Writers looking for ways to improve their craft sometimes find inspiration in the most unexpected sources. ChatGPT, a powerful artificial intelligence (AI) language model trained by OpenAI, is a tool that offers invaluable assistance in researching and producing text.
With the right prompts and tailored questions, ChatGPT is evolving writers into editors, pushing them to “humanise” text to make it more readable and engaging for target audiences. A key focus for writers is to edit text to ensure it isn’t mechanical, repetitive and clumsy.
Editing ChatGPT text
Editing ChatGPT text to make it more reader-friendly and varied helps to improve the clarity and coherence of the content. This language model is designed to generate text based on input data, and while it is incredibly powerful, it does not always produce well-written or well-structured text.
AI-generated text may contain grammatical errors, repetitive phrases or lack a natural flow. By editing and refining it, writers can ensure that their content is more engaging and easier to read. Varying grammar and sentence structures helps to maintain the readers’ interest and attention. Let’s look at an example. Here’s what ChatGPT had to say in response to the prompt “Is WhatsApp considered to be a superapp?”
“WhatsApp can be considered a superapp (1). While WhatsApp started as a messaging app, it has since expanded its offerings to include voice and video calls, file sharing, group chats, and more. In addition (2), WhatsApp has also added features such as WhatsApp Business, which allows businesses to communicate with customers through the app (3), and WhatsApp Pay, which enables users to send and receive money through the app (3). With its broad range of features and services, WhatsApp can be seen as a comprehensive app that offers multiple solutions to its users (4).”
Reviewing this paragraph, we can notice a number of issues related to how it has been structured and worded:
- The introductory sentence is too general. Instead, writers should try speaking to their local or target audience.
- “In addition” is a mechanical way to introduce the next sentence. This cohesive device makes this paragraph sound like a factual report, rather than a blog post. ChatGPT makes repetitive and mechanical use of cohesive devices, so these need to be edited.
- “Through the app” is repeated twice in very close succession. This repetitive use of certain words or fixed phrases is characteristic of ChatGPT text and needs to be rewritten.
- Often, ChatGPT includes a concluding sentence that is unnecessary. In this instance, the concluding sentence is unnecessary because this is a body paragraph that forms part of a blog post section. Concluding at this point doesn’t support the flow of ideas from one paragraph to the next.
Here is one way to edit text from ChatGPT’s paragraph on WhatsApp. It has been changed to speak to a local audience, including a hyperlink to the source to add credibility. A more appropriate cohesive device – “more recently” – was used. The phrase “through the app” was edited to avoid repetition.
“South Africa’s most popular superapp, WhatsApp, started as just a messaging app. It has since expanded its offerings to include voice and video calls, file sharing and group chats. More recently, WhatsApp has also added features such as WhatsApp Business, which allows businesses to communicate with customers through the app, and WhatsApp Pay, which enables users to send and receive money.”
Editing AI paragraphs
Here we asked ChatGPT to respond to this prompt: ‘What is the future of mobile apps? Write a paragraph.’ Do you notice that this paragraph sounds clumsy and mechanical?
“With the rise of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality, we’re likely to see apps become even more personalized and intelligent, offering users a more immersive and intuitive experience. We can expect to see apps that can learn our behavior patterns and make personalized recommendations, as well as apps that can adapt to our environment and provide real-time information and assistance. In addition, the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to play a significant role in the future of apps, with apps being able to control and monitor connected devices in our homes and workplaces.”
The first two sentences are very long, making them difficult to read. Human text is characterised by a range of sentence lengths and sentence structures. Unless otherwise prompted, ChatGPT tends to produce paragraphs that are very similar in structure, length and style. Because of this, writers need to edit text to make it more interesting to read.
In the example paragraph above, we can again see ChatGPT using a cohesive device very mechanically: “in addition”. An edit of this paragraph on artificial intelligence could be as follows:
“With the rise of artificial intelligence, machine learning and augmented reality, apps are set to become even more personalised and intelligent. Users can expect a more immersive and intuitive experience. Through data analysis, apps can learn our patterns and behaviours, making personalised recommendations and adapting to provide real-time information and assistance. For businesses and individuals, the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to play a significant role in the future of apps. Increasingly, apps are used to control and monitor connected devices in our homes and workplaces.”
Making the most out of ChatGPT text
Editing text generated by ChatGPT can greatly enhance the quality and effectiveness of the writing. By carefully reviewing the text and making necessary revisions, writers can refine the content to better meet the needs of their audience.
Whether creating a blog post, a social media update, or any other form of written content, it is essential to take the time to edit text and improve what is produced by ChatGPT to protect your readership.
In striving to create content that is engaging, informative and well-written, writers can use ChatGPT to its fullest potential and produce high-quality content that will capture the attention of readers.
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