Hemingway app judges writing—badly

Why Evolution Is True

Oh well, another technical failure: the inability of computer programs to judge the quality of writing.

The program at issue is the Hemingway App, which has apparently achieved some renown for being able to parse writing and suss out the awkwardness, the passive voices, the over-use of adverbs, and so on.  It’s supposed to help you learn to write better.

Now, however, it’s become notorious, for the people at Language Log have actually run Hemingway’s prose through the Hemingway program. And how does Papa rate? Mediocre at best: a passage from “My Old Man” was rated “bad,” while passages from “The Old Man and the Sea” (a nice starting paragraph) and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” were judged just “OK.” Apparently Hemingway wasn’t such a good prose stylist, at least according to his eponymous app.

You can check either your own writing or that of others. Just go to…

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