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The 9 Best Tips for Using AI Prompts for Writing

Updated on August 7, 2023ProfessionalsWriting Tips

How do you get better writing using AI? To get better results with AI writing generators like ChatGPT or Grammarly, you have to know how to talk to them. That means knowing the best AI writing prompts and when and how to use them.

In this guide, we explain how to write effective prompts for ChatGPT and other AI writing assistants. We’ll give examples of the top AI writing prompts and provide templates that you can copy and modify for whatever you need. We’ll even discuss some general tips on AI writing prompts to get the writing you generate with AI closer to what you want.

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What are AI writing prompts?

AI writing prompts are commands the user enters into the AI writing assistant prompt box to request a task. For example, you could enter the prompt “Create a professional email requesting a staff meeting next Monday at noon,” and the AI would generate an email matching that description.

AI writing prompts, like the prompts you write for Grammarly, can be as short or as long as necessary. They can be more than one sentence but should not have more than one message—every new message is treated as an independent query. Prompts should include all the details of what you need, such as the length or writing style of the generated text.

How do I get better AI writing with prompts?

Prompts are not as difficult as they sound; most AI is designed to understand casual language, so if you write normally when you request something in the prompt box, the AI will usually understand.

However, knowing how to create effective AI writing prompts can be a huge advantage. For one thing, you can take advantage of the AI’s full potential when you know what to write to get the results you want. Moreover, you may not be aware of all the useful tasks AI writing assistants can perform. So take a quick look at our list of the nine best AI writing prompt examples below, and you may discover some new ways AI can help you.

9 best AI writing prompt examples

1 “Create a . . .”

“Create a . . .” followed by a type of document is among the most useful and most popular prompts, along with “Write a . . . ,” an equally viable alternative. Simply type “Create a” and then add whatever AI writing tasks you need (e.g., “Create a TikTok video script using the side-eye trend” or “Create a love poem about flowers”).

2 “Act as a . . .”

Many AI writing assistants can imitate different professions and mindsets, such as those of a marketer, lawyer, or even therapist. This can be a big help for specific tasks; for example, if you want it to generate an ad, you’ll get better results if you type “Act as an advertiser . . .” before the rest of the prompt. You can even use this to have a little fun, such as by asking the AI to “act as a cranky person.”

3 “Complete this sentence . . .”

If asking open-ended questions isn’t getting you the results you want, you can steer the direction better using the “Complete this sentence . . .” template. This works great to focus the AI when broad questions don’t give you a satisfactory answer. Additionally, you can use this prompt directly for writing if you’re having trouble coming up with a conclusion to a sentence.

4 “Mimic this style . . .”

AI writing assistants have a pretty neutral writing style, but what if you want something passionate, excessively formal, or child-friendly? Using the “Mimic this style . . .” prompt, you can paste a sample text from the style you want, and the AI will compose whatever you want in that style. You can even use your own writing to have the AI generate text in your own personal style.

We tested this out by feeding Grammarly a sample text from William Shakespeare and then asking it to generate an email calling out sick from work:

Hark! ’tis an auto-reply upon this day,

Wherein I cannot tend to work, I say.

My health hath taken leave of me, alas,

And thus I cannot come to work, Alas!

Please let me know if anything’s amiss,

And I shall strive to answer with a swiftness.

Thank you for your patience and your care,

Until we meet again, adieu, my dear.

5 “Give me examples of . . .”

Asking AI to give you some examples is useful both in writing and education. For writing, sometimes it can be difficult to think up good examples, even if you understand a topic well. You can save time by asking AI to create a list of examples for you and use them as a springboard for your own writing.

Likewise, if you don’t understand a topic, you can request some examples from an AI to illustrate its meaning. For example, you can write, “Give me examples of iambic pentameter.”

7 “Show this as a . . .”

If you present some AI writing assistants with raw data, they can convert it into rudimentary graphs and charts for you. Don’t expect anything too complex—what AI can create is usually limited to text, which isn’t ideal for visuals. However, it can give you a rough draft that you can use to build a better-looking model. Just say something like, “Show me this data as a graph.”

8 “Write a list of . . .”

AI technology is still developing, so there’s a lot it can’t yet do consistently. Because of this, sometimes it’s best to request multiple options and then choose the best one. Simply ask the AI to generate a list of whatever you need; for example: “Write a list of blog titles for an article about email replies.”

For personal use, try this prompt for recommendations of movies, TV shows, or music. Be sure to specify your tastes to lead it in the right direction, such as by entering “Write a list of movie recommendations for fans of Barbie.”

9 “Compare . . .”

Compare-and-contrast essays are fairly common assignments in school, and the skill of recognizing similarities and differences often comes in handy in life, too. To help you get a sense of comparisons, you can ask an AI to compare two things for you. Most AI programs will then list what’s the same and what’s different between them, pointing out some areas that you may have initially overlooked.

9 “Tell me about . . .” or “Explain . . .”

Last but not least, with the entirety of the internet as their reference point, AI assistants can make great teachers. Simply ask one to tell you about or explain something, and it will usually respond with a clear and reasonable answer. Just be careful: There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet, so AI may cite incorrect sources and give you false information.

If you’re still having trouble understanding something, ask the AI assistant to explain it to you “like a child.” The AI will then use even simpler language and sometimes cute analogies.

3 tips on how to write effective prompts for ChatGPT and other AI

1 Give details about what you need

AI writing is only as good as your request. Don’t be scared to enter as many details as you need—AI assistants can handle a lot. In fact, the more details you enter, the more you can influence precisely what the AI creates.

Specifically, when asking AI to compose something for you, make sure you provide this information:

  • Length (e.g., a word count or the number of pages)
  • Tone or style
  • Exceptions or aspects you want to disregard

Remember, prompts can be as long as you need if it’s all in the same query. You can write multiple paragraphs of instructions if you want, and the results will be that much closer to what you envision.

2 Combine multiple prompts

The AI writing prompt examples we listed above aren’t necessarily meant to stand alone. You can mix and match them however you want to optimize the results. For example, you can say, “Acting as a historian, tell me about Malala Yousafzai.” This would elicit more historical insight into her life, such as her lasting impact and reception by society, than the less detailed prompt “Tell me about Malala Yousafzai.”

3 Rephrase and try again

Because each interaction is unique, you can simply reword your prompt and enter it again if the first attempt didn’t go well. This makes it easy to generate new responses until you find one you like. Try adding new information or using different keywords if a series of answers is too similar.

AI writing prompts FAQs

What is an AI prompt?

AI prompts are the text commands a user enters into an AI message box to get the AI to perform tasks. For example, one of the most common AI writing prompt examples is “Create a . . .” followed by the type of document you want, such as “Create an email.”

How do I get better AI writing?

You can improve the quality of AI writing by improving your prompt. Prompts can be as long as you need, so feel free to mention any necessary information like the length or style of writing you want. The more details you enter into the prompt, the closer the results will be to what you envision.

What are some tips for writing effective prompts for ChatGPT and AI?

Try to combine prompts at the same time for more specific results. For example, if you’re using the prompt “Create a Google ad,” you’ll get a better response if you also add the prompt “As an advertiser . . . .” Together, it might read, “As an advertiser, create a Google ad about . . . .”

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