Paper Rater analyzes your writing surprisngly well
As Paper Rater so eloquently states in HUGE type, it's a free grammar and spelling check, with plagiarism detection thrown in for good measure.
It's actually an interesting study in graphic design: Look at that screenshot. Would you rely on such a website for editing an important academic paper, a newspaper article, or any other important text? At first glance, I sure wouldn't. That "Use now FREE!" button just screams "TACKY". And that's really too bad, because when I finally overcame my distaste and gave the site a spin anyway, I found a surprisingly comprehensive grammar and style editor.
I tested the site with a 3,600-word text on electrical engineering. I found it interesting that the site would not accept short text. When at first I tried submitting one or two paragraphs, it simply let me know that the text is too short for analyzing. I actually like that, because it makes me feel the analysis is more thorough.
The site gave me extensive recommendations for the text, and analyzed word usage and sentence structure. I documented the process with a bunch of screenshots, which you can find after the jump.
After you paste in your text (which I cannot show you here), you select the type of document you're submitting. I guess it uses different parameters for different writing types, which, again, makes me feel it's thorough.
After it runs through your text, you get a pane with different aspects of your writing you can click and get concise reports for:
This is the originality detection. Yay, my text wasn't plagiarized!
The Style report is much more comprehensive. You actually need to know how to read it ("so what if I have 171 'to be' verbs?"). The report contains some explanations, but this is where a proper usage guide can come in handy.
This is a sample for an alert my paper got. Apparently, the vocabulary was a bit thin. I wasn't offended because I didn't write it myself. I'm guessing that "Vocab Builder" is a thesaurus, but I didn't test it myself.