Enjoying Open Source Software

Prose linting with Vale and Flycheck in Emacs on FreeBSD

Vale prose linting

Vale is a prose linting tool that runs on your local system. Because Vale is build in Go, it can run on most operating systems.

Vale works with so-called "style guides". Several style guides are available, for example, from Microsoft, Google, RedHat, and others.


Prose linting org mode files in Emacs on FreeBSD

Emacs can be set up for prose linting of org-mode files with Flycheck.

Below follows a description of how to set this up on FreeBSD.

Installation of Vale on FreeBSD

Install Vale on FreeBSD with pkg install vale.

Create a directory ~/.vale/styles and populate it with one or more style guides.

Clone the style guides from

The cloned repository has a sub-directory with the style guide.

An example how to install the write-good package:

cd /tmp
git clone /tmp/write-good
mv /tmp/write-good/write-good ~/.vale/styles/
rm -rf /tmp/write-good

Repeat this for other packages you want to use.

Create the file ~/.vale.ini with the following contents:

StylesPath = ~/.vale/styles

MinAlertLevel = suggestion

BasedOnStyles = Vale, proselint, write-good, Readability

The line with "BasedOnStyles" should contain "Vale", and the packages you have installed, separated with commas.

Test that Vale works

Now test that Vale works. Take a text file, for example, "sample.txt" and call Vale with this file:

vale sample.txt


Clone the Emacs package "flycheck-org-vale" from

Add the configuration to your ~/.emacs file:

(use-package flycheck
  :ensure t
  :init (global-flycheck-mode))

(use-package flycheck-title
  :ensure t
  :after flycheck

(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/manualpackages/flycheck-org-vale")
(require 'flycheck-org-vale)

Evaluate the ~/.emacs buffer or restart Emacs to activate the added configuration.

Test the working

Open a org-mode file in Emacs. It should now show some words in yellow or red.

Open the Flycheck error buffer, with C-c ! l (lowercase L).

Editing org-mode files

Editing the org-mode file erases the Flycheck error buffer. Saving the org-mode file (C-x C-s) updates the Flycheck error buffer.

Use C-c ! n and C-c ! p to jump to the next or previous Flyspell error.

The Flycheck error buffer synchronises with the position of the point in the org-mode file.

Hit Enter on a line in the Flycheck error buffer to jump to the specific line in the org-mode buffer.

Disable Flycheck for the current buffer with C-c ! x.


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