So maybe you’ve seen me pushing you to write more in your target language on Instagram or you’ve signed up for my free 14 Days of Writing Program. Great! But now you’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute. This is great and all, but how am I supposed to know if it’s correct?” True! It’s a great point and a valid concern. You already know the benefits of daily writing (building your muscle memory, doing an activity that is active instead of passive, it’s an opportunity to practice “speaking” when you can’t speak, you can do it anywhere–even in the notes of your smartphone) but you might not be able to recognize a mistake just yet. So where do you go when you’d like a quick correction for your writing?
Here are my top three free places to have your writing checked by a native speaker!
1. Italki Notebooks
I’m sure you’ve heard of Italki. I’ve been a tutor on the platform and take all of my language lessons there! Maybe you take language lessons there, too. 🙂 But have you tried out their Notebooks feature? You can write anything from short sentences and phrases to longer notebooks. Anyone in the Italki community can view your posts and offer corrections!
- A huge community of language learners who are willing to help each other out. You have a good chance that someone will comment and offer corrections or suggestions.
- Teachers often search the boards and correct writing for free as a way to connect with learners and promote their teaching services.
- A free app makes checking your corrections and notifications easy. You can easily post content while on the go!
- If a native speaker who is not a teacher comments, they might not be able to tell you why something is incorrect, but that it isn’t correct or doesn’t sound natural.
- If you have something really long or that requires a lot of correction, you might not receive the feedback you’re hoping for.
2.) Hi Native
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably heard of Lang-8. Hi Native is the “newer” version of this site and is designed for short writing correction. There are a few different features (some of which are premium, so require a paid account), but you can do a lot with the free options that Hi Native has to offer! Hi Native is one of my top places to find out if short phrases are correct or sound natural in my target language. Just click “Ask” and start writing!
- Like Italki, Hi Native has a huge community of motivated learners who are happy to help.
- It has an accompanying app or can be used on your desktop, so it’s easy and convenient. I was even happy to turn notifications on and see the phrases it suggested to me in my target language!
- Questions are typically answered often and very quickly because so many posts are short and easy to correct.
- For short questions, Hi Native will automatically translate the question, and you can just write the word or phrase you’re unsure about. If you’re really nervous about being understood, this feature is great for those words or questions that you’re afraid to ask about.
- Some of Hi Native’s coolest features are only available for paid users. The monthly subscription fee is a bit high, in my opinion. You don’t know who will correct your posts, so if you’re spending money on correction, it’s best spent with a teacher who knows their stuff.
- You might receive corrections that are wrong or get conflicting suggestions. Because Hi Native is made up of language learners just like you, they’re usually not language teachers. Many natives know that something is wrong, but not why. Dialects also complicate this (especially when asking if something is natural) because it can vary greatly from one part of the country to another.
If you’re really bummed to have missed the Lang-8 bus (…me! I wasn’t writing well enough in another language before they stopped accepting new accounts) you’ll be happy to see that LangCorrect is here to fill that void. You can upload journal entries, join a Discord server, make new language friends and write entries that are both long and short! This resource is totally free and designed for use on your computer (no mobile app here like Italki or Hi Native!)
- It’s free! You’re able to write longer entries and receive sentence by sentence correction from native speakers
- It creates a sense of community. Other language learners inspiring each other. ❤ You can’t not love that! Users can leave comments and add you as a friend as well.
- There are writing prompts! There’s really no excuse to not know what to write about with this cool feature. (You can suggest prompts, too!)
- Like Italki and Hi Native, it’s community based. You will receive correction, but maybe not an answer or explanation about why something is incorrect.
- There is a language limit in the free plan, and the premium raises that limit to 10. I wouldn’t really consider this to be a huge con…but this cap might be frustrating for those who like to dabble in many languages for fun.
- Premium users have added perks like higher visibility, so if you’re using it as a free user, your writing might not receive the attention it deserves.
Are you inspired to start writing?
Don’t let money hold you back from writing and receiving corrections in language learning. Even with a premium membership on Hi Native or LangCorrect, it’s considerably less than paying a tutor to correct you during conversation lessons. Writing has many of the same benefits as speaking (with the added bonus of being able to read back over your work months from now to see how much your language has improved). One thing to keep in mind with these resources is they are community based. That means language learners are helping other language learners. If you have some spare time and don’t feel like studying, feel free to jump in and help someone with your native language! 😉
But maybe you’re asking…”When is it best to just hire a professional editor or copywriter to read my work?” If you’re an academic or professional and don’t want your work shared with the world on a free platform (because anyone can see what you post), it’s best to hire a professional. If this is you (with English), I’ve got you covered! Just click here and I’ll be happy to help.
And, don’t forget! If you’re learning English and joined my 14 Days of Writing Program, you get THREE free corrections from me! I’ll not only offer line by line correction, but I will provide you with detailed feedback about your strengths and what you should study in the future to make your writing even better!