Naive linter for English prose
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Latest commit ba52c77 Aug 11, 2018

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Naive linter for English prose for developers who can't write good and wanna learn to do other stuff good too.


npm install write-good

Important: Do not use this tool to be a jerk to other people about their writing.


writeGood is a function that takes a string and returns an array of suggestions.

var writeGood = require('write-good');

var suggestions = writeGood('So the cat was stolen.');

// suggestions:
// [{
//   suggestion: "omit 'So' from the beginning of sentences",
//   index: 0, offset: 2
// }, {
//   suggestion: "'was stolen' is passive voice",
//   index: 11, offset: 10
// }]

writeGood takes an optional second argument that allows you to disable certain checks.

You can disable checking for passive voice like this:

var writeGood = require('write-good');

var suggestions = writeGood('So the cat was stolen', { passive: false});
// suggestions: []

You can use the second argument's checks property to pass in custom checks instead of write-good's default linting configuration. Like this, you can check non-English documents, for example with the linter extension for German, schreib-gut:

var schreibGut = require('schreib-gut');

writeGood('Aller Wahrscheinlichkeit nach können Entwickler nicht gut schreiben', { weasel-words: false, checks: schreibGut});

// suggestions
// [{index : 0, offset : 29, reason : '"Aller Wahrscheinlichkeit nach" is wordy or unneeded' }]


You can use write-good as a command-line tool by installing it globally:

npm install -g write-good

write-good takes a glob and prints suggestions to stdout:

$ write-good *.md

 = writeGood('So the cat was stolen.');
"was stolen" is passive voice on line 20 at column 40
//   suggestion: "'was stolen' is passive voice",
"was stolen" is passive voice on line 28 at column 19

You can run just specific checks like this:

write-good *.md --weasel --so

Or exclude checks like this:

write-good *.md --no-passive

Or include checks like this:

# E-Prime is disabled by default.
write-good *.md --yes-eprime

Note: The --yes prefix only works for E-Prime, because the other checks are included by default, anyway.

You can run just with text without supplying files:

write-good --text="It should have been defined there."

You can even supply multi-line text:

write-good --text="I can't see a problem there that's not been defined yet.
Should be defined again."

You can also pass other arguments:

write-good --text="It should have been defined there." --no-passive

You can even fetch output from a remote file:

write-good --text="$(curl"

Use the --parse option to activate parse-happy output and a more conventional Unix exit code:

write-good *.md --parse

To specify a custom checks extension, for example schreib-gut, run:

npm install -g schreib-gut
write-good *.md --checks=schreib-gut


You can disable any combination of the following by providing a key with value false as the second argument to writeGood.


Checks for passive voice.


Checks for lexical illusions – cases where a word is repeated.


Checks for so at the beginning of the sentence.


Checks for there is or there are at the beginning of the sentence.


Checks for "weasel words."


Checks for adverbs that can weaken meaning: really, very, extremely, etc.


Checks for wordy phrases and unnecessary words.


Checks for common cliches.


Checks for "to-be" verbs. Disabled by default


Users can create their own write-good language checks. As described above, you can specify such extensions when running write-good on the command line or calling it in your JavaScript code.

The following 3rd-party write-good extensions are available:

  • schreib-gut: A basic extension for the German language

If you know of any write-good extensions that are not in this list, please open a pull request!


An extension is a Node.js module that exposes an object containing a check function (fn) and an explanation string for each new check:

module.exports = {
  check1: {
    fn: function(text) {
    explanation: ''
  check2: {
    fn: function(text) {
    explanation: ''

Each check function takes a string input and determines a list of style violation objects, each with an index and an offset:

* @param {text} text  Input text
* @return {{index:number, offset:number}[]}  List of all violations

The index defines the position of the match in the input text, whereas the offset specifies the length of the match.

The following example extension provides a check that determines if the input text contains a set of forbidden terms (Tom Riddle and Voldemort):

module.exports = {
  voldemort: {
    fn: function (text) {
      var positives = ['Tom Riddle', 'Voldemort']
      var re = new RegExp('\\b(' + positives.join('|') + ')\\b', 'gi');
      var suggestions = [];
      while (match = re.exec(text)) {
          index: match.index,
          offset: match[0].length,
      return suggestions;
    explanation: 'You must not name Him-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named'


You can also run this application in Docker. For example:

docker run -it --rm "$(pwd)":/srv/app -w /srv/app btford/write-good:latest *.md

See also

I came across these resources while doing research to make this module. They might be helpful.




This is not an endorsement. These apps have similar functionality that you may find useful.

Other projects using write good