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How to Use ChatGPT as an Essay Editor (Free Promt)

  • Sean 

Find out how you can quickly improve your writing with the help of ChatGPT. This article includes a free template that checks for a number of issues that could be present in your essay including, grammar, organization, and citation checking as well as many others.

I’ve found that using ChatGPT like this allows you to get the kind of feedback that is usually hidden behind paywalls for premium essay editing tools. While you can do this for free using GPT 3.5 (the default version of ChatGPT), I would highly recommend using ChatGPT plus With GPT-4.

Here is the template. Just copy and paste the prompt and then follow it up with your essay for instant feedback.

Template Promt for Chatgpt Essay Editing

I want you to help edit this essay. I want you to provide feedback on all of the listed items bellow. Give specific quotes that could use improvement. Do you understand? Just reply with yes if you do.

  • Grammar: List out all of the grammatical issues you can find
  • Passive voice: List out all of the instances/examples of passive voice you can find
  • Word choice: List out all of the instances of poor word choice you can find including improvements in vocabulary
  • Sentence structure: List out all of the instances of poor sentence structure you can find
  • Organization: List out all of the instances of poor organization you can find
  • Style: List out all of the instances of poor style choice you can find Including instances of poor tone, clarity, formality, and consistency.
  • Content suggestions: List out all of the instances of poor argument quality you can find. Also, evaluate the argument as a whole.
  • Citation format checking: Are there any sentences where the source is not clear according to APA 7? Is the format in line with APA 7?

However, it’s worth noting that ChatGPT can also help with ethically writing your essays if you use it as a source of inspiration rather than having it write the essay content for you. I have another article on how you should be using ChatGPT for essay writing if you are interested in why this is the best use of ChatGPT for essay writing.

Now I’m going to dive into the separate parts of this prompt, and how you can check for the different editing parts separately.

Let’s get into how ChatGPT can help you with editing your essays.

How to Use ChatGPT as an Essay Editor

1. Edit grammar

One of ChatGPT’s strengths is that it can correct your grammar. I usually use Grammarly‘s extensions but this is a not-bad alternative to the free version.

As you can see, it’s possible to ask ChatGPT to provide specific examples and corrections in your essay this way.

ChatGPT can analyze and correct grammar errors in sentences. ChatGPT can identify common grammar mistakes such as subject-verb agreement errors, incorrect use of articles, and incorrect verb tenses. For instance, if a user types “She am going to the store,” ChatGPT can edit it to read “She is going to the store,” correcting the subject-verb agreement error.

Here is what I got with the grammar section of the prompt.

Sidenote: remember that even the best grammar checkers are not perfect and may not catch every mistake, so it’s always a good idea to have another person review your work that isnt ChatGPT or Grammarly.

Next up is one of my favorites, checking citations.

2. Citation checking

This is a godsend.

It is very easy to get in trouble when it comes to citing your sources. Although this is not actually that common in my experience, sometimes you get professors that drop the book on you for a few small mistakes (speaking from personal experience in my early university days).

Using ChatGPT to check your citations is one way to at least reduce the chance of accidental citation mistakes.

To do this, ChatGPT can provide suggestions for citation formats, based on the style guide being used (e.g. APA, MLA, Chicago). ChatGPT can recognize the style and formatting requirements for different types of sources, such as books, journals, or websites, and provide guidance on how to properly cite them.

I would not recommend asking ChatGPT to try and validate the sources that you use, however. ChatGPT is highly likely to get these things wrong, as it doesn’t actually have access to the direct source that it needs to compare. It might seem like it does, but it’s just making stuff up.

Here are the results I got using the citation format checking part of the prompt.

You can modify what is in the template to whatever citation style you want. I just used APA 7 for this example since that’s what I write in most. I haven’t tested how well it works in other styles that use footnotes etc.

3. Remove passive voice

Passive voice is one of those things that can be hard to pick out. This is especially the case if you are in university or college and have to read a lot of academic journals, which heavily use passive voice. This means it can sometimes bleed over into your writing.

ChatGPT can identify sentences that contain passive voice and suggest alternative phrasing to make the sentence more active. For example, if a sentence reads “The ball was hit by the bat,” ChatGPT can suggest rewriting it as “The bat hit the ball.”

In this way, ChatGPT can be a helpful second perspective on your writing if you are aiming to eliminate passive voice from your essays.

Here is an example of how the template can check for this.

Just keep in mind that ChatGPT can be wrong about these passive voice sentences from time to time. If you want to really verify they are passive voice paste your sentences into Passive Voice Detector. In this case, 80% of these sentences are passive voice.

4. Revise essay style

The style you choose to write in will vary depending on the context you are writing in significantly. For instance, this blog is much more informal and conversational compared to a university or college essay.

You can tell ChatGPT what style you are going for and it can assist you with certain formalities or details to keep that style consistent throughout your writing.

Here is an example.

5. Revising essay content

This is the big one. I would highly recommend using GPT-4 if you plan on doing this part of the prompt on its own.

Additionally, ChatGPT can make suggestions about the actual content of your writing. Just make sure to fact-check its suggestions because it can get things wrong. But it’s generally pretty good when it comes to editing existing work.

Firstly, ChatGPT can suggest changes to the structure of the essay, such as adding or removing paragraphs, reordering the flow of ideas, or adjusting the length of sentences. This can help to create a logical and coherent structure for the essay that guides the reader through the argument or analysis.

It can also suggest things like additional detail where it’s needed and adding context where is missing. However, once again, make sure to take what it says with a grain of salt. In reality, you will probably throw out 80-90% of these suggestions.

Here’s an example.

6. Improve word choice

ChatGPT can also help with word choice.

Firstly, ChatGPT can help writers to avoid repetitive or overused words. It can suggest alternative words or synonyms that convey a similar meaning, helping to make the text more varied and engaging. For example, instead of using the word “good” repeatedly, ChatGPT may suggest using words like “excellent,” “outstanding,” or “superb.”

Secondly, ChatGPT can assist writers in selecting words that match the tone and style of the text. It can recommend words that convey a more formal or informal tone, depending on the context and audience of the writing. For example, if the writing is intended for an academic audience, ChatGPT may suggest using more technical or specialized vocabulary.

Here is the result I got with the word choice part of the prompt.

7. Improve sentence structure

This is a nice feature of using ChatGPT to edit essays. It can suggest that you rephrase certain parts for improved sentence structure.

ChatGPT can suggest changes to sentence length, helping writers to create sentences that are neither too short nor too long. For example, It can recommend dividing a long sentence into two or shorter sentences or combining two shorter sentences into a longer one to create a better rhythm and balance in the text.

These are the kind of things that, once again, are hard to come by for free.

Here is an example of how you can make your essay more readable this way.

The Takeaway

ChatGPT has some solid potential as a way of revising your essay. The included template shows an example of some of the different ways you can revise your essay. You can edit and revise this template to include many more things you want to be analyzed by ChatGPT.