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Oct 04 2018 - 08:00 PM
The Citation Machine Tries to Automate Formatting and Editing for Essays

The Citation Machine is an online writing tool that corrects grammar or spelling errors, provides proper formatting to various aspects of papers, such as citations, and finds potential plagiarism. The site offers some functions for free but its full features cost $9.95 per month. The service is owned by the edtech company Chegg.


Writers, researchers, or students can easily upload or paste papers into the Citation Machine website to scan for unintentional plagiarism and spelling or grammar errors. One useful feature when editing a paper is the filter function. Users can filter by error type to see where and how often a certain type of mistake has been made. The platform also easily automates the formatting for individual references, in-text citations, or full bibliographies. APA, MLA, and Chicago, the three most popular style guides, are available options.

One of my favorite features of Citation Machine is its Create a Title Page function. Users can simply enter a paper’s title, subtitle, running head, author, and institutional affiliations, choose the style guide format, and the website will pump out the proper title page in a downloadable Word document. This is the type of smart automation that saves time and confusion.


Citation Machine’s free features are too limiting. For instance, the grammar check will only provide results for the first 20 mistakes, which might be fine for a short essay but not enough for a student term paper. The full service is a little steep at $9.95 per month. There are other competitors that offer similar features for no charge. With Grammarly , Google Scholar, and OttoBib, it’s difficult to rationalize $10 per month for this platform.

On a technical note, there were a few small issues that arose during my review. I found some of the suggested corrections to my writing sample a little strange. For instance, the advice for the usage of however suggested that I should use the word between a semicolon and a comma, but the service also left it capitalized (example: "...; However,"...). This could be confusing to someone unfamiliar with grammar rules, like ESL or younger students. Additionally, the citation feature struggled to automate the proper format for websites and newspapers. I needed to manually enter the proper info for these mediums.


The Citation Machine provides some decent free resources for formatting aspects of papers and editing writing; however, the paid version is a bit overpriced given the free or cheaper resources available online.

Image: via Pixabay and Citation Machine
|By: Ryan Allen|1171 Reads