hemingway if:

  • You need to improve your writing as quickly as possible.
  • You’re looking for a fairly limited set of stylistic improvements.
  • You want a low-cost paid option for improving your writing. 

You might want to consider an alternative to Hemingway if:

  • You want a fully-featured writing app that offers more than the suggestions made by Hemingway.
  • You want a writing app that integrates with other software.

While the famous quote from Ernest Hemingway states that we will never become masters of writing, it also implies that as apprentices, we have to learn and grow.

Do you use Hemingway App to improve your writing?

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