Zia now offers suggestions to improve word choice and tone in formal documents.
Earlier this year, we introduced Zia, Writer’s AI-powered writing assistant, which makes grammar, style and readability suggestions in real time.
Since then, we’ve been hard at work improving Zia’s skills and expanding the types of problems she can help with. Today, we’re excited to announce the latest update to Zia aimed at polishing formal writing and word choice.
Better word choices
Finding the right words can be challenging. But even when you think you’ve used the right word, there may still be better alternatives to spruce up your text. Zia can now come up with more effective words to give your writing better clarity.
1. Non-inclusive language
Professional standards are shifting all across the world. Part of that shift is towards more inclusive, gender-neutral language. Flight attendant instead of stewardess. Police officer instead of policeman. Though those words aren’t technically wrong, it’s still good to be aware of when you’re using gendered language.
Zia now helps point out those moments. She can highlight words and terms that could come across as biased, and suggest you use their gender-neutral equivalents instead.
2. Complexity and Jargon
We tend to use redundant and complicated words because we want to be taken more seriously. But that won’t help if our readers don’t get a clear picture of what we’re trying to say. Zia alerts you when you adopt complicated language in your writing and suggests simpler alternatives you can use.
3. Archaic words
Zia also detects phrases and words that have become obsolete and are no longer widely used in society. Zia can now make sure that you avoid using them in your writing, so you readers don’t feel like they’re reading a passage from Shakespeare.
Keeping formal writing in check
We use slang, contractions, and other types of informal speech as part of everyday communication. That casual style can unconsciously creep into formal writing as well. Zia can now identify informal language in official documents and help you maintain a more formal and appropriate tone.
1. Slang and Colloquialisms
As instant messaging has become the cornerstone of most modern communication, the line between professional communication and casual conversation has been blurred. To help prevent missteps in a business context, Zia now identifies casual language in your writing and offers possible alternatives.
2. Phrasal verbs
Phrasal verbs are made of a main verb, plus another word, often a preposition or an adverb. Generally, phrasal verbs are more common in spoken conversation, so Zia helps you steer clear of these informal words in your writing by suggesting their single verb equivalents.
3. Abbreviations and contractions
Most formal documents tends to use entire words and phrases instead of their abbreviated or contracted forms. Zia now checks for these kinds of words in your writing and replaces them with their complete forms.
In addition to these updates, we’ve also improved our dictionaries for English (US), English (UK) and 9 other languages. Not working on formal documents? You can choose what suggestions you want Zia to show by clicking on the Language Settings icon on the Suggestions card.
Let us know what you think about the new updates and how they help you write better. Drop us a comment below or mail us at email@example.com.
Make Zoho do more for you: You can now use Writer, along with Sheet and Show, as part of our cloud office suite and other collaboration tools by signing up for Zoho Workplace or for Zoho One.
4 Replies to Professionalize your writing and boost your vocabulary with the latest update from Zia
I'm enjoying using Writer and am finding it quite convenient, however it would be nice it there was a way to indicate whether a given document is supposed to be a formal one or not. A letter to a friend does not require the same level of formality as a letter tendered to your supervisor at work, for example. Nor does the narration of a novel need the formality of a term paper. Zia is not helpful when she's trying to tell me that my deliberately chosen dialogue is slang. I already know that. That's why I chose that word or phrase. She also does things like hits on common words like "everyday" because it's a polysyllabic word, then suggests replacing a word like "or" with "alternatively" which is much worse than "everyday". Either polysyllabic words are bad or they're not. Then we have the heading "Improper Word Choices". That is a poor turn of phrase. For example, if you're writing a period piece, you are not going to call a manhole a "utility access hole". It is not improper to use the period accurate term for something in that situation, even if that term is considered gendered today. Yet, it's called an "improper word choice" because there's no way to indicate to Zia that what you're writing isn't a formal paper. It's a bit frustrating, I must admit.
Hi Linda :) Thank you for your feedback and we understand how troublesome this must've been. We're still discussing the possibilities of letting users choose suggestions based on the nature of the document(formal or informal) and we'll let you know as soon as we plan to implement the same. Until then, you can turn on/off individual suggestions by clicking on the Language Settings icon on the Suggestions card.
Just getting started and will leave a comment when I've had a chance to use Zoho. I am grateful to have this because I think I owe letters to many friends and had no word processing program.
Hi Joan! Thank you so much :) Do use Writer and let us know what you think.