11 Antidote Functions Every Journalist Should Know
If you’re a journalist, you know it can be challenging to make sure both your facts and your grammar are flawless, especially when deadlines loom and stress starts taking its toll. For meticulous proofreading, count on Antidote. This tried-and-true writing companion boasts an arsenal of features for eliminating mistakes and improving your style. Give these eleven a try.
Functions to Know
- Verify Key Information
- Identify Themes in a Lengthy Document
- Feed Your Personal Dictionaries
- Avoid Long Sentences
- Examine Verb Tenses
- Revise Impersonal Phrases
- Eliminate Repetitions
- Enrich Your Vocabulary
- Adjust Typography to Meet Standards
- Create Shortcuts in the Corrector
- Find a Catchy Title
1. Verify Key Information
In a hurry? Review the Who, the How Much, the When and the Where at a glance using the Pragmatics filter. This function allows you to focus on the information content, rather than the style or syntax. For example, it helps you see all the figures mentioned in your article and correct typos that could mislead your readers. The difference between 10,000 and 100,000 tons of CO2 is just one zero on paper, but the difference is huge when it comes to greenhouse gas production.
2. Identify Themes in a Lengthy Document
How do you quickly figure out which issues dominate the discourse in a budget, report or electoral platform? Beyond the table of contents, you can learn a lot about the substance of a document by analyzing the semantic fields it covers. Select all the text in the document (this also works for PDFs) and launch Antidote’s corrector. Choose the Semantic fields filter from the menu under Statistics and watch the main themes emerge automatically.
This filter is particularly useful for comparing two political parties’ platforms, as shown below. The semantic field of the word community sits at seventh place on one side and twelfth on the other. Now it’s up to you to shed light on the matter!
3. Feed Your Personal Dictionaries
There are a lot of advantages to 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 can better analyze your text if it knows the nature of the words it contains. It will more easily parse the real mistakes and bother you less with “discontinuities”, those passages where the syntax is ambiguous for Antidote.
- You can avoid inconsistencies from article to article by standardizing reoccurring words—the complex title of an official report or the correct spelling of a foreign name, for example.
4. Avoid Long Sentences
Run-on sentences make it difficult for your audience to make sense of your points and may negatively affect their understanding of your story (but you already know that!). So, here’s how to catch them with little effort. The Readability filter highlights long sentences so 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 you need to do next is break up your ideas to clarify the text!
5. Examine Verb Tenses
Although not a strict rule, using the present tense makes an article more dynamic. Quickly view all the verbs in a text, listed by tense, using the Tenses filter. This way, you can check whether it’s really necessary to use the past tense. For example, in the passage “a report that outlined how further temperature increases will multiply the risk of floods”, the present “outlines” could suffice.
6. Revise Impersonal Phrases
Impersonal constructions shouldn’t always be avoided, but sometimes they can lead to confusion about the subject or make the text feel clunky. To quickly spot impersonal phrases in your text, use the Constructions filter. For example, this filter underlines instances of “it is” that may be unnecessary. So the passage “it’s more likely that the world will pass” can be simplified to “the world will more likely pass”. Fewer words, more clarity!
7. Eliminate Repetitions
Repetitions are often unintentional and can creep into your text when you rewrite a passage and forget to look over sentences nearby. Luckily, the Repetition filter spots them for you right away. What’s more, clicking on one of the repeated words yields a list of suggested synonyms. Select one from the list and Antidote will automatically replace the word in your text.
The filter options let you adjust the Range, which determines the maximum distance between two words for them to be considered a repetition. Furthermore, the Smart filter doesn’t take titles into account when looking for repetitions because they necessarily present the content that follows.
8. Enrich Your Vocabulary
The Vocabulary filter highlights opportunities to refine certain word choices in your text. Among other things, it flags redundancies, informal or old-fashioned language that could deviate from the tone you’re aiming for, and inappropriate or offensive terms (sexist, homophobic, racist, etc.). This filter also lists commonplace verbs, such as be, have and do, which can often be replaced by words with a more precise meaning to make your text more lively and interesting. For example, we can rephrase “the expert is happy with the results” as “the expert rejoices at the results”.
9. Adjust Typography to Meet Standards
Once you’ve finished writing your text, be sure to review the typography to be sure it conforms with the official style of the publication for which it is intended. Antidote will automatically follow the settings you select for formatting times, dates and numbers. Correct identical cases from the list of detections or click on the button Correct all if you’re short on time.
Sometimes, the same news outlet uses different standards depending on the platform. For example, a newspaper might use 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 among them directly from the corrector. This feature is great for cross-platform journalists, helping ensure a text will always meet a given outlet's in-house standards.
10. Create Shortcuts in the Corrector
In the new Antidote 11 interface, you can change up the functions in the corrector’s navigation bar. Drag and drop filters from the sidebar to add shortcuts, remove them or change their position. Customize the navigation bar to match your personal writing and editing routine, so you can work more efficiently. Perhaps you prefer to start by eliminating repetitions and commonplace verbs before moving on to the Language and Typography corrections.
11. Find a Catchy Title
Wordplay makes for a winning headline. The Guardian is well known for this trick, with headlines like Tea and antipathy or X marks the despot. Antidote’s dictionary of rhymes can help you find the perfect word to craft your catchy title. Far from a conventional resource, it lets you find rhymes or near-rhymes, as well as words that have the same number of syllables or that belong to the same category (among other criteria). Throw rhythm into your writing by counting syllables, or make it 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, the value and weight of words, we encourage you to discover our article series Find the Right Word. Learn how to use Antidote’s wealth of functions and make it your trusted ally.
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