10 Antidote Functions Every Journalist Should Know
Antidote may be a journalist’s best ally for spell-checking, but did you know it can also help you with your fact-checking? Use these 10 tips to quickly deep dive into your text and make Antidote your best ally against approaching deadlines.
1. Verify Key Information
In a hurry? Review at a glance the Who, the How Much, the When and the Where, thanks to the Pragmatics filter. This review allows you to focus on information, rather than style or syntax. For example, it helps you see all the numbers mentioned in your article, and correct typos that would mislead your readers. The difference between 10,000 and 100,000 tons of CO2 is just one 0 on paper, but the contrast is huge when it comes to the production of greenhouse gases.
2. Feed Your Personal Dictionaries
There are a lot of advantages in adding words like proper nouns or acronyms to your personal dictionaries. Here are three among many:
- You can significantly reduce the number of unknown words underlined by the corrector so your revision takes less time.
- The corrector analyzes your text better if it knows the nature of the words in it. It will thus identify the real mistakes and bother you less with “discontinuities”, those passages where the syntax is ambiguous for Antidote.
- You avoid inconsistencies from article to article by standardizing words that reoccur, for example the complex title of an official report or the correct spelling of a foreign name.
3. Avoid Long Sentences
Sentences that are too long risk losing the attention of your audience, thus compromising their understanding of your story (but you already know that!). So, here’s how to catch them without too much effort. In the Readability filter, long sentences are highlighted so that you can spot them more easily. You can even adjust the number of words after which a sentence is considered long by clicking on the filter options banner. All that is left is to segment your ideas to clarify your text!
4. Examine Verb Tenses
Although this isn’t a strict rule, using the present tense can energize the style of an article. See all the verbs in a text at a glance, listed by tense, in the Tenses filter. This way, you can check whether the past tense is truly necessary. For example, in the passage “a report that outlined how further temperature increases will multiply the risk of floods”, the present “outlines” might suffice.
5. Revise Impersonal Phrases
Impersonal constructions shouldn’t always be avoided, but they can sometimes cause confusion about the subject or weigh down the text. To quickly spot impersonal phrases in your text, use the Constructions filter. For example, this filter underlines the instances of “it is” that might be unnecessary. So the passage “it’s more likely that the world will pass” is simplified to “the world will more likely pass”. Fewer words, more clarity!
6. Eliminate Repetitions
Repetitions are often unintentional and can creep into your text when you rewrite a passage and fail to analyze surrounding sentences. Luckily, the Repetition filter spots them for you right away. What’s more, clicking on one of the repeated words yields a list of synonyms suggested by Antidote. Make a choice and the word is automatically replaced in the text.
Among the filter options, you can adjust the Range, which determines the maximum distance between two terms for them to be considered a repetition. Additionally, the Smart filter does not take titles into account when evaluating repetitions, because they necessarily announce what follows.
7. Enrich Your Vocabulary
The Vocabulary filter highlights opportunities to refine certain word choices in your text. Among other things, it flags pleonasms, informal or old-fashioned language that could deviate from the tone you wish to maintain, and inappropriate or offensive terms (sexist, homophobic, racist, etc.). This filter also lists commonplace verbs, such as be, have and do, which often benefit from being replaced by words with a precise meaning, to enrich and energize your text. For example, we can rephrase “the expert is happy with the results” as “the expert rejoices at the results”.
8. Adjust Typography to Meet Standards
Once you have finished writing your text, be sure to review the typography to conform with the style of the publication for which it is intended. Antidote will automatically follow the settings you select for the formatting of times, dates, and numbers. Correct identical cases from the list of detections, or click on the button Correct all if you are short on time.
Sometimes, the same news outlet uses different standards depending on the platform. For example, a print newspaper might place a non-breaking space between the day and month in a date in print, but remove it in the online version. In Antidote 11, you can save several presets and choose one or the other directly in the corrector. This is great for cross-platform journalists, ensuring that your texts always conform to an outlet's in-house standards.
9. Create Shortcuts in the Corrector
In the new Antidote 11 interface, you can change the content of the corrector's navigation bar. Use drag and drop to create a shortcut, remove it or change its position. Use the navigation bar to establish your own writing and editing routine, so you can write more efficiently. Perhaps you prefer to start by reformulating repetitions and commonplace verbs before moving on to the corrections of the Language and Typography views.
10. Find a Catchy Title
A play on words makes for a winning headline. Let us quote The Guardian, recognized for this talent, with headlines like Tea and antipathy or X marks the despot. With its dictionary of rhymes, Antidote can help you find the perfect word to make your title catchy. Far from being a conventional resource, it allows you to navigate through words not only by rhyme, but also by near-rhyme, number of syllables, and category of word, among others. Throw rhythm into your writing by counting feet, or tickle the ear with some convincing consonance.
If you enjoyed reading this, it’s probably because journalists and the Antidote team share a love of language. And, because we understand, as you do, all the value and weight of words, we invite you to discover our series of articles Find the Right Word. Learn how to use Antidote’s multiple functions and make it your ally.
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