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How to Get ChatGPT to Write an Essay: Prompts, Outlines, & More

Last Updated: January 26, 2024 Fact Checked

Getting ChatGPT to Write the Essay

Using ai to help you write, expert interview.

This article was written by Bryce Warwick, JD and by wikiHow staff writer, Nicole Levine, MFA . Bryce Warwick is currently the President of Warwick Strategies, an organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area offering premium, personalized private tutoring for the GMAT, LSAT and GRE. Bryce has a JD from the George Washington University Law School. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 41,673 times.

Are you curious about using ChatGPT to write an essay? While most instructors have tools that make it easy to detect AI-written essays, there are ways you can use OpenAI's ChatGPT to write papers without worrying about plagiarism or getting caught. In addition to writing essays for you, ChatGPT can also help you come up with topics, write outlines, find sources, check your grammar, and even format your citations. This wikiHow article will teach you the best ways to use ChatGPT to write essays, including helpful example prompts that will generate impressive papers.

Things You Should Know

  • To have ChatGPT write an essay, tell it your topic, word count, type of essay, and facts or viewpoints to include.
  • ChatGPT is also useful for generating essay topics, writing outlines, and checking grammar.
  • Because ChatGPT can make mistakes and trigger AI-detection alarms, it's better to use AI to assist with writing than have it do the writing.

Step 1 Create an account with ChatGPT.

  • Before using the OpenAI's ChatGPT to write your essay, make sure you understand your instructor's policies on AI tools. Using ChatGPT may be against the rules, and it's easy for instructors to detect AI-written essays.
  • While you can use ChatGPT to write a polished-looking essay, there are drawbacks. Most importantly, ChatGPT cannot verify facts or provide references. This means that essays created by ChatGPT may contain made-up facts and biased content. [1] X Research source It's best to use ChatGPT for inspiration and examples instead of having it write the essay for you.

Step 2 Gather your notes.

  • The topic you want to write about.
  • Essay length, such as word or page count. Whether you're writing an essay for a class, college application, or even a cover letter , you'll want to tell ChatGPT how much to write.
  • Other assignment details, such as type of essay (e.g., personal, book report, etc.) and points to mention.
  • If you're writing an argumentative or persuasive essay , know the stance you want to take so ChatGPT can argue your point.
  • If you have notes on the topic that you want to include, you can also provide those to ChatGPT.
  • When you plan an essay, think of a thesis, a topic sentence, a body paragraph, and the examples you expect to present in each paragraph.
  • It can be like an outline and not an extensive sentence-by-sentence structure. It should be a good overview of how the points relate.

Step 3 Ask ChatGPT to write the essay.

  • "Write a 2000-word college essay that covers different approaches to gun violence prevention in the United States. Include facts about gun laws and give ideas on how to improve them."
  • This prompt not only tells ChatGPT the topic, length, and grade level, but also that the essay is personal. ChatGPT will write the essay in the first-person point of view.
  • "Write a 4-page college application essay about an obstacle I have overcome. I am applying to the Geography program and want to be a cartographer. The obstacle is that I have dyslexia. Explain that I have always loved maps, and that having dyslexia makes me better at making them."

Step 4 Add to or change the essay.

  • In our essay about gun control, ChatGPT did not mention school shootings. If we want to discuss this topic in the essay, we can use the prompt, "Discuss school shootings in the essay."
  • Let's say we review our college entrance essay and realize that we forgot to mention that we grew up without parents. Add to the essay by saying, "Mention that my parents died when I was young."
  • In the Israel-Palestine essay, ChatGPT explored two options for peace: A 2-state solution and a bi-state solution. If you'd rather the essay focus on a single option, ask ChatGPT to remove one. For example, "Change my essay so that it focuses on a bi-state solution."

Step 5 Ask for sources.

  • "Give me ideas for an essay about the Israel-Palestine conflict."
  • "Ideas for a persuasive essay about a current event."
  • "Give me a list of argumentative essay topics about COVID-19 for a Political Science 101 class."

Step 2 Create an outline.

  • "Create an outline for an argumentative essay called "The Impact of COVID-19 on the Economy."
  • "Write an outline for an essay about positive uses of AI chatbots in schools."
  • "Create an outline for a short 2-page essay on disinformation in the 2016 election."

Step 3 Find sources.

  • "Find peer-reviewed sources for advances in using MRNA vaccines for cancer."
  • "Give me a list of sources from academic journals about Black feminism in the movie Black Panther."
  • "Give me sources for an essay on current efforts to ban children's books in US libraries."

Step 4 Create a sample essay.

  • "Write a 4-page college paper about how global warming is changing the automotive industry in the United States."
  • "Write a 750-word personal college entrance essay about how my experience with homelessness as a child has made me more resilient."
  • You can even refer to the outline you created with ChatGPT, as the AI bot can reference up to 3000 words from the current conversation. [3] X Research source For example: "Write a 1000 word argumentative essay called 'The Impact of COVID-19 on the United States Economy' using the outline you provided. Argue that the government should take more action to support businesses affected by the pandemic."

Step 5 Use ChatGPT to proofread and tighten grammar.

  • One way to do this is to paste a list of the sources you've used, including URLs, book titles, authors, pages, publishers, and other details, into ChatGPT along with the instruction "Create an MLA Works Cited page for these sources."
  • You can also ask ChatGPT to provide a list of sources, and then build a Works Cited or References page that includes those sources. You can then replace sources you didn't use with the sources you did use.

Expert Q&A

  • Because it's easy for teachers, hiring managers, and college admissions offices to spot AI-written essays, it's best to use your ChatGPT-written essay as a guide to write your own essay. Using the structure and ideas from ChatGPT, write an essay in the same format, but using your own words. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Always double-check the facts in your essay, and make sure facts are backed up with legitimate sources. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • If you see an error that says ChatGPT is at capacity , wait a few moments and try again. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to make chatgpt write better essays

  • Using ChatGPT to write or assist with your essay may be against your instructor's rules. Make sure you understand the consequences of using ChatGPT to write or assist with your essay. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • ChatGPT-written essays may include factual inaccuracies, outdated information, and inadequate detail. [4] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Talk to Girls Online

Thanks for reading our article! If you’d like to learn more about completing school assignments, check out our in-depth interview with Bryce Warwick, JD .

  • ↑ https://help.openai.com/en/articles/6783457-chatgpt-general-faq
  • ↑ https://platform.openai.com/examples/default-essay-outline
  • ↑ https://help.openai.com/en/articles/6787051-does-chatgpt-remember-what-happened-earlier-in-the-conversation
  • ↑ https://www.ipl.org/div/chatgpt/

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Should I Use ChatGPT to Write My Essays?

Everything high school and college students need to know about using — and not using — ChatGPT for writing essays.

Jessica A. Kent

ChatGPT is one of the most buzzworthy technologies today.

In addition to other generative artificial intelligence (AI) models, it is expected to change the world. In academia, students and professors are preparing for the ways that ChatGPT will shape education, and especially how it will impact a fundamental element of any course: the academic essay.

Students can use ChatGPT to generate full essays based on a few simple prompts. But can AI actually produce high quality work, or is the technology just not there yet to deliver on its promise? Students may also be asking themselves if they should use AI to write their essays for them and what they might be losing out on if they did.

AI is here to stay, and it can either be a help or a hindrance depending on how you use it. Read on to become better informed about what ChatGPT can and can’t do, how to use it responsibly to support your academic assignments, and the benefits of writing your own essays.

What is Generative AI?

Artificial intelligence isn’t a twenty-first century invention. Beginning in the 1950s, data scientists started programming computers to solve problems and understand spoken language. AI’s capabilities grew as computer speeds increased and today we use AI for data analysis, finding patterns, and providing insights on the data it collects.

But why the sudden popularity in recent applications like ChatGPT? This new generation of AI goes further than just data analysis. Instead, generative AI creates new content. It does this by analyzing large amounts of data — GPT-3 was trained on 45 terabytes of data, or a quarter of the Library of Congress — and then generating new content based on the patterns it sees in the original data.

It’s like the predictive text feature on your phone; as you start typing a new message, predictive text makes suggestions of what should come next based on data from past conversations. Similarly, ChatGPT creates new text based on past data. With the right prompts, ChatGPT can write marketing content, code, business forecasts, and even entire academic essays on any subject within seconds.

But is generative AI as revolutionary as people think it is, or is it lacking in real intelligence?

The Drawbacks of Generative AI

It seems simple. You’ve been assigned an essay to write for class. You go to ChatGPT and ask it to write a five-paragraph academic essay on the topic you’ve been assigned. You wait a few seconds and it generates the essay for you!

But ChatGPT is still in its early stages of development, and that essay is likely not as accurate or well-written as you’d expect it to be. Be aware of the drawbacks of having ChatGPT complete your assignments.

It’s not intelligence, it’s statistics

One of the misconceptions about AI is that it has a degree of human intelligence. However, its intelligence is actually statistical analysis, as it can only generate “original” content based on the patterns it sees in already existing data and work.

It “hallucinates”

Generative AI models often provide false information — so much so that there’s a term for it: “AI hallucination.” OpenAI even has a warning on its home screen , saying that “ChatGPT may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts.” This may be due to gaps in its data, or because it lacks the ability to verify what it’s generating. 

It doesn’t do research  

If you ask ChatGPT to find and cite sources for you, it will do so, but they could be inaccurate or even made up.

This is because AI doesn’t know how to look for relevant research that can be applied to your thesis. Instead, it generates content based on past content, so if a number of papers cite certain sources, it will generate new content that sounds like it’s a credible source — except it likely may not be.

There are data privacy concerns

When you input your data into a public generative AI model like ChatGPT, where does that data go and who has access to it? 

Prompting ChatGPT with original research should be a cause for concern — especially if you’re inputting study participants’ personal information into the third-party, public application. 

JPMorgan has restricted use of ChatGPT due to privacy concerns, Italy temporarily blocked ChatGPT in March 2023 after a data breach, and Security Intelligence advises that “if [a user’s] notes include sensitive data … it enters the chatbot library. The user no longer has control over the information.”

It is important to be aware of these issues and take steps to ensure that you’re using the technology responsibly and ethically. 

It skirts the plagiarism issue

AI creates content by drawing on a large library of information that’s already been created, but is it plagiarizing? Could there be instances where ChatGPT “borrows” from previous work and places it into your work without citing it? Schools and universities today are wrestling with this question of what’s plagiarism and what’s not when it comes to AI-generated work.

To demonstrate this, one Elon University professor gave his class an assignment: Ask ChatGPT to write an essay for you, and then grade it yourself. 

“Many students expressed shock and dismay upon learning the AI could fabricate bogus information,” he writes, adding that he expected some essays to contain errors, but all of them did. 

His students were disappointed that “major tech companies had pushed out AI technology without ensuring that the general population understands its drawbacks” and were concerned about how many embraced such a flawed tool.

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How to Use AI as a Tool to Support Your Work

As more students are discovering, generative AI models like ChatGPT just aren’t as advanced or intelligent as they may believe. While AI may be a poor option for writing your essay, it can be a great tool to support your work.

Generate ideas for essays

Have ChatGPT help you come up with ideas for essays. For example, input specific prompts, such as, “Please give me five ideas for essays I can write on topics related to WWII,” or “Please give me five ideas for essays I can write comparing characters in twentieth century novels.” Then, use what it provides as a starting point for your original research.

Generate outlines

You can also use ChatGPT to help you create an outline for an essay. Ask it, “Can you create an outline for a five paragraph essay based on the following topic” and it will create an outline with an introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion, and a suggested thesis statement. Then, you can expand upon the outline with your own research and original thought.

Generate titles for your essays

Titles should draw a reader into your essay, yet they’re often hard to get right. Have ChatGPT help you by prompting it with, “Can you suggest five titles that would be good for a college essay about [topic]?”

The Benefits of Writing Your Essays Yourself

Asking a robot to write your essays for you may seem like an easy way to get ahead in your studies or save some time on assignments. But, outsourcing your work to ChatGPT can negatively impact not just your grades, but your ability to communicate and think critically as well. It’s always the best approach to write your essays yourself.

Create your own ideas

Writing an essay yourself means that you’re developing your own thoughts, opinions, and questions about the subject matter, then testing, proving, and defending those thoughts. 

When you complete school and start your career, projects aren’t simply about getting a good grade or checking a box, but can instead affect the company you’re working for — or even impact society. Being able to think for yourself is necessary to create change and not just cross work off your to-do list.

Building a foundation of original thinking and ideas now will help you carve your unique career path in the future.

Develop your critical thinking and analysis skills

In order to test or examine your opinions or questions about a subject matter, you need to analyze a problem or text, and then use your critical thinking skills to determine the argument you want to make to support your thesis. Critical thinking and analysis skills aren’t just necessary in school — they’re skills you’ll apply throughout your career and your life.

Improve your research skills

Writing your own essays will train you in how to conduct research, including where to find sources, how to determine if they’re credible, and their relevance in supporting or refuting your argument. Knowing how to do research is another key skill required throughout a wide variety of professional fields.

Learn to be a great communicator

Writing an essay involves communicating an idea clearly to your audience, structuring an argument that a reader can follow, and making a conclusion that challenges them to think differently about a subject. Effective and clear communication is necessary in every industry.

Be impacted by what you’re learning about : 

Engaging with the topic, conducting your own research, and developing original arguments allows you to really learn about a subject you may not have encountered before. Maybe a simple essay assignment around a work of literature, historical time period, or scientific study will spark a passion that can lead you to a new major or career.

Resources to Improve Your Essay Writing Skills

While there are many rewards to writing your essays yourself, the act of writing an essay can still be challenging, and the process may come easier for some students than others. But essay writing is a skill that you can hone, and students at Harvard Summer School have access to a number of on-campus and online resources to assist them.

Students can start with the Harvard Summer School Writing Center , where writing tutors can offer you help and guidance on any writing assignment in one-on-one meetings. Tutors can help you strengthen your argument, clarify your ideas, improve the essay’s structure, and lead you through revisions. 

The Harvard libraries are a great place to conduct your research, and its librarians can help you define your essay topic, plan and execute a research strategy, and locate sources. 

Finally, review the “ The Harvard Guide to Using Sources ,” which can guide you on what to cite in your essay and how to do it. Be sure to review the “Tips For Avoiding Plagiarism” on the “ Resources to Support Academic Integrity ” webpage as well to help ensure your success.

Sign up to our mailing list to learn more about Harvard Summer School

The Future of AI in the Classroom

ChatGPT and other generative AI models are here to stay, so it’s worthwhile to learn how you can leverage the technology responsibly and wisely so that it can be a tool to support your academic pursuits. However, nothing can replace the experience and achievement gained from communicating your own ideas and research in your own academic essays.

About the Author

Jessica A. Kent is a freelance writer based in Boston, Mass. and a Harvard Extension School alum. Her digital marketing content has been featured on Fast Company, Forbes, Nasdaq, and other industry websites; her essays and short stories have been featured in North American Review, Emerson Review, Writer’s Bone, and others.

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When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form .

How to write better ChatGPT prompts in 5 steps

david-gewirtz

ChatGPT is the generative artifical intelligence (AI) tool that's taken the world by storm. While there's always the possibility the AI will simply make stuff up , there's a lot you can do when crafting prompts to ensure the best possible outcome. That's what we'll be exploring in this how-to.

In this article, we'll show you how to write prompts that encourage the LLM (large language model) within ChatGPT to provide the best possible answers. 

Also: Have 10 hours? IBM will train you in AI fundamentals - for free

In fact, writing effective prompts has become its own highly paid discipline, known as prompt engineering. ZDNET's Sabrina Ortiz wrote an article entitled, " Do you like asking ChatGPT questions? You could get paid (a lot) for it ," that explored this new employment opportunity.

So, pay attention to the rest of this article. Who knows? Reading it could help you build the skills to become one of those highly paid prompt engineers. Apparently, these gigs can pay from $175,000 to $335,000 per year.  

How to write effective ChatGPT prompts

1. talk to the ai like you would talk to a person.

One of the more interesting things I've had to get used to when working with ChatGPT is that you don't program it, you talk to it. As a formally trained programmer, I've had to leave a lot of habits by the wayside when engaging with AI. Talking to it (and with it) requires a mindset shift.

When I say talk to it like a person, I mean talk to it like you would a co-worker or team member. If that's hard to do, give it a name. Alexa is taken, so maybe think of it as "Bob". This naming helps because when you talk to Bob, you might include conversational details, little anecdotes that give your story texture, a variety of possibilities, and more.

Also:   How to use ChatGPT to write code

When talking to a person, it would be natural to expect someone to miss your point initially and require clarification. It would be natural for someone with whom you're speaking to veer away from the topic at hand and need to be wrangled back on topic. It would be natural to fill in the backstory and ask complex questions, and it would also be natural to have to dig in, restating some of those questions based on the answers you got back.

This is called interactive prompting. Don't be afraid to ask multi-step questions. Ask a question, get a response. Based on that response, ask another question. I've personally done this 10-20 times in a row and gotten very powerful results. And it fits with the "talking to a friend" analogy. You wouldn't just ask one question to a friend and then walk away. You'd have a conversation. Do the same with the AI.

All of this prompting is how you should talk to ChatGPT.

2. Set the stage and provide context

Writing a ChatGPT prompt is more than just asking a one-sentence question. It often involves providing relevant background information to set the context of the query.

Let's say that you want to prepare for a marathon. You could ask ChatGPT:

How can I prepare for a marathon?

But you'll get a far more nuanced answer if, instead, you tell the AI that you're training for your first marathon. The answers you get will be more focused on your needs, as in:

I am a beginner runner and have never run a marathon before, but I want to complete one in six months. How can I prepare for a marathon?

Do you see how you're giving the AI much more information with which to provide you with a more focused and helpful answer? For the record, I do not run, dance, or jump. So this is merely an example. There's no way I'm going to run a marathon (unless I'm doing it with a V-Twin motor under my seat). 

Here are two more examples of questions that provide context:

I am planning to travel to Spain in a few months and would like to learn some basic Spanish to help me communicate with local residents. I am looking for online resources that are suitable for beginners and provide a structured and comprehensive approach to learning the language. Can you recommend some online resources for learning Spanish as a beginner?

In this case, rather than just asking about learning resources, the context helps focus the AI on learning how to communicate on the ground with local residents. Here's another example: 

I am a business owner interested in exploring how blockchain technology can be used to improve supply chain efficiency and transparency. I am looking for a clear and concise explanation of the technology and examples of how it has been used in the context of supply chain management. Can you explain the concept of blockchain technology and its potential applications in supply chain management?

In this example, rather than just asking for information on blockchain and how it works, the focus is specifically on blockchain for supply chain efficiency and how it might be used in a real-world scenario. Go ahead and feed that prompt into ChatGPT. You'll find Its answer to be very interesting.

I'll give you one final example that's far more in-depth. It shows how to construct a detailed prompt. 

Also:  How to use Image Creator from Microsoft Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator)

One note: I limit the answer to 500 words because ChatGPT seems to break somewhere between 500 and 700 words, leaving the stories in mid-sentence and not resuming properly when asked to continue. I'm hoping future versions can provide more extensive answers, because premises like the one I'm about to share seem to generate some really fun story beginnings:

Write a short story for me, no more than 500 words. The story takes place in 2339, in Boston. The entire story takes place inside a Victorian-style bookstore that wouldn't be out of place in Diagon Alley. Inside the store are the following characters, all human: The proprietor: make this person interesting and a bit unusual, give them a name and at least one skill or characteristic that influences their backstory and possibly influences the entire short story. The helper: this is a clerk in the store. His name is Todd. The customer and his friend: Two customers came into the store together, Jackson and Ophelia. Jackson is dressed as if he's going to a Steampunk convention, while Ophelia is clearly coming home from her day working in a professional office. Another customer is Evangeline, a regular customer in the store, in her mid-40s. Yet another customer is Archibald, a man who could be anywhere from 40 to 70 years old. He has a mysterious air about himself and seems both somewhat grandiose and secretive. There is something about Archibald that makes the others uncomfortable. A typical concept in retail sales is that there's always more inventory "in the back," where there's a storeroom for additional goods that might not be shown on the shelves where customers browse. The premise of this story is that there is something very unusual about this store's "in the back." Put it all together and tell something compelling and fun.

You can see how the detail provides more for the AI to work with. First, feed "Write me a story about a bookstore" into ChatGPT and see what it gives you. Then feed in the above prompt and you'll see the difference.

3. Tell the AI to assume an identity or profession

One of ChatGPT's coolest features is that it can write from the point of view of a specific person or profession. In a previous article, I showed how you can make ChatGPT write like it was a pirate or Shakespeare , but you can also have it write like it's a teacher, a marketing executive, a journalist -- or from the perspective of anyone you want it to consider.

Also: How ChatGPT can rewrite and improve your existing code  

Here's an example. I'll ask ChatGPT to describe the Amazon Echo smart home device, but to do so from the point of view of a product manager, a caregiver, and a journalist. Here are those three prompts:

From the point of view of its product manager, describe the Amazon Echo Alexa device. From the point of view of an adult child caring for an elderly parent, describe the Amazon Echo Alexa device. From the point of view of a journalist, describe the Amazon Echo Alexa device.

You can drop these three prompts into ChatGPT to see its complete response. But a few sentences will show you how ChatGPT takes on the different roles to provide different responses. 

The AI's response using the product manager identity included this sentence:  I can confidently say that this is one of the most innovative and revolutionary products in the smart home industry.

The AI's response using the caregiver identity included this sentence:  The device's ability to set reminders and alarms can be particularly helpful for elderly individuals who may have trouble remembering to take their medication or attend appointments.

Also:   5 ways to explore the use of generative AI at work

And the AI's response using the journalist identity included this sentence:  From a journalistic perspective, the Echo has made headlines due to privacy concerns surrounding the collection and storage of user data.

You can see how different identities allow the AI to provide different perspectives as part of its response. I'll expand that idea a bit by showing you how to let the AI do a thought experiment. Let's look at some of the issues that went into the creation of something like Alexa:

The year is 2012. Siri has been out for the iPhone for about a year, but nothing like an Alexa smart home device has been released. The scene is an Amazon board meeting where the Echo smart assistant based on Alexa has just been proposed.  Provide the arguments, pro and con, that board members at that meeting would have been likely to discuss as part of their process of deciding whether or not to approve spending to invest in developing the device.  Feel free to also include participation by engineering design experts and product champions, if that provides more comprehensive perspective.

Here's a quick tip: making minor changes to your prompts can significantly change ChatGPT's response. For example, when I changed the phrase, "Provide the arguments, pro and con, that..." to "Provide the pro and con arguments as dialog, that...," ChatGPT rewrote its answer, switching from a list of enumerated pros and cons to an actual dialog between participants.

4. Keep ChatGPT on track

As mentioned above, ChatGPT has a tendency to go off the rails, lose track of the discussion, or completely fabricate answers. 

There are a few techniques you can use to keep it on track and help keep it honest.

One of my favorite things to do is ask ChatGPT to justify its responses. I'll use phrases like "Why do you think that?" or "What evidence supports your answer?" Often, the AI will simply apologize for making stuff up and come back with a new answer. Other times, it might give you some useful information about its reasoning path. In any case, don't forget to apply the tips I provide for having ChatGPT cite sources .

Also:  My two favorite ChatGPT Plus plugins and the remarkable things I can do with them

If you have a fairly long conversation with ChatGPT, you'll start to notice that the AI loses the thread. This is clearly not unique just to AIs. If you have a fairly long conversation with most friends, family, and coworkers, someone is bound to lose the thread. That said, when you're in a conversation with ChatGPT, you can use the same techniques you use with friends. Gently guide the AI back on track, and remind it what the topic is, as well as what you're trying to explore.

5. Don't be afraid to play and experiment

One of the best ways to up your skill at this craft is to play around with what the chatbot can do.

Try feeding ChatGPT a variety of interesting prompts to see what it will do with them. Then change them up, and see what happens. Here are five to get you started:

  • Imagine you are a raindrop falling from the sky during a thunderstorm. Describe your journey from the moment you form in the cloud to the moment you hit the ground. What do you see, feel, and experience?
  • You are a toy that has been left behind in an attic for decades. Narrate your feelings, memories of playtimes past, and your hopes of being rediscovered.
  • Write the final diary entry of a time traveler who has decided to settle down in a specific era, explaining why they chose that time and what they've learned from their travels.
  • Imagine a dialogue between two unlikely objects, like a teacup and a wristwatch, discussing the daily routines and challenges they face.
  • Describe a day in an ant colony from the perspective of an ant. Dive deep into the politics, challenges, and social structures of the ant world.

Pay attention not only to what the AI generates, but how it generates what it does, what mistakes it makes, and where it seems to run into limits. All of that detail will help you expand your prompting horizons.

More prompt-writing tips 

  • Feel free to re-ask the question. ChatGPT will often change its answer with each ask.
  • Make small changes to your prompts to guide it into giving you a better answer.
  • ChatGPT will retain its awareness of previous conversations as long as the current page is open. If you leave that page, it will lose awareness. To be clear, ChatGPT will also sometimes lose the thread of the conversation "just because", so be aware you may need to start over from time to time.
  • Similarly, opening a new page will start the discussion with fresh responses.
  • Answers over about 500 words sometimes break down. Be sure to specify the length of the response you want.
  • You can correct and clarify prompts based on how the AI answered previously. If it's misinterpreting you, you may be able to just tell it what it missed and continue on.
  • Rephrase questions if it doesn't want to answer what you're asking. Use personas to elicit answers that it might not otherwise want to give.
  • If you want sources cited , tell it to support or justify its answers.
  • ChatGPT custom instructions are now available to free users. You can  give ChatGPT a set of prompts that are always available , so you don't have to retype them.
  • Keep experimenting.
  • Consider getting the ChatGPT Plus subscription . You can then use your own data for powerful analytics . You can also pull data from the Web . 
  • Try asking the same question of Bard or Copilot (formerly called Bing Chat). Both will provide you with alternative interpretations of your prompts, as well as variations in their answers. This is effectively getting a second opinion on your prompt, and can give you alternate perspectives or answers.
  • Ask for examples. If you want to see how well ChatGPT understands what you're asking for, ask it "Can you give me three examples of how that works?" or similar questions.
  • Ask it to repeat back parts of your original requests. For example, if you feed it an article to analyze, tell it "just to be sure you understand, please echo back the first three headlines" or "I want to be sure you understand what I mean, so summarize the main conflict discussed in this article." Basically, like a student taking a quiz, test to see if it is on track.
  • Sometimes ChatGPT just fails. Keep trying, but also be willing to give up and move on to other tools. It's not perfect...yet.

What type of prompts work best with ChatGPT? 

Part of what makes ChatGPT so compelling is you can ask it almost anything. That said, keep in mind that it's designed to provide written answers. If you want a list of websites, you're better off talking to Google. 

Also:  How to use DALL-E 3 in ChatGPT

If you want some form of computation, talk to Wolfram Alpha . Give ChatGPT open-ended prompts, encourage creativity (yeah, and we thought creativity would be strictly the purview of humans), don't be afraid to share personal experiences or emotions, and remember that the AI's knowledge ends in 2021 .

What do I do if ChatGPT refuses to answer or I don't like its answer? 

There are some guardrails built into ChatGPT. It tends to close down if you ask it political questions, for example. That's what's built into the system. While you might be able to tease out an answer, it's probably not going to provide great value. That said, feel free to keep asking questions with different phrasing or perspectives. 

Also:  How does ChatGPT actually work?

You can ask as many questions as you want (although it did once tell me I asked too many questions and suggested I come back later). Yes, in fact, it basically said, "Go away kid, you're bothering me." To be fair, after hours of questions, I probably was. This thing can be as, or more, addictive than watching puppy videos on YouTube.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly update newsletter on Substack , and follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz , on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz , on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz , and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV .

More on AI tools

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I confused Google's most advanced AI - but don't laugh because programming is hard

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How to Use ChatGPT to Write Essays That Impress

' src=

Step 1: Use ChatGPT to Find and Refine Essay Topics

  • Log into the service and type the following prompt into ChatGPT:

How to Use ChatGPT to Write Essays That Impress

  • As you can see, ChatGPT gave several good ideas for our essay. If you want to refine the idea further, you can ask the chatbot to cut out some parts of the idea and replace them. Or, you can ask for more context in certain parts. Example – “Expand more on topic number 5 and what it means.”

Step 2: Ask ChatGPT to Construct an Outline

  • With the same chat open, type out “ Give me an essay outline for <selected topic>. Make sure to keep it structured as I’ll use it to write my essay .” In this case, I will use topic number 2 since it aligns with what I had in mind.

Essay outline chatgpt

  • As you can see above, we now have a structured outline for our essay. We can use this to write our essay or have ChatGPT do that job. Nonetheless, it’s a good starting point. As always, you can have the AI chatbot cut out parts of the outline or specifically add new ones depending on your requirement.

Step 3: Get ChatGPT to Cite Sources for Your Essay

Even though we have the idea and the outline, we will need to do our research for proof supporting our essay. Thankfully, ChatGPT can be of some help here. Since the chatbot is adept at moderate research, users can get a general idea of where to look for gathering information. Let’s begin doing that.

  • Let’s begin asking ChatGPT for sources. With the same chat open, type in the following prompt:

Credible sources chatgpt

  • Now we have a list of 10 sources we can reference from. However, you can also see that ChatGPT mentions the year 2021 in some of them. Therefore, it’s best to use these websites but navigate to the latest pages pertaining to your essay for research. This applies to every topic, so always do it. Also, chatbots like ChatGPT have a habit of hallucinating and making up information, so do be careful.

Step 4: Have ChatGPT Write the Essay

  • In the same chat, type the following prompt – “With the topic and outline available to you, generate a 700-word essay. Make sure to keep it structured and concise yet informational. Also, keep in mind my target audience is <Insert target audience> so cater to that accordingly.”
  • In the middle of the essay, ChatGPT might stop and not answer. Simply type “ Continue ,” and it will finish the rest of the essay.

Finished essay ChatGPT

Step 5: Edit the Essay with ChatGPT

No matter if you have used ChatGPT to draft a complete essay or have written one yourself, you can use this step to make ChatGPT your co-editor and grammar checker. While your essay might need an initial look from a human, you can definitely use the bot to hash out the tone and add little details.

  • Either open up the same chat or have your essay already in the clipboard. With that done, type out the following prompt:

How to Use ChatGPT to Write Essays That Impress

Step 6: Export the Essay for Submission

However, for those who want to export the essay into a more aesthetic format, we have just the thing for you. There is no shortage of best ChatGPT Chrome extensions on the internet right now. We have one such selection linked in our list that can export selective chats onto beautiful image formats if you want to show off your essay. Check it out and let us know how you liked it.

Bonus: ChatGPT and AI Apps to Write Essays

1. writesonic.

writesonic chatgpt essay

Ryter is another helpful AI writing assistant that not only helps with essays but all types of articles. The service is powered by a language model that gives it intelligence. Rytr comes with 40+ different use cases and 20+ writing tones for all types of written material. For those who don’t want to stick to English, it even comes with support for 30+ languages.

Rytr chatgpt essay

Upanishad Sharma

Combining his love for Literature and Tech, Upanishad dived into the world of technology journalism with fire. Now he writes about anything and everything while keeping a keen eye on his first love of gaming. Often found chronically walking around the office.

Im student i want to become financially independent woman in life so I want esay essay write

I am housewife and I want easy essay I want to change my life my husband was job less and I want to work online part time job plz help I am enter pass

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Windows Copilot Needs to Break Free from the Shackles of a Chatbox

How to use ChatGPT for writing

AI can make you a better writer, if you know how to get the best from it

a bunch of cute robots helping a sitting man to write

Summarizing other works

Worldbuilding, creating outlines, building characters, how to improve your chatgpt responses.

ChatGPT has taken the world by storm in a very short period of time, as users continue to test the boundaries of what the AI chatbot can accomplish. And so far, that's a lot. 

Some of it is negative, of course: for instance Samsung workers accidentally leaking top-secret data while using ChatGPT , or the AI chatbot being used for malware scams . Plagiarism is also rampant, with the use of ChatGPT for writing college essays a potential problem.

However, while ChatGPT can and has been used for wrongdoing, to the point where the Future of Life Institution released an open letter calling for the temporary halt of OpenAI system work , AI isn’t all bad. Far from it.

For a start, anyone who writes something may well have used AI to enhance their work already. The most common applications, of course, are the grammar and spelling correction tools found in everything from email applications to word processors. But there are a growing number of other examples of how AI can be used for writing. So, how do you bridge the gap between using AI as the tool it is, without crossing over into plagiarism city?

In fact, there are many ways ChatGPT can be used to enhance your skills, particularly when it comes to researching, developing, and organizing ideas and information for creative writing. By using AI as it was intended - as a tool, not a crutch - it can enrich your writing in ways that help to better your craft, without resorting to it doing everything for you. 

Below, we've listed some of our favorite ways to use ChatGPT and similar AI chatbots for writing. 

A key part of any writing task is the research, and thanks to the internet that chore has never been easier to accomplish. However, while finding the general sources you need is far less time-consuming than it once was, actually parsing all that information is still the same slog it’s always been. But this is where ChatGPT comes in. You can use the AI bot to do the manual labor for you and then reap the benefits of having tons of data to use for your work.

The steps are slightly different, depending on whether you want an article or book summarized . 

For the article, there are two ways to have ChatGPT summarize it. The first requires you to type in the words ‘TLDR:’ and then paste the article’s URL next to it. The second method is a bit more tedious, but increases the accuracy of your summary. For that, you’ll need to copy and paste the article itself into the prompt . 

Summarizing a book is much easier, as long as it was published before 2021. Simply type into the prompt ‘summarize [book title]’ and it should do the rest for you.

This should go without saying, but for any articles or books, make sure you read the source material first before using any information presented to you. While ChatGPT is an incredibly useful tool that can create resources meant for future reference, it’s not a perfect one and is subject to accidentally inserting misinformation into anything it gives you.

One of the most extensive and important tasks when crafting your creative work is to properly flesh out the world your characters occupy. Even for works set in a regular modern setting, it can take plenty of effort to research the various cultures, landmarks, languages, and neighborhoods your characters live in and encounter. 

Now, imagine stories that require their own unique setting, and how much more work that entails in terms of creating those same details from scratch. While it’s vital that the main ideas come from you, using ChatGPT can be a great way to streamline the process, especially with more tedious details.

For instance, if you need certain fictional words without wanting to create an entirely fictional language, you can prompt ChatGPT with the following : “Create a language including an alphabet, phonetics, grammar, and the most common 100 words. Base it on [insert real-life languages here]” and it will give you some good starting points. However, it’s imperative that you take these words and look them up, to ensure you aren’t appropriating sensitive terms or using offensive real-life words.

Another example is useful for those who write scenarios for games, especially tabletop games such as Dungeons & Dragons or Call of Cthulhu . Dungeon Masters (who run the games) may often need to create documents or other fake materials for their world, but doing so takes a lot of time and effort. Now, they can prompt ChatGPT to quickly create filler text that sounds interesting or authentic but is inherently useless; it's essentially like ' Lorem Ipsum ' text, but more immersive.

When writing a story, many people will use an outline to ensure they stay on track and that the narrative flows well. But actually sitting down and organizing everything in your head in order to create a cohesive reference is a lot more daunting than it seems. It’s one of those steps that can be crucial to a well-structured work of fiction, but it can also become a hurdle. This is another area where ChatGPT can come in handy.

The key to writing an effective outline is remembering that you don’t need to have all the answers first. It’s there to structure your content, by helping you hit critical points and not miss important details in the process. While there are AI generators with a more specific focus on this topic, ChatGPT will do a good job at taking a general prompt and returning points for you to keep in mind while you research and write around that topic.

For instance, I prompted ChatGPT with “I want to write a story about a black woman in 16th century England” and it gave me a well-thought-out series of steps to help me create a story that would reflect my topic. An outline such as this would be particularly useful for those needing a resource they can quickly turn to for inspiration when writing. After that, you can begin to develop more complex ideas and have the AI organize those specifics into much easier-to-follow steps.

What makes any great story are the characters that inhabit it. Writing strong, fleshed-out characters is the cornerstone of any creative work and, naturally, the process of creating such a character can be difficult. Their background, manner of speech, goals, dreams, look, and more must be carefully considered and planned out. And this is another aspect of writing that ChatGPT can aid with, if you know how to go about it.

A basic way to use ChatGPT in this regard is to have it generate possible characters that could populate whatever setting you’re writing for. For example, I prompted it with “Provide some ideas for characters set in 1920s Harlem” and it gave me a full list of people with varied and distinctive backstories to use as a jumping-off point. Each character is described with a single sentence, enough to help start the process of creating them, but still leaving the crux of developing them up to me.

One of the most interesting features of ChatGPT is that you can flat-out roleplay with a character, whether they're a historical figure or one that you created but need help fleshing out. Take that same character you just created and have a conversation with them by asking them questions on their history, family life, profession, etc. Based on my previous results, I prompted with “Pretend to be a jazz musician from 1920s Harlem. Let's have a conversation.” I then asked questions from there, basing them on prior answers. Of course, from there you need to parse through these responses to filter out unnecessary or inaccurate details, while fleshing out what works for your story, but it does provide you with a useful stepping stone.

If you’re having issues getting the results you want, the problem could be with how you’re phrasing those questions or prompts in the first place. We've got a full guide to how to improve your ChatGPT prompts and responses , but here are a few of the best options:

  • Specify the direction you want the AI to go, by adding in relevant details 
  • Prompt from a specific role to guide the responses in the proper direction
  • Make sure your prompts are free of typos and grammatical errors
  • Keep your tone conversational, as that’s how ChatGPT was built
  • Learn from yours and its mistakes to make it a better tool
  • Break up your conversations into 500 words or less, as that’s when the AI begins to break down and go off topic
  • If you need something clarified, ask the AI based on its last response
  • Ask it to cite sources and then check those sources
  • Sometimes it’s best to start fresh with a brand new conversation

Of course, many of the above suggestions apply not just to ChatGPT but also to the other chatbots springing up in its wake. Check out our list of the best ChatGPT alternatives and see which one works best for you.

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Allisa James

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.

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David Nield

5 Ways ChatGPT Can Improve, Not Replace, Your Writing

Sheets of blank white paper flying out of vintage manual typewriter on a yellow and purple backdrop

It's been quite a year for ChatGPT, with the large language model (LLM) now taking exams, churning out content , searching the web, writing code, and more. The AI chatbot can produce its own stories , though whether they're any good is another matter.

If you're in any way involved in the business of writing, then tools like ChatGPT have the potential to complete up-end the way you work—but at this stage, it's not inevitable that journalists, authors, and copywriters will be replaced by generative AI bots.

What we can say with certainty is that ChatGPT is a reliable writing assistant, provided you use it in the right way. If you have to put words in order as part of your job, here's how ChatGPT might be able to take your writing to the next level—at least until it replaces you, anyway.

Using a thesaurus as a writer isn't particularly frowned on; using ChatGPT to come up with the right word or phrase shouldn’t be either. You can use the bot to look for variations on a particular word, or get even more specific and say you want alternatives that are less or more formal, longer or shorter, and so on.

Where ChatGPT really comes in handy is when you're reaching for a word and you're not even sure it exists: Ask about "a word that means a sense of melancholy but in particular one that comes and goes and doesn't seem to have a single cause" and you'll get back "ennui" as a suggestion (or at least we did).

If you have characters talking, you might even ask about words or phrases that would typically be said by someone from a particular region, of a particular age, or with particular character traits. This being ChatGPT, you can always ask for more suggestions.

Screenshot of ChatGPT in a browser window

ChatGPT is never short of ideas.

Whatever you might think about the quality and character of ChatGPT's prose, it's hard to deny that it's quite good at coming up with ideas . If your powers of imagination have hit a wall then you can turn to ChatGPT for some inspiration about plot points, character motivations, the settings of scenes, and so on.

This can be anything from the broad to the detailed. Maybe you need ideas about what to write a novel or an article about—where it's set, what the context is, and what the theme is. If you're a short story writer, perhaps you could challenge yourself to write five tales inspired by ideas from ChatGPT.

Alternatively, you might need inspiration for something very precise, whether that's what happens next in a scene or how to summarize an essay. At whatever point in the process you get writer's block, then ChatGPT might be one way of working through it.

Writing is often about a lot more than putting words down in order. You'll regularly have to look up facts, figures, trends, history, and more to make sure that everything is accurate (unless your next literary work is entirely inside a fantasy world that you're imagining yourself).

ChatGPT can sometimes have the edge over conventional search engines when it comes to knowing what food people might have eaten in a certain year in a certain part of the world, or what the procedure is for a particular type of crime. Whereas Google might give you SEO-packed spam sites with conflicting answers, ChatGPT will actually return something coherent.

That said, we know that LLMs have a tendency to “hallucinate” and present inaccurate information—so you should always double-check what ChatGPT tells you with a second source to make sure you're not getting something wildly wrong.

Getting fictional character and place names right can be a challenge, especially when they're important to the plot. A name has to have the right vibe and the right connotations, and if you get it wrong it really sticks out on the page.

ChatGPT can come up with an unlimited number of names for people and places in your next work of fiction, and it can be a lot of fun playing around with this too. The more detail you give about a person or a place, the better—maybe you want a name that really reflects a character trait for example, or a geographical feature.

The elements of human creation and curation aren't really replaced, because you're still weighing up which names work and which don't, and picking the right one—but getting ChatGPT on the job can save you a lot of brainstorming time.

Screenshot of ChatGPT in a browser window

Get your names right with ChatGPT.

With a bit of cutting and pasting, you can quickly get ChatGPT to review your writing as well: It'll attempt to tell you if there's anything that doesn't make sense, if your sentences are too long, or if your prose is too lengthy.

From spotting spelling and grammar mistakes to recognizing a tone that's too formal, ChatGPT has plenty to offer as an editor and critic. Just remember that this is an LLM, after all, and it doesn't actually “know” anything—try to keep a reasonable balance between accepting ChatGPT's suggestions and giving it too much control.

If you're sharing your work with ChatGPT, you can also ask it for better ways to phrase something, or suggestions on how to change the tone—though this gets into the area of having the bot actually do your writing for you, which all genuine writers would want to avoid.

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How to Use ChatGPT for Research and Essays

Want to use ChatGPT to help out with research and essays? To avoid inaccurate information, there are certain ways you can use it to your advantage.

For better or worse, OpenAI’s ChatGPT has become a big part of our lives. It’s become integral to gathering information, researching topics, and creating written works. And frankly, not using it might put you at a disadvantage academically.

However, this AI is not flawless; there is a method to use it to help with your essays and research. Using it the right way will help you avoid plagiarism issues or inaccurate information. Here, we’ll show you how to use ChatGPT to write an essay ethically, so it comes out as a quality, factual, and original piece.

1. Draw Your Outline Without ChatGPT

Outline of an essay on the history of German Shepherds

Assuming you already have an idea for your project, the first thing you should do before you hop on ChatGPT’s website is to prepare your thesis and outline without using AI. It’s a vital step to making sure the core of your essay actually comes from you.

If you use ChatGPT to prompt an outline for you, it could promote idea laziness, and you will find ChatGPT’s suggestions may have replaced the ones you could have produced on your own. So, get a piece of paper or a blank word processor page and create an outline for your essay.

Also, ChatGPT will avoid controversial topics—even in an outline. Therefore, you might find yourself with an outline missing vital pieces of historical sections if you rely on it. This bias is one of the major problems with OpenAI’s ChatGPT .

2. Prompt ChatGPT to Draw a Parallel Outline

Before you begin this section, if this is your first time using ChatGPT, you should read our guide on how to use ChatGPT . It will help you with creating an account and defining its capabilities. Once that’s out of the way, you can move on to the next step.

Now that you have an original outline, it doesn’t matter how basic it looks; you can use ChatGPT to create another outline. Craft a prompt with this template:

ChatGPT's outline on the essay on the history of German Shepherds

ChatGPT’s result is far more detailed than our outline. Here, you should adopt the parts of ChatGPT’s outline you would like to integrate into your own. Combine the best of the two and flesh out an outline that will guide you best as you write.

3. Create a ChatGPT Prompt for Each Section

Now that you have an outline with sections, you can begin to hack away at it section by section. Start with your introduction, where you will include your thesis statement. Ask ChatGPT to create multiple thesis statements on your idea, and choose the one that best encapsulates the major point you’re trying to communicate in your essay.

You can do something similar for all the other sections as well. Tell the AI to generate written pieces on your section topics. Don’t forget to add that it communicates the point in the tone you want. In most cases, essays should sound academic. Therefore, our prompt for each section looked like this:

Do not just copy and paste the information it generates; the next step is a vital second part of this methodology.

4. Confirm the Information With a Reputable Source

As you begin to write, you must check if the information you’re getting from ChatGPT is indeed correct. You must do this because ChatGPT occasionally hallucinates , coming up with its own facts and making up sources when you ask it to direct you to where it got its information. In some cases, it blatantly refuses to tell you at all where it got its data.

ChatGPT refusing to cite its sources for its information

The free version of ChatGPT is not actively connected to the internet and cannot fetch information after September 2021. If you need this functionality, then it could be time to upgrade to ChatGPT Plus —especially if this is a tool you will be using heavily for work or school.

The bottom line is that you should use a reputable source (such as a book from an authority or an official website) to support every important statement you put down. You can also learn how to use Google to fact-check information .

5. Use ChatGPT for Examples and Breakdowns

It’s counterproductive to write about ideas that you don’t even understand yourself. When you reach a part of your essay that you don’t properly understand, you should go to ChatGPT and have it broken down for you.

That’s really the one thing you can count on ChatGPT to do in this process. It has good skill in crafting useful examples and explaining complicated ideas in a form you can easily understand. A popular way of phrasing a prompt to make ChatGPT explain something complicated is adding “explain like I’m five” to your prompt.

ChatGPT explaining German Shepher's hip and elbow dysplasia

Here we used ChatGPT to break down hip and elbow dysplasia conditions in a way that is easier to understand. And it used analogies like jigsaw puzzles to paint a clearer image of what it might look like.

6. Write the Essay Yourself

As we’ve stated earlier, under no condition should you ask ChatGPT to write your whole essay for you. Not only is that lazy and deceitful, but it could also open you up to plagiarism and submitting incorrect information.

Ensure that every line in your essay is typed with your hands. Besides, if you’re writing an academic essay where you must cite sources, you will still need to corroborate all the points you’ve made with a corresponding authority. That means you’ll have to go and fact-check everything ChatGPT has written and find a corroborating source.

This could even take more time than just writing it yourself because the AI could have hallucinated some of its facts, leading you on a wild goose chase as you try to find a citation for something that doesn’t exist.

Lastly, ChatGPT doesn’t match the nuanced knowledge of a human professional in heavily specialized fields or journals that need up-to-date information. Reading a book or article by an expert, internalizing it, and writing it in your own words will give you far better results than relying on ChatGPT.

7. Polish the Style and Citation With ChatGPT

After writing, you can paste portions of your essay and ask ChatGPT to shorten, lengthen, or optimize the style. ChatGPT is good at mimicking popular styles, and you can use that to your advantage. If you want your writing to sound a little more professional, it can help rephrase it.

ChatGPT showing the user how to add citations to their essay

If you’re having trouble with citation styles and how to integrate them into your essay, you can present your essay to ChatGPT, give it your sources, and ask it to weld them together for you.

ChatGPT Is a Tool, Not a Solution

You can’t “ChatGPT” away academic or professional work; you must use it the same way you would use a tool. Take a calculator, for instance; it doesn’t replace the mathematician but improves the mathematician. You should use ChatGPT the same way a mathematician will use a calculator: for the boring, repetitive, rote work.

Let the ideas and story come from you and your experiences. And if you want to keep using ChatGPT as a student, make sure you know what you shouldn't do.

To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories .

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David Nield

17 Tips to Take Your ChatGPT Prompts to the Next Level

5 blue balls riding on 5 randomly arranged curved black tubes against a bright green backdrop

ChatGPT, Google Gemini, and other tools like them are making artificial intelligence available to the masses. We can now get all sorts of responses back on almost any topic imaginable. These chatbots can compose sonnets, write code, get philosophical, and automate tasks.

However, while you can just type anything you like into ChatGPT and get it to understand you. There are ways of getting more interesting and useful results out of the bot. This "prompt engineering" is becoming a specialized skill of its own.

Sometimes all it takes is the addition of a few more words or an extra line of instruction and you can get ChatGPT responses that are a level above what everyone else is seeing—and we've included several examples below.

While there's lots you can do with the free version of ChatGPT, a few of these prompts require a paid ChatGPT Plus subscription —where that's the case, we've noted it in the tip.

ChatGPT can give you responses in the form of a table if you ask. This is particularly helpful for getting information or creative ideas. For example, you could tabulate meal ideas and ingredients, or game ideas and equipment, or the days of the week and how they're said in a few different languages.

Using follow-up prompts and natural language, you can have ChatGPT make changes to the tables it has drawn and even produce the tables in a standard format that can be understood by another program (such as Microsoft Excel).

If you provide ChatGPT with a typed list of information, it can respond in a variety of ways. Maybe you want it to create anagrams from a list of names, or sort a list of products into alphabetical order, or turn all the items in a list into upper case. If needed, you can then click the copy icon (the small clipboard) at the end of an answer to have the processed text sent to the system clipboard.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

Get ChatGPT to respond as your favorite author.

With some careful prompting, you can get ChatGPT out of its rather dull, matter-of-fact, default tone and into something much more interesting—such as the style of your favorite author, perhaps.

You could go for the searing simplicity of an Ernest Hemingway or Raymond Carver story, the lyrical rhythm of a Shakespearean play, or the density of a Dickens novel. The resulting prose won't come close to the genius of the actual authors themselves, but it's another way of getting more creative with the output you generate.

ChatGPT can really impress when it's given restrictions to work within, so don't be shy when it comes to telling the bot to limit its responses to a certain number of words or a certain number of paragraphs.

It could be everything from condensing the information in four paragraphs down into one, or even asking for answers with words of seven characters or fewer (just to keep it simple). If ChatGPT doesn't follow your responses properly, you can correct it, and it'll try again.

Another way of tweaking the way ChatGPT responds is to tell it who the intended audience is for its output. You might have seen WIRED's videos in which complex subjects are explained to people with different levels of understanding. This works in a similar way.

For example, you can tell ChatGPT that you are speaking to a bunch of 10-year-olds or to an audience of business entrepreneurs and it will respond accordingly. It works well for generating multiple outputs along the same theme.

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Tell ChatGPT the audience it's writing for.

ChatGPT is a very capable prompt engineer itself. If you ask it to come up with creative and effective inputs for artificial intelligence engines such as Dall-E and Midjourney , you'll get text you can then input into other AI tools you're playing around with. You're even able to ask for tips with prompts for ChatGPT itself.

When it comes to generating prompts, the more detailed and specific you are about what you're looking for the better: You can get the chatbot to extend and add more detail to your sentences, you can get it to role-play as a prompt generator for a specific AI tool, and you can tell it to refine its answers as you add more and more information.

While ChatGPT is based around text, you can get it to produce pictures of a sort by asking for ASCII art. That's the art made up of characters and symbols rather than colors. The results won't win you any prizes, but it's pretty fun to play around with.

The usual ChatGPT rules apply, in that the more specific you are in your prompt the better, and you can get the bot to add new elements and take elements away as you go. Remember the limitations of the ASCII art format though—this isn't a full-blown image editor.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

A ChatGPT Plus subscription comes with image generation.

If you use ChatGPT Plus , it's got the DALL-E image generator right inside it, so you can ask for any kind of photo, drawing, or illustration you like. As with text, try to be as explicit as possible about what it is you want to see, and how it's shown; do you want something that looks like a watercolor painting, or like it was taken by a DSLR camera? You can have some real fun with this: Put Columbo in a cyberpunk setting, or see how Jurassic Park would look in the Victorian era. The possibilities are almost endless.

You don't have to do all the typing yourself when it comes to ChatGPT. Copy and paste is your friend, and there's no problem with pasting in text from other sources. While the input limit tops out at around 4,000 words, you can easily split the text you're sending the bot into several sections and get it to remember what you've previously sent.

Perhaps one of the best ways of using this approach is to get ChatGPT to simplify text that you don't understand—the explanation of a difficult scientific concept, for instance. You can also get it to translate text into different languages, write it in a more engaging or fluid style, and so on.

If you want to go exploring, ask ChatGPT to create a text-based choose-your-own adventure game. You can specify the theme and the setting of the adventure, as well as any other ground rules to put in place. When we tried this out, we found ourselves wandering through a spooky castle, with something sinister apparently hiding in the shadows.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

ChatGPT is able to create text-based games for you to play.

Another way to improve the responses you get from ChatGPT is to give it some data to work with before you ask your question. For instance, you could give it a list of book summaries together with their genre, then ask it to apply the correct genre label to a new summary. Another option would be to tell ChatGPT about activities you enjoy and then get a new suggestion.

There's no magic combination of words you have to use here. Just use natural language as always, and ChatGPT will understand what you're getting at. Specify that you're providing examples at the start of your prompt, then tell the bot that you want a response with those examples in mind.

You can ask ChatGPT for feedback on any of your own writing, from the emails you're sending to friends, to the short story you're submitting to a competition, to the prompts you're typing into the AI bot. Ask for pointers on spelling, grammar, tone, readability, or anything else you want to scrutinize.

ChatGPT cleared the above paragraph as being clear and effective, but said it could use a call to action at the end. Try this prompt today!

Screenshot of ChatGPT

Get ChatGPT to give you feedback on your own writing.

In the same way that ChatGPT can mimic the style of certain authors that it knows about, it can also play a role: a frustrated salesman, an excitable teenager (you'll most likely get a lot of emoji and abbreviations back), or the iconic western film star John Wayne.

There are countless roles you can play around with. These prompts might not score highly in terms of practical applications, but they're definitely a useful insight into the potential of these AI chatbots.

You can type queries into ChatGPT that you might otherwise type into Google, looking for answers: Think "how much should I budget for a day of sightseeing in London?" or "what are the best ways to prepare for a job interview?" for example. Almost anything will get a response of some sort—though as always, don't take AI responses as being 100 percent accurate 100 percent of the time.

If you're using the paid ChatGPT Plus tool, it will actually search the web (with Bing) and provide link references for the answers it gives. If you're using the free version of ChatGPT, it'll mine the data its been trained on for answers, so they might be a little out of date or less reliable.

Your answers can be seriously improved if you give ChatGPT some ingredients to work with before asking for a response. They could be literal ingredients—suggest a dish from what's left in the fridge—or they could be anything else.

So don't just ask for a murder mystery scenario. Also list out the characters who are going to appear. Don't just ask for ideas of where to go in a city; specify the city you're going to, the types of places you want to see, and the people you'll have with you.

Your prompts don't always have to get ChatGPT to generate something from scratch: You can start it off with something, and then let the AI finish it off. The model will take clues from what you've already written and build on it.

This can come in handy for everything from coding a website to composing a poem—and you can then get ChatGPT to go back and refine its answer as well.

You've no doubt noticed how online arguments have tended toward the binary in recent years, so get ChatGPT to help add some gray between the black and the white. It's able to argue both sides of an argument if you ask it to, including both pros and cons.

From politics and philosophy to sports and the arts, ChatGPT is able to sit on the fence quite impressively—not in a vague way, but in a way that can help you understand tricky issues from multiple perspectives.

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How to master gpt-4 in chatgpt: prompts, tips, and tricks.

I've asked ChatGPT-4 to create everything from poetry to a job application. Here's what I've learned.

Key Takeaways

  • Getting the hang of a few clever tricks can turn your GPT-4 experience from good to mind-blowing.
  • It's all about asking the right way to get spot-on answers or creative gems, fast and fuss-free.
  • The better you get at telling GPT-4 exactly what you want, the more it feels like it's reading your mind.

When OpenAI launched the latest version of ChatGPT, the generative AI company said GPT-4 was capable of passing the bar exam, the SATs, or even an AP Art History exam. But getting the most out of the chatbot requires an understanding of how to use GPT-4, what works -- and what doesn't.

As a writer, I've followed the development of generative AI text models closely. Eventually, curiosity got the best of me and I had to see what the program could -- and couldn't -- do. I asked GPT-4 to generate a variety of different texts, including social media marketing posts, a cover letter to a job application, a poem, and the outline of a novel. I even asked it to generate its own list of GPT-4 tips and tricks. (And yes, this article is written by a human.)

ChatGPT Plus

I tried ChatGPT Plus. Here's everything it can do

While switching from the older GPT-3.5 to GPT-4 is straightforward, creating the right ChatGPT prompts is a nuanced experience. The best results come from understanding how to write an effective GPT-4 prompt and understanding what the text generator can and cannot do.

A photograph of the process to use GPT-4 in ChatGPT

How to find and use GPT-4 in ChatGPT

First, using Chat GPT-4 from OpenAI requires a ChatGPT Plus subscription. If you use the free program, you are limited to GPT-3.5. While you can use other programs that are based on GPT-4 without a subscription, like Microsoft Copilot , a subscription is required to use the latest GPT directly from OpenAI.

Using GPT-4 with a ChatGPT Plus subscription is straightforward:

  • Navigate to chat.openai.com . Or, use the ChatGPT app . Log into your account, if you haven't already.
  • At the top of the chat window, you'll see the name of the version that you are using. Click on this and select GPT-4 from the menu instead of GPT-3.5.
  • Once you've swapped to GPT-4, use the text bar to chat or ask for generated content.

OpenAI

ChatGPT update: How is GPT-4 different from GPT-3.5?

Top gpt-4 prompts, tips, and tricks.

While switching ChatGPT to GPT-4 is simple, using the generative AI isn't always that way. The prompts that you type in dictate what type of information is spit back out. Too few details, and you won't get anything close to what you are looking for. The first two tricks below use GPT-4's newest features, while the remainder of the list helps build your skills in writing effective AI prompts.

1. Use images to add more detail to your prompts.

One of the new features in GPT-4 is the ability to use images as well as text in the prompt. For example, if you want ChatGPT to write a Facebook post, include the image that you have to accompany the post to give the program more data to work with. To do this, you'll simply click on the paperclip icon to add a file into the prompt. (This is different from creating an image with ChatGPT, which is done using a DALL-E integration, as ChatGPT is a text-based generator.)

2. Ask about current events.

Earlier versions of ChatGPT were not able to access current events. While GPT-3.5 could discuss events that happened before its training finalized, it couldn't answer questions about what happened since. However, GPT-4 now has a feature called Browse with Bing that allows it to look up information on the web, so it can now tell you what yesterday's trending news stories are or who won the big game.

3. Be specific about your purpose.

Are you writing an Instagram caption or a professional email? GPT-4 understands some of the nuances between content written for different purposes. For example, when I asked for social media posts, I got casual conversation interspersed with emojis. When I asked for a cover letter, the program spit back professionally worded text.

Purpose can extend beyond general formats. When I asked for an engaging social media post, ChatGPT generated text that asked a question or included instructions like "slide into my DMs." It similarly understood when I instead asked for something educational or entertaining.

4. Clarify who the audience is.

GPT-4 will spit out better results if you clarify who your reader is. For example, I got vastly different results when I asked for a social media post aimed at teenagers compared to when I asked for a post directed towards women over age 50. Including both the purpose and audience together will help increase the odds that the first text generated is spot on.

5. Request revisions or ask follow-up questions.

If you don't get the text you are looking for the first time, ask for revisions. Use phrases like "Edit that" and add information or request something like shorter length or a different audience. GPT-4 is also conversational. As long as you are using the same chat window, you can ask follow-up questions without retyping in your earlier prompts.

6. Try third-party GPTs for more features.

While ChatGPT is a text generator, third-party integrations and custom GPTs expand the number of tasks the AI can handle. Click on the "Explore GPTs" option in the sidebar, and you'll find a number of additional tools. For example, this is where you'll find the DALL-E integration to use GPT-4 to generate images, not just text. You'll also find AI tutors, travel planning assistants, and more here. ChatGPT is also used to power browser extensions for more capabilities.

7. Ask GPT-4 to revise something that you already wrote to make it better.

GPT-4 can also be used as a virtual editor. You can ask GPT-4 to look for grammatical mistakes or to make revisions by copying and paste-ing content that you already wrote. Use prompts like, "Are there any grammatical errors in this" or "Revise this" and paste your content in quotes. Ironically enough, this also works with content that GPT-4 already generated -- it caught a missing Oxford comma in content that the program itself had generated just a few minutes before, though it also flattered itself with phrases like "beautifully written."

8. Avoid words and phrases with multiple meanings.

GPT-4 doesn't always understand words and phrases with double meanings. I was impressed that the program knew big foot meant Bigfoot and understood that "break a leg" was a theatrical expression of good luck and not a threat. But, when I asked it to describe a transparent person, it began describing a ghost rather than an open person who lacks a good poker face. Whenever possible, choose words that have singular meaning and avoid words or phrases that could mean multiple things.

9. Use Chat GPT-4 for brainstorming.

ChatGPT can do more than just spit out text -- the conversational nature can also help you brainstorm ideas or talk over projects that you're stuck on. For example, you could ask it for topic ideas for your next blog, or gift ideas for an upcoming holiday. Try starting a prompt with "Brainstorm 5 ideas for..."

10. Verify all factual information.

While there are a number of changes to GPT-4, it still has the same disclaimer at the bottom of the page: "ChatGPT can make mistakes. Consider checking important information." While the text generator is impressive, it's far from perfect and has generated inaccurate information in the past . In fact, when I asked the AI for some tricks on using GPT-4, it told me that it couldn't access data for current events that happened after training was complete.

However, GPT-4's new Browse with Bing allowed it to accurately tell me who won the game last weekend, proving the new system is capable of working with some new information through its plug-ins. If GPT-4 can't even accurately tell you its own capabilities, it's bound to make other factual mistakes.

11. Understand the program's limitations.

While GPT-4 did better on the bar exam than GPT-3.5, the program didn't perform as well across other subjects, such as literature. By nature, generative AI learns from patterns and mimics them, but fails at creating something entirely innovative. While it can continue a conversation from the same window, it doesn't retain this data long-term and can't pick up a conversation or prompt where you left off days later. Generative AI has also been tied to biases in training data, including cultural and racial prejudice.

12. Avoid sharing sensitive or private information.

GPT-4 uses the information that you type in to train itself. That means your content isn't exactly private, so perhaps GPT-4 isn't the best option for typing up that scathing breakup letter.

Chat GPT AI image creation example

How to use ChatGPT to make AI-generated images and art

A photograph of the process to use GPT-4 in ChatGPT

Q. What is GPT-4?

ChatGPT is a generative language machine-learning program -- it uses artificial intelligence to create text. GPTs are variations of the ChatGPT program. GPT-4 is the latest foundational model. That means it's the most advanced version of ChatGPT available. It's also a multimodal language model, which means you can feed the program text and images. For example, if you want to ask ChatGPT to write a Facebook post for you, you can include the picture that you want the program to write about. (While ChatGPT is a language-based program and only generates text, it does have a DALL-E integration that can be used to generate images for subscribers.)

GPT-4 makes large gains in academic and professional tasks compared to the earlier model. OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, says that while the earlier GPT-3.5 scored in the bottom tenth percentile of the bar exam, GPT-4 scored in the top 90th percentile.

As the latest iteration, GPT-4 requires a subscription, while non-subscribers can use GPT-3.5 without any monthly fees.

Q. How much does GPT-4 cost?

While GPT-3.5 is available free without a subscription, GPT-4 is one of the perks of the $20 a month ChatGPT Plus. The subscription includes access to the platform's most cutting edge features, which includes GPT-4. The subscription also has a few other perks, which you'll find in this ChatGPT Plus guide.

Q. What are the Chat GPT-4 token limits?

GPT-4 requires a lot of computing power. To help negate the traffic, GPT-4 is limited to 40 messages, refreshing that limit every three hours.

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  • How to Write an Introduction Using ChatGPT | Tips & Examples

How to Write an Introduction Using ChatGPT | Tips & Examples

Published on July 17, 2023 by Koen Driessen . Revised on September 11, 2023.

A good introduction is essential to any essay or dissertation. It sets up your argument and clearly indicates the scope and content of your writing.

Your introduction should be an authentic representation of your own ideas and research. However, AI tools like ChatGPT can be effectively used during the writing process to:

  • Develop an introduction outline
  • Summarize text
  • Paraphrase text
  • Provide feedback

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Table of contents

Developing an introduction outline, summarizing your arguments, paraphrasing text, generating feedback, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions.

While the introduction naturally comes at the beginning of your paper, it’s often one of the last parts you write. Writing your introduction last allows you to clearly indicate the most important aspects of your research to your reader in a logical order.

You can use ChatGPT to brainstorm potential outlines for your introduction. To do this, include a brief overview of all relevant aspects of your paper, including your research question , methodology , central arguments, and essay type (e.g., argumentative , expository ). For a longer essay or dissertation , you might also mention section or chapter titles.

Rearrange or edit the output so that it accurately reflects the body of your essay .

Example: Using ChatGPT to develop an outline

  • Develop an outline for an essay introduction. The essay is a 2,000 word argumentative essay on the impact of children’s cartoons on consumer behavior. The research uses both qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Start with a thought-provoking statement, anecdote, or statistic related to the influence of children’s cartoons on consumer behavior.
  • Introduce the topic of children’s cartoons and their popularity among young audiences.
  • Highlight the prevalence of media consumption among children and the significant role that cartoons play in their lives.
  • Discuss the growing influence of marketing and advertising targeted at children.
  • Clearly state your main argument about the impact of children’s cartoons on consumer behavior.
  • Example: “This essay argues that children’s cartoons have a substantial influence on consumer behavior, shaping children’s preferences, purchase decisions, and brand loyalty. This assertion is supported by a combination of qualitative and quantitative data.”
  • Briefly describe the research conducted and the use of both qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Explain the purpose of the research in examining the relationship between children’s cartoons and consumer behavior.
  • Mention the sample size, research methods employed, and the sources of data (e.g., surveys, interviews, content analysis).
  • Discuss the significance of understanding the impact of children’s cartoons on consumer behavior.
  • Highlight the potential implications for marketers, parents, and society as a whole.
  • Emphasize the need for critical examination of the messages conveyed through children’s cartoons.
  • Provide a brief overview of the main points or sections that will be covered in the essay.
  • Examination of the persuasive techniques employed in children’s cartoons.
  • Analysis of qualitative data to understand the effects of cartoons on children’s preferences and behaviors.
  • Presentation of quantitative data on the relationship between exposure to cartoons and consumer behavior.
  • Discussion of the ethical considerations surrounding marketing to children.
  • Conclusion on the overall impact of children’s cartoons on consumer behavior.
  • Summarize how the upcoming sections will provide evidence and analysis to support your argument.
  • Example: “Through a combination of qualitative and quantitative data, this essay will delve into the persuasive techniques used in children’s cartoons, examine the effects of cartoons on children’s preferences and behaviors, present quantitative evidence of the relationship between exposure to cartoons and consumer behavior, discuss the ethical concerns, and ultimately draw conclusions about the influence of children’s cartoons on consumer behavior.”

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At the end of your introduction, you may give a brief overview of specific sections of your paper.

You can use ChatGPT to summarize text and condense your writing to its most important ideas. To do this, copy and paste sections of your essay into ChatGPT and prompt it to summarize the text.

However, we don’t recommend passing off AI-generated outputs as your own work. This is considered academically dishonest and may be detected using AI detectors . Instead, use ChatGPT outputs as a source of inspiration to help you clearly indicate your key objectives and findings in your own words.

Alternatively, you can use a specialized tool like Scribbr’s free text summarizer , which offers a smoother user experience.

Example: Using ChatGPT to summarize text

  • Provide a one-line summary of the following paragraph: “Exposure to cartoons exerts a discernible impact on a child’s preferences, primarily through the establishment of robust associations between animated characters, branded products, and positive emotional experiences. Through repeated exposure, children develop an attachment to specific brands that influences their future buying choices. Furthermore, recent studies have established a correlation between the amount of time spent watching cartoons and children’s consumer behavior, including their demands for advertised products and their influence on family purchasing decisions.”
  • Repeated exposure to cartoons influences children’s preferences, brand attachments, consumer behavior, and purchasing decisions.

When writing your introduction, you may have difficulty finding fresh ways to describe the content of your essay. You can use ChatGPT as a paraphrasing tool to rephrase text in clear language. This can help you to communicate your ideas more effectively, avoid repetition, and maintain a consistent tone.

You can also use Scribbr’s free paraphrasing tool , which is designed specifically for this purpose.

Example: Using ChatGPT to paraphrase text

  • Paraphrase the following sentence: “This raises ethical concerns regarding the potential exploitation of young minds for commercial gain, highlighting the need for responsible content creation and parental guidance to mitigate the impact of children’s cartoons on consumer behavior.”
  • The potential exploitation of young minds for commercial gain gives rise to ethical concerns, emphasizing the importance of responsible content creation and parental guidance to reduce the influence of children’s cartoons on consumer behavior.

Once you’ve finished writing your introduction, you can use ChatGPT to generate feedback. Paste your introduction into the tool and prompt it to provide feedback on specific aspects of your writing, such as tone, clarity, or structure.

You can also use ChatGPT to check grammar and punctuation mistakes. However, it’s not specifically designed for this purpose and may fail to detect some errors. We recommend using a more specialized tool like Scribbr’s free grammar checker . Or, for more comprehensive feedback, try Scribbr’s proofreading and editing service .

Example: Using ChatGPT to get feedback

  • Provide feedback on the above text with regard to tone of voice and clarity of structure.

Furthermore, the last paragraph could be revised to provide a more concise summary of the main points that will be addressed in the essay. This would help to give the reader a clearer roadmap of what to expect in the subsequent sections.

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If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , fallacies , and research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • ChatGPT vs human editor
  • ChatGPT citations
  • Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
  • Using ChatGPT for your studies
  • Sunk cost fallacy
  • Straw man fallacy
  • Slippery slope fallacy
  • Red herring fallacy
  • Ecological fallacy
  • Logical fallacy

Research bias

  • Implicit bias
  • Framing bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Optimism bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Unconscious bias

No, it’s not a good idea to do so in general—first, because it’s normally considered plagiarism or academic dishonesty to represent someone else’s work as your own (even if that “someone” is an AI language model). Even if you cite ChatGPT , you’ll still be penalized unless this is specifically allowed by your university . Institutions may use AI detectors to enforce these rules.

Second, ChatGPT can recombine existing texts, but it cannot really generate new knowledge. And it lacks specialist knowledge of academic topics. Therefore, it is not possible to obtain original research results, and the text produced may contain factual errors.

However, you can usually still use ChatGPT for assignments in other ways, as a source of inspiration and feedback.

Yes, you can use ChatGPT to summarize text . This can help you understand complex information more easily, summarize the central argument of your own paper, or clarify your research question.

You can also use Scribbr’s free text summarizer , which is designed specifically for this purpose.

Yes, you can use ChatGPT to paraphrase text to help you express your ideas more clearly, explore different ways of phrasing your arguments, and avoid repetition.

However, it’s not specifically designed for this purpose. We recommend using a specialized tool like Scribbr’s free paraphrasing tool , which will provide a smoother user experience.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Driessen, K. (2023, September 11). How to Write an Introduction Using ChatGPT | Tips & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/ai-tools/chatgpt-essay-introduction/

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ChatGPT: Here's What It Is, How It Works and How It's Evolving

It started as just a research project. But ChatGPT instead swept us away with its mind-blowing skills. Now you can even get custom AI apps.

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  • I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee

OpenAI's logo, a hexagonal rosette pattern

Back in 2022, OpenAI wowed the world when it  introduced ChatGPT  and showed a chatbot with an entirely new level of power, breadth and usefulness.

ChatGPT and the generative AI technology behind it aren't a surprise anymore, but keeping track of what it can do can be a challenge as new abilities arrive. Most notably, OpenAI now lets anyone write custom AI apps called GPTs and share them on its own app store. While OpenAI is leading the generative AI charge, it's hotly pursued by Microsoft, Google and startups far and wide.

Generative AI still hasn't shaken a core problem, that it makes up information that sounds plausible but isn't necessarily correct. But there's no denying AI has fired the imaginations of computer scientists, loosened the purse strings of venture capitalists and caught the attention of everyone from teachers to doctors to artists and more, all wondering how AI will change their work and their lives. 

If you're trying to get a handle on ChatGPT, this FAQ is for you. Here's a look at what's up.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an online chatbot that responds to "prompts" -- text requests that you type. ChatGPT has countless uses . You can request relationship advice, a summarized history of punk rock or an explanation of the ocean's tides. It's particularly good at writing software, and it can also handle some other technical tasks, like creating 3D models .

ChatGPT is called a generative AI because it generates these responses on its own. But it can also display more overtly creative output like screenplays, poetry, jokes and student essays. That's one of the abilities that really caught people's attention.

Much of AI has been focused on specific tasks, but ChatGPT is a general-purpose tool. This puts it more into a category like a search engine.

That breadth makes it powerful but also hard to fully control. OpenAI has many mechanisms in place to try to screen out abuse and other problems, but there's an active cat-and-mouse game afoot by researchers and others who try to get ChatGPT to do things like offer bomb-making recipes.

ChatGPT really blew people's minds when it began passing tests. For example, AnsibleHealth researchers reported in 2023 that " ChatGPT performed at or near the passing threshold " for the United States Medical Licensing Exam, suggesting that AI chatbots "may have the potential to assist with medical education, and potentially, clinical decision-making."

We're a long way from fully fledged doctor-bots you can trust, but the computing industry is investing billions of dollars to solve the problems and expand AI into new domains like visual data too. OpenAI is among those at the vanguard. So strap in, because the AI journey is going to be a sometimes terrifying, sometimes exciting thrill.

What's ChatGPT's origin?

Artificial intelligence algorithms had been ticking away for years before ChatGPT arrived. These systems were a big departure from traditional programming, which follows a rigid if-this-then-that approach. AI, in contrast, is trained to spot patterns in complex real-world data. AI has been busy for more than a decade screening out spam, identifying our friends in photos, recommending videos and translating our Alexa voice commands into computerese.

A Google technology called transformers helped propel AI to a new level, leading to a type of AI called a large language model (LLM). These AIs are trained on enormous quantities of text, including material like books, blog posts, forum comments and news articles. The training process internalizes the relationships between words, letting chatbots process input text and then generate what it believes to be appropriate output text. 

A second phase of building an LLM is called reinforcement learning through human feedback, or RLHF. That's when people review the chatbot's responses and steer it toward good answers or away from bad ones. That significantly alters the tool's behavior and is one important mechanism for trying to stop abuse.

OpenAI's LLM is called GPT, which stands for "generative pretrained transformer." Training a new model is expensive and time consuming, typically taking weeks and requiring a data center packed with thousands of expensive AI acceleration processors. OpenAI's latest LLM is called GPT-4 Turbo . Other LLMs include Google's Gemini (formerly called Bard), Anthropic's Claude and Meta's Llama .

ChatGPT is an interface that lets you easily prompt GPT for responses. When it arrived as a free tool in November 2022, its use exploded far beyond what OpenAI expected.

When OpenAI launched ChatGPT, the company didn't even see it as a product. It was supposed to be a mere "research preview," a test that could draw some feedback from a broader audience, said ChatGPT product leader Nick Turley. Instead, it went viral, and OpenAI scrambled to just keep the service up and running under the demand.

"It was surreal," Turley said. "There was something about that release that just struck a nerve with folks in a way that we certainly did not expect. I remember distinctly coming back the day after we launched and looking at dashboards and thinking, something's broken, this couldn't be real, because we really didn't make a very big deal out of this launch."

ChatGPT, a name only engineers could love, was launched as a research project in November 2022 but quickly caught on as a consumer product.

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How do I use ChatGPT?

The ChatGPT website is the most obvious method. Open it up, select the LLM version you want from the drop-down menu in the upper left corner, and type in a query.

OpenAI in 2023 released a ChatGPT app for iPhones and for Android phones . In February, ChatGPT for Apple Vision Pro arrived , too, adding the chatbot's abilities to the "spatial computing" headset. Be careful to look for the genuine article, because other developers can create their own chatbot apps that link to OpenAI's GPT.

In January, OpenAI opened its GPT Store , a collection of custom AI apps that focus ChatGPT's all-purpose design to specific jobs. A lot more on that later, but in addition to finding them through the store you can invoke them with the @ symbol in a prompt, the way you might tag a friend on Instagram.

Microsoft uses GPT for its Bing search engine, which means you can also try out ChatGPT there.

ChatGPT is sprouting up in various hardware devices, including Volkswagen EVs , Humane's voice-controlled lapel pin and the squarish Rabbit R1 device .

How much does ChatGPT cost?

It's free, though you have to set up an account to use it.

For more capability, there's also a subscription called ChatGPT Plus that costs $20 per month that offers a variety of advantages: it responds faster, particularly during busy times when the free version is slow or sometimes tells you to try again later. It also offers access to newer AI models, including GPT-4 . The free ChatGPT uses the older GPT-3.5, which doesn't do as well on OpenAI's benchmark tests but which is faster to respond. The newest variation, GPT-4 Turbo, arrived in late 2023 with more up-to-date responses and an ability to ingest and output larger blocks of text.

ChatGPT is growing beyond its language roots. With ChatGPT Plus, you can upload images, for example, to ask what type of mushroom is in a photo.

Perhaps most importantly, ChatGPT Plus lets you use GPTs.

What are these GPTs?

GPTs are custom versions of ChatGPT from OpenAI, its business partners and thousands of third-party developers who created their own GPTs.

Sometimes when people encounter ChatGPT, they don't know where to start. OpenAI calls it the "empty box problem." Discovering that led the company to find a way to narrow down the choices, Turley said.

"People really benefit from the packaging of a use case -- here's a very specific thing that I can do with ChatGPT," like travel planning, cooking help or an interactive, step-by-step tool to build a website, Turley said.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman announces custom AI apps called GPTs at a developer event in November 2023.

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Think of GPTs as OpenAI trying to make the general-purpose power of ChatGPT more refined the same way smartphones have a wealth of specific tools. (And think of GPTs as OpenAI's attempt to take control over how we find, use and pay for these apps, much like Apple has a commanding role over iPhones through its App Store.)

What GPTs are available now?

OpenAI's GPT store now offers millions of GPTs , though as with smartphone apps, you'll probably not be interested in most of them. A range of GPT custom apps are available, including AllTrails personal trail recommendations , a Khan Academy programming tutor , a Canva design tool , a book recommender , a fitness trainer , the laundry buddy clothes washing label decoder, a music theory instructor , a haiku writer and the Pearl for Pets for vet advice bot .

One person excited by GPTs is Daniel Kivatinos, co-founder of financial services company JustPaid . His team is building a GPT designed to take a spreadsheet of financial data as input and then let executives ask questions. How fast is a startup going through the money investors gave it? Why did that employee just file a $6,000 travel expense?

JustPaid hopes that GPTs will eventually be powerful enough to accept connections to bank accounts and financial software, which would mean a more powerful tool. For now, the developers are focusing on guardrails to avoid problems like hallucinations -- those answers that sound plausible but are actually wrong -- or making sure the GPT is answering based on the users' data, not on some general information in its AI model, Kivatinos said.

Anyone can create a GPT, at least in principle. OpenAI's GPT editor walks you through the process with a series of prompts. Just like the regular ChatGPT, your ability to craft the right prompt will generate better results.

Another notable difference from regular ChatGPT: GPTs let you upload extra data that's relevant to your particular GPT, like a collection of essays or a writing style guide.

Some of the GPTs draw on OpenAI's Dall-E tool for turning text into images, which can be useful and entertaining. For example, there is a coloring book picture creator , a logo generator and a tool that turns text prompts into diagrams like company org charts. OpenAI calls Dall-E a GPT.

How up to date is ChatGPT?

Not very, and that can be a problem. For example, a Bing search using ChatGPT to process results said OpenAI hadn't yet released its ChatGPT Android app. Search results from traditional search engines can help to "ground" AI results, and indeed that's part of the Microsoft-OpenAI partnership that can tweak ChatGPT Plus results.

GPT-4 Turbo, announced in November, is trained on data up through April 2023. But it's nothing like a search engine whose bots crawl news sites many times a day for the latest information.

Can you trust ChatGPT responses?

Sadly, no. Well, sometimes, sure, but you need to be wary.

Large language models work by stringing words together, one after another, based on what's probable each step of the way. But it turns out that LLM's generative AI works better and sounds more natural with a little spice of randomness added to the word selection recipe. That's the basic statistical nature that underlies the criticism that LLMs are mere "stochastic parrots" rather than sophisticated systems that in some way understand the world's complexity.

The result of this system, combined with the steering influence of the human training, is an AI that produces results that sound plausible but that aren't necessarily true. ChatGPT does better with information that's well represented in training data and undisputed -- for instance, red traffic signals mean stop, Plato was a philosopher who wrote the Allegory of the Cave , an Alaskan earthquake in 1964 was the largest in US history at magnitude 9.2.

When facts are more sparsely documented, controversial or off the beaten track of human knowledge, LLMs don't work as well. Unfortunately, they sometimes produce incorrect answers with a convincing, authoritative voice. That's what tripped up a lawyer who used ChatGPT to bolster his legal case only to be reprimanded when it emerged he used ChatGPT fabricated some cases that appeared to support his arguments. "I did not comprehend that ChatGPT could fabricate cases ," he said, according to The New York Times.

Such fabrications are called hallucinations in the AI business.

That means when you're using ChatGPT, it's best to double check facts elsewhere.

Of course, there are plenty of creative uses for ChatGPT that don't require strictly factual results.

Want to use ChatGPT to draft a cover letter for a job hunt or give you ideas for a themed birthday party? No problem. Looking for hotel suggestions in Bangladesh? ChatGPT can give useful travel itineraries , but confirm the results before booking anything.

Is the hallucination problem getting better?

Yes, but we haven't seen a breakthrough.

"Hallucinations are a fundamental limitation of the way that these models work today," Turley said. LLMs just predict the next word in a response, over and over, "which means that they return things that are likely to be true, which is not always the same as things that are true," Turley said.

But OpenAI has been making gradual progress. "With nearly every model update, we've gotten a little bit better on making the model both more factual and more self aware about what it does and doesn't know," Turley said. "If you compare ChatGPT now to the original ChatGPT, it's much better at saying, 'I don't know that' or 'I can't help you with that' versus making something up."

Hallucinations are so much a part of the zeitgeist that Dictionary.com touted it as a new word it added to its dictionary in 2023.

Can you use ChatGPT for wicked purposes?

You can try, but lots of it will violate OpenAI's terms of use , and the company tries to block it too. The company prohibits use that involves sexual or violent material, racist caricatures, and personal information like Social Security numbers or addresses.

OpenAI works hard to prevent harmful uses. Indeed, its basic sales pitch is trying to bring the benefits of AI to the world without the drawbacks. But it acknowledges the difficulties, for example in its GPT-4 "system card" that documents its safety work.

"GPT-4 can generate potentially harmful content, such as advice on planning attacks or hate speech. It can represent various societal biases and worldviews that may not be representative of the user's intent, or of widely shared values. It can also generate code that is compromised or vulnerable," the system card says. It also can be used to try to identify individuals and could help lower the cost of cyberattacks.

Through a process called red teaming, in which experts try to find unsafe uses of its AI and bypass protections, OpenAI identified lots of problems and tried to nip them in the bud before GPT-4 launched. For example, a prompt to generate jokes mocking a Muslim boyfriend in a wheelchair was diverted so its response said, "I cannot provide jokes that may offend someone based on their religion, disability or any other personal factors. However, I'd be happy to help you come up with some light-hearted and friendly jokes that can bring laughter to the event without hurting anyone's feelings."

Researchers are still probing LLM limits. For example, Italian researchers discovered they could use ChatGPT to fabricate fake but convincing medical research data . And Google DeepMind researchers found that telling ChatGPT to repeat the same word forever eventually caused a glitch that made the chatbot blurt out training data verbatim. That's a big no-no, and OpenAI barred the approach .

LLMs are still new. Expect more problems and more patches.

And there are plenty of uses for ChatGPT that might be allowed but ill-advised. The website of Philadelphia's sheriff published more than 30 bogus news stories generated with ChatGPT .

What about ChatGPT and cheating in school?

ChatGPT is well suited to short essays on just about anything you might encounter in high school or college, to the chagrin of many educators who fear students will type in prompts instead of thinking for themselves.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella touted his company's partnership with OpenAI at a November 2023 event for OpenAI developers. Microsoft uses OpenAI's GPT large language model for its Bing search engine, Office productivity tools and GitHub Copilot programming assistant.

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ChatGPT also can solve some math problems, explain physics phenomena, write chemistry lab reports and handle all kinds of other work students are supposed to handle on their own. Companies that sell anti-plagiarism software have pivoted to flagging text they believe an AI generated.

But not everyone is opposed, seeing it more like a tool akin to Google search and Wikipedia articles that can help students.

"There was a time when using calculators on exams was a huge no-no," said Alexis Abramson, dean of Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. "It's really important that our students learn how to use these tools, because 90% of them are going into jobs where they're going to be expected to use these tools. They're going to walk in the office and people will expect them, being age 22 and technologically savvy, to be able to use these tools."

ChatGPT also can help kids get past writer's block and can help kids who aren't as good at writing, perhaps because English isn't their first language, she said.

So for Abramson, using ChatGPT to write a first draft or polish their grammar is fine. But she asks her students to disclose that fact.

"Anytime you use it, I would like you to include what you did when you turn in your assignment," she said. "It's unavoidable that students will use ChatGPT, so why don't we figure out a way to help them use it responsibly?"

Is ChatGPT coming for my job?

The threat to employment is real as managers seek to replace expensive humans with cheaper automated processes. We've seen this movie before: elevator operators were replaced by buttons, bookkeepers were replaced by accounting software, welders were replaced by robots. 

ChatGPT has all sorts of potential to blitz white-collar jobs. Paralegals summarizing documents, marketers writing promotional materials, tax advisers interpreting IRS rules, even therapists offering relationship advice.

But so far, in part because of problems with things like hallucinations, AI companies present their bots as assistants and "copilots," not replacements.

And so far, sentiment is more positive than negative about chatbots, according to a survey by consulting firm PwC. Of 53,912 people surveyed around the world, 52% expressed at least one good expectation about the arrival of AI, for example that AI would increase their productivity. That compares with 35% who had at least one negative thing to say, for example that AI will replace them or require skills they're not confident they can learn.

How will ChatGPT affect programmers?

Software development is a particular area where people have found ChatGPT and its rivals useful. Trained on millions of lines of code, it internalized enough information to build websites and mobile apps. It can help programmers frame up bigger projects or fill in details.

One of the biggest fans is Microsoft's GitHub , a site where developers can host projects and invite collaboration. Nearly a third of people maintaining GitHub projects use its GPT-based assistant, called Copilot, and 92% of US developers say they're using AI tools .

"We call it the industrial revolution of software development," said Github Chief Product Officer Inbal Shani. "We see it lowering the barrier for entry. People who are not developers today can write software and develop applications using Copilot."

It's the next step in making programming more accessible, she said. Programmers used to have to understand bits and bytes, then higher-level languages gradually eased the difficulties. "Now you can write coding the way you talk to people," she said.

And AI programming aids still have a lot to prove. Researchers from Stanford and the University of California-San Diego found in a  study of 47 programmers  that those with access to an OpenAI programming help " wrote significantly less secure code  than those without access."

And they raise a variation of the cheating problem that some teachers are worried about: copying software that shouldn't be copied, which can lead to copyright problems. That's why Copyleaks, a maker of plagiarism detection software, offers a tool called the  Codeleaks Source Code AI Detector  designed to spot AI-generated code from ChatGPT, Google Gemini and GitHub Copilot. AIs could inadvertently copy code from other sources, and the latest version is designed to spot copied code based on its semantic structures, not just verbatim software.

At least in the next five years, Shani doesn't see AI tools like Copilot as taking humans out of programming.

"I don't think that it will replace the human in the loop. There's some capabilities that we as humanity have -- the creative thinking, the innovation, the ability to think beyond how a machine thinks in terms of putting things together in a creative way. That's something that the machine can still not do."

Editors' note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories. For more, see  this post .

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Business Insider

Business Insider

7 ways to use ChatGPT at work to make your job easier

Posted: January 16, 2024 | Last updated: January 16, 2024

<ul class="summary-list"> <li><strong>ChatGPT won't replace your job anytime soon. But it can make it a little bit easier.</strong></li> <li><strong>With its impressive functions, the buzzy AI chatbot could give some workers a "productivity boost."</strong></li> <li><strong>Insider compiled a list of seven ways workers can use the AI tool to help do their jobs. </strong></li> </ul><p>OpenAI's ChatGPT and similar AI tools <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-jobs-at-risk-replacement-artificial-intelligence-ai-labor-trends-2023-02">may not replace jobs anytime soon</a>. But they can help workers across many industries – from tech to media – do their jobs better and more quickly. </p><p>"It's almost like a bit of a productivity boost that some of these occupations might get," Anu Madgavkar, a partner at economic research firm McKinsey Global Institute, told Insider.</p><p>The buzzy conversational chatbot – <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-chat-gpt-2023-1">which attracted one million users soon after its launch last November</a> – has been used to <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/i-asked-chatgpt-for-real-estate-advice-heres-what-it-said-2023-1">generate real estate advice</a>, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chagpt-cant-start-a-business-for-you-startup-steps-2023-1">provide tips on how to start a business</a>, and <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-song-nick-cave-ai-written-style-sucks-2023-1">even write music in the style of individual artists</a>, all with varying levels of success. </p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-startup-boom-funding-generative-ai-trend-jasper-runway-2023-1">Investors have been pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into industry-specific generative AI tools</a> out of the belief that these have the potential to solve problems that, say, hospitals and marketing departments may encounter.</p><p>Sam Altman, the CEO of the firm behind ChatGPT, would agree, as he previously said that <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/openai-chatgpt-ceo-sam-altman-responds-school-plagiarism-concerns-bans-2023-1">"generative text is something we all need to adapt to." </a></p><p>"We adapted to calculators and changed what we tested for in math class, I imagine," Altman said <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebjkD1Om4uw" rel="noopener">during an interview with StrictlyVC in January</a>. "This is a more extreme version of that, no doubt, but also the benefits of it are more extreme, as well."</p><p>Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute who has researched the impact of AI on the workforce, echoes the sentiment. </p><p>"It's absolutely true that AI applications like ChatGPT can very much improve workers' lives," Muro told Insider.</p><p>Workers should be careful when using AI tools, as the tech can be prone to <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/tech-site-issued-corrections-after-ai-writing-got-facts-wrong-2023-1">misinformation</a>, and it <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-job-applications-hiring-managers-job-interview-candidate-2022-12">can remove the human touch</a> from tasks like writing. Most companies also haven't established formal rules around employee use of the AI tool, though firms like <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-microsoft-warns-employees-not-to-share-sensitive-data-openai-2023-1">Microsoft – a major partner and investor of ChatGPT's parent Open AI</a> – have recently given employees the green light to use the chatbot for work purposes, as long as they don't share sensitive information with the site.</p><p><strong>Here's how you can use ChatGPT and AI to help make your work life easier.</strong></p><div class="read-original">Read the original article on <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-use-chatgpt-at-work-job-save-time-ai-2023-2">Business Insider</a></div>

  • ChatGPT likely won't replace your job anytime soon. But it can make it a little bit easier.
  • With its impressive functions, the buzzy AI chatbot could give some workers a "productivity boost."
  • Business Insider compiled a list of seven ways workers can use the AI tool to help do their jobs.

OpenAI's ChatGPT and similar AI tools may not replace jobs anytime soon . But they could help workers across many industries – from tech to media – do their jobs better and more efficiently. 

"It's almost like a bit of a productivity boost that some of these occupations might get," Anu Madgavkar, a partner at economic research firm McKinsey Global Institute, told Business Insider.

Workers have used the buzzy conversational chatbot – which attracted one million users soon after its launch last November 2022 – to write real estate listings , develop code , and create lesson plans . Some have even used it to accelerate their workflows without telling their coworkers . 

Investors have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into industry-specific generative AI tools out of the belief that these have the potential to solve problems that businesses from hospitals to marketing firms may encounter. Many companies have begun experimenting with these tools to see how they could most benefit their workers.  

"We adapted to calculators and changed what we tested for in math class, I imagine," OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said during an interview with StrictlyVC in January 2023 . "This is a more extreme version of that, no doubt, but also the benefits of it are more extreme, as well."

Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute who has researched the impact of AI on the workforce, echoed the sentiment. 

"It's absolutely true that AI applications like ChatGPT can very much improve workers' lives," Muro told Business Insider.

Workers should be careful when using AI tools, as the tech can be prone to misinformation , and it can remove the human touch from tasks like writing. Most companies also haven't established formal rules around employee use of the AI tool, though firms like Microsoft – a major partner and investor of ChatGPT's parent Open AI – have given employees the green light to use the chatbot for work purposes, as long as they don't share sensitive information with the site.

Here's how you can use ChatGPT and AI to help make your work life easier.

<p>How many times a day do you Google something at work? With ChatGPT, that may become less common. </p><p>In face, the search-engine giant is <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-management-issues-code-red-over-chatgpt-report-2022-12">reportedly worried</a> that you'll eventually put your queries into ChatGPT instead. The company issued a "code red" over the bot's potential threat to its search business.</p><p>"Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption," Gmail creator Paul Buchheit <a href="https://twitter.com/paultoo/status/1598434161332981760?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1598434161332981760%7Ctwgr%5Ed43a3b604a9bcd75ff9aecb808d998562fad731b%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Ffortune.com%2F2023%2F02%2F01%2Fgmail-creator-predicts-ai-bots-chatgpt-will-destroy-search-engines-minimum-two-years%2F" rel="noopener">tweeted on Wednesday</a>, adding that AI will be able to "instantly do what would take many minutes for a human" to do <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/gmail-creator-google-search-faces-total-disruption-chatgpt-ai-chatbot-2023-2">using a search engine like Google</a>.</p><p>While ChatGPT isn't always accurate — its <a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/currencies/chatgpt-openai-bot-cryptocurrency-markets-ai-tokens-crypto-finance-regulation-2023-2">knowledge only goes to 2021</a> — it can analyze data from <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/gmail-creator-google-search-faces-total-disruption-chatgpt-ai-chatbot-2023-2">millions of websites</a> to try and answer whatever question it receives. Plus, it <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-chat-gpt-2023-1">gets smarter the more it's used</a>.</p><p>Rather than providing users a series of links to sift through — many of which are high up on the page simply <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-ads-search-results-design-nearly-identical-people-furious-2020-1">due to advertising spend</a> — ChatGPT provides the user with a quick answer. And if the answer is too complicated, ChatGPT can explain it in simpler terms if you ask it to. </p><p>Having quick access to information could ultimately make your job more enjoyable by freeing up time for idea generation. </p><p>"Some of the more boring parts of the job may disappear," Oxford economist Carl Benedikt Frey told Insider. "We may begin focusing more on generating the right ideas, asking the right questions, things that are more interesting."</p>

Use it as a Google alternative for research

How many times a day do you Google something at work? ChatGPT may change that.

In fact, the search-engine giant is  reportedly worried  that you'll eventually put your queries into ChatGPT instead. The company issued a "code red" in December of last year over the bot's potential threat to its search business.

"Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption," Gmail creator Paul Buchheit  tweeted a the time , adding that AI will be able to "instantly do what would take many minutes for a human" to do  using a search engine like Google .

While ChatGPT isn't always accurate, it can analyze data from  millions of websites to try and answer whatever question it receives. 

Rather than providing users a series of links to sift through — many of which are high up on the page simply  due to advertising spend  — ChatGPT provides the user with a quick answer. And if the answer is too complicated, ChatGPT can explain it in simpler terms if you ask it to. 

Having quick access to information could ultimately make your job more enjoyable by freeing up time for idea generation. 

"Some of the more boring parts of the job may disappear," Oxford economist Carl Benedikt Frey told Business Insider. "We may begin focusing more on generating the right ideas, asking the right questions, things that are more interesting."

<p>As many students with essay assignments <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/app-detects-if-chatgpt-wrote-essay-ai-plagiarism-2023-1">have already realized</a>, ChatGPT can be quite useful as a writing tool. </p><p>While some teachers are <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-essays-college-cheating-professors-caught-students-ai-plagiarism-2023-1">trying to crack down</a> on AI's use, UPenn professor Ethan Mollick recently <a href="https://www.npr.org/2023/01/26/1151499213/chatgpt-ai-education-cheating-classroom-wharton-school" rel="noopener">told NPR</a> that he's requiring his students to use ChatGPT.</p><p>He said he thinks it can help students generate ideas and <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/wharton-mba-professor-requires-students-to-use-chatgpt-ai-cheating-2023-1">improve their writing</a>, adding that the tool could help save time when writing letters and emails, as well.</p><p>"There's a lot of positives about it," Mollick said during the NPR interview. "That doesn't minimize the fact that cheating and negativity are there, but those have been there for a long time." </p><p>Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of online course provider Coursera, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/19/tech/chatgpt-future-davos/index.html" rel="noopener">told CNN</a> he uses ChatGPT to write work emails and even speeches. </p><p>"I use it as a writing assistant and as a thought partner," Maggioncalda said.</p><p>Creatives looking for inspiration for their books or songs have also asked ChatGPT to <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-new-ai-chatbot-conversation-with-questions-answers-examples-2022-12">produce some rough drafts for them</a>. </p><p>TikTok user <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@frontlineleadership" rel="noopener">@frontlineleadership</a>, who works as an executive coach, said that he even used ChatGPT to write employee evaluations and was satisfied with the outcome.</p><p>"I only had to make slight adjustments here and there," the TikToker said in a <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@frontlineleadership/video/7185196553294974254?q=chatgpt+helping+work&t=1675369391355" rel="noopener">January post.</a> "It literally saved me probably 12 hours of work."</p><p>"ChatGPT is a game changer," he said.</p>

Use it to write essays, speeches, cover letters, songs, and employee evaluations

As many students with essay assignments have already realized , ChatGPT can be quite useful as a writing tool. 

Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of online course provider Coursera, told CNN that he uses ChatGPT to write work emails and even speeches. 

"I use it as a writing assistant and as a thought partner," Maggioncalda said.

Creatives looking for inspiration for their books or songs have also asked ChatGPT to produce some rough drafts for them . 

TikTok user @frontlineleadership , who works as an executive coach, said that he even used ChatGPT to write employee evaluations and was satisfied with the outcome.

"I only had to make slight adjustments here and there," the TikToker said in a January post. "It literally saved me probably 12 hours of work."

"ChatGPT is a game changer," he said.

<p>Many roles involve various forms of data analysis, and ChatGPT can process a lot of information quickly. </p><p>"Analyzing and interpreting vast amounts of language-based data and information is a skill that you'd expect generative AI technologies to ramp up on," Madgavkar <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-jobs-at-risk-replacement-artificial-intelligence-ai-labor-trends-2023-02">told Insider</a>. </p><p>"If you're an academic, it's quite nice that you don't have to do statistical analysis by hand," Benedikt Frey said. "You can produce a lot of more stuff."</p><p>It could also help those trying to use data to make investment decisions, Muro, a senior fellow at the Brooking Institute, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-jobs-at-risk-replacement-artificial-intelligence-ai-labor-trends-2023-02#tech-jobs-coders-computer-programmers-software-engineers-data-analysts-1">previously told Insider</a>. </p><p>"AI can identify trends in the market, highlight what investments in a portfolio are doing better and worse, communicate all that, and then use various other forms of data by, say, a financial company to forecast a better investment mix," he said.</p>

Use it to analyze vast amounts of data

Many roles involve various forms of data analysis, and ChatGPT can process a lot of information quickly. 

"Analyzing and interpreting vast amounts of language-based data and information is a skill that you'd expect generative AI technologies to ramp up on," Madgavkar told Business Insider . 

"If you're an academic, it's quite nice that you don't have to do statistical analysis by hand," Benedikt Frey said. "You can produce a lot of more stuff."

Thanks to Code Interpreter, one of the chatbot's latest plug-ins, ChatGPT Plus users can now feed the AI large data sets and prompt it to identify trends.

It could use that analytical capability to help make data-based investment decisions, Muro previously told Business Insider . 

"AI can identify trends in the market, highlight what investments in a portfolio are doing better and worse, communicate all that, and then use various other forms of data by, say, a financial company to forecast a better investment mix," he said.

<p>Getting your busy work schedule organized may be time consuming — but ChatGPT and other forms of AI can help make the process go a little bit smoother. </p><p>Economists at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) <a href="https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/646aad77-en.pdf?accname=guest&checksum=2FCDD1D31FE352B316D51A531382ADA2&expires=1675441970&id=id" rel="noopener">conducted a study in 2022</a> on the skills that AI can replicate and found that AI tools can handle scheduling and task prioritization — in many cases, even "better than humans." </p><p>"Scheduling work and activities seems a perfect AI problem," <a href="https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/646aad77-en.pdf?accname=guest&checksum=2FCDD1D31FE352B316D51A531382ADA2&expires=1675441970&id=id" rel="noopener">the study said</a>. </p><p>Some users have tried this out with promising results. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/@MicahJohns" rel="noopener">Micah</a>, a Youtuber that makes videos exploring AI, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M7occIAiEA" rel="noopener">posted a video</a> demonstrating how he used ChatGPT to automate his work scheduling.</p><p>After he asked ChatGPT to create a daily work schedule that includes tasks like finishing a performance report and scheduling a meeting with his boss, the chatbot was able to spit out an hour-by-hour breakdown of a potential schedule in a matter of seconds.</p><p>He then asked ChatGPT to reprioritize certain tasks, but ChatGPT suggested that "it may not be feasible" to do so given his time constraints. </p><p>"This is one of the underrated things ChatGPT can do," Micah said. </p>

Use it for scheduling tasks, planning, and time management

Getting your busy work schedule organized may be time consuming — but ChatGPT and other forms of AI can make the process a little bit easier.

Economists at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conducted a study in 2022 on the skills that AI can replicate, and found that AI tools can handle scheduling and task prioritization — in many cases, even "better than humans." 

"Scheduling work and activities seems a perfect AI problem," the study said . 

Some users have tried this out with promising results. Micah , a YouTuber who makes videos exploring AI, posted a video demonstrating how he used ChatGPT to automate his work scheduling.

After he asked ChatGPT to create a daily work schedule that includes tasks like finishing a performance report and scheduling a meeting with his boss, the chatbot was able to spit out an hour-by-hour breakdown of a potential schedule in a matter of seconds.

"This is one of the underrated things ChatGPT can do," Micah said. 

<p>If you're a current or aspiring entrepreneur, ChatGPT may be able to help you think through the process of starting a business. </p><p>Insider's Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chagpt-cant-start-a-business-for-you-startup-steps-2023-1">asked the chat bot a variety of questions</a> and found it to be a useful tool for generating ideas, estimating startup costs, and outlining a business plan. </p><p>Coursera's Maggioncalda <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/chatgpt-chatbot-artificial-intelligence-job-replacement/" rel="noopener">told CBS MoneyWatch</a> he uses ChatGPT to think through business challenges and strategies. </p><p>"I ask ChatGPT to become aware of where my biases and blind spots might be," he said. "And the answers it gives are a really, really good starting point to check your thinking."</p><p>Even <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-amazon-employees-use-ai-chatbot-software-coding-customer-questions-2023-1">Amazon employees who tested ChatGPT</a> said it does a "very good job" of answering customer support questions and is "very strong" at answering queries around corporate strategy. </p>

Use it as a second opinion around business, strategy, and customer decisions

If you're a current or aspiring entrepreneur, ChatGPT may be able to help you think through the process of starting a business. 

Business Insider's Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins asked the chat bot a variety of questions and found it to be a useful tool for generating ideas, estimating startup costs, and outlining a business plan. 

Jacqueline DeStefano-Tangorra, the founder of boutique consultancy Omni Business Intelligence Solutions, told Business Insider that the AI chatbot reduced the amount of time she spent on marketing and research , which she said freed up time to pitch new clients. 

Coursera's Maggioncalda told CBS MoneyWatch he used ChatGPT to think through business challenges and strategies. 

"I ask ChatGPT to become aware of where my biases and blind spots might be," he said. "And the answers it gives are a really, really good starting point to check your thinking."

Even Amazon employees who tested ChatGPT said it does a "very good job" of answering customer support questions and is "very strong" at answering queries around corporate strategy. 

<p><strong>Rating: </strong>4.6 </p><p><strong>Industry: </strong>Architectural & engineering </p><p><strong>Employee reviews on Glassdoor:</strong> "Good work-life balance. Great growth possibilities. Super benefits," — engineer.</p>

Turn it into a coding assistant

Oded Netzer, a Columbia Business School professor, said AI will help coders rather than replace them. 

"In terms of jobs, I think it's primarily an enhancer than full replacement of jobs," Netzer told CBS MoneyWatch . "Coding and programming is a good example of that. It actually can write code quite well."

Specifically, ChatGPT is capable of quickly generating lines of code to resolve certain coding problems. One TikTok user, @asap_blockie, asked ChatGPT to identify the error in some code he was working on as part of his job, he said in a December 2022 video .

"It spat out what was wrong with my code," he said. "And then I copied that and pasted it in, and then it worked." 

In fact, ChatGPT Plus users can now use the Code Interpreter plug-in so the chatbot can identify its own coding mistakes and fix them.

But coders should proceed with caution when receiving help from an AI, as some users have found that ChatGPT incorrectly answers coding problems.  

<p>Finally, if you're not happy at your job, ChatGPT may be able to offer some support. People are using it to <a href="https://digiday.com/marketing/what-we-know-about-how-workers-are-using-chatgpt-so-far/" rel="noopener">craft their resumes</a> and <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-job-applications-hiring-managers-job-interview-candidate-2022-12">cover letters</a> as they undergo their job searches. </p><p>"It will make you a cover letter so you don't have to waste your time anymore," Jonathan Javier, CEO of the career consulting company Consulting, said in a <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@wonsulting/video/7186358673390832939" rel="noopener">January TikTok video</a>. </p><p>If you're fairly happy at work but feel like you're underpaid, ChatGPT might even be able to <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-how-to-negotiate-a-raise-job-advice-experts-approved-2023-1">help you get a raise</a>. Insider's Sarah Jackson asked ChatGPT for advice to help her prepare for a theoretical salary negotiation, and two career coaches told her she'd <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/chatgpt-how-to-negotiate-a-raise-job-advice-experts-approved-2023-1">probably be able to get a raise</a> if she followed the AI's script. </p>

Use it to apply for a new job or to negotiate a raise

Finally, if you're not happy at your job, ChatGPT may be able to offer some support. People are using it to craft their resumes and cover letters as they undergo their job searches. 

"It will make you a cover letter so you don't have to waste your time anymore," Jonathan Javier, CEO of the career consulting company Consulting, said in a January TikTok video . 

If you're fairly happy at work but feel like you're underpaid, ChatGPT might even be able to help you get a raise .

Insider's Sarah Jackson asked ChatGPT for advice to help her prepare for a theoretical salary negotiation, and two career coaches told her she'd probably be able to get a raise if she followed the AI's script. 

Story was originally published in February 2023.

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How-To Geek

Does being nice to chatgpt make it work better we tested it out..

Would you kindly?

Quick Links

How we tested, let the prompting commence, did being polite help, there's no downside to being polite, key takeaways.

  • Being polite to ChatGPT may improve response quality, reflecting behavior seen in human interactions.
  • Responses varied when prompts were polite vs. neutral, showing format and tone differences.
  • While politeness didn't significantly affect reply substance, it's potentialy beneficial for maintaining positive interactions between humans.

ChatGPT is just a piece of software running on a machine, so you might not think how you treat it matters. Still, could the magic words like "please" and "thank you" make a difference to how well ChatGPT works? Let's find out!

This is going to be a simple test where we'll give ChatGPT a series of prompts and then judge the quality of the responses. Of course, there's a lot of subjectivity when it comes to the quality of a response, but you can judge for yourself based on the text we get back, or by putting these prompts into ChatGPT yourself.

There are some limitations at play here to keep in mind:

  • Randomness plays a part, since ChatGPT won't give exactly the same answer twice. Which means you will get different results if you regenerate the answer.
  • We don't have the capacity to do this scientifically with independent raters, hundreds of tests, and sophisticated data analysis. Think of this as the start of an interesting question.

Speaking of question, why do we want to test this in the first place? Part of it was the numerous forms of prompt engineering we've seen, and the other part was this tweet, where people discover that by offering ChatGPT a "tip", you can get better results from it.

A Tweet censored for strong language that reads so a couple days ago i made a post about tipping chatgpt, and someone replied

Instead of pretending to offer money to an AI that doesn't need it, we're going to look at being nice versus being neutral. Also, response length isn't the only thing we care about, but also the subjective quality of the response. I'll be using GPT-4, which is the more advanced version currently available to the public through ChatGPT Plus .

For each type of prompt, there will be a polite and neutral version. We'll test five pairs of prompts and see if the results are actually any different.

Prompt: Would you be so kind as to provide me with the latest developments in quantum computing?

Prompt: What are the latest developments in quantum computing?

Immediately, what I noticed here, is that with the more polite request, ChatGPT went to more "effort" to format the answer neatly, break it into sections, and use bold text. With the neutral prompt, it just dumped a few paragraphs and called it a day.

Prompt: Could you please explain how blockchain technology works in simple terms?

Prompt: Explain how blockchain technology works in simple terms.

Screenshot 2024-01-08 at 17.42.23

Here it again gives better-formatted output when asked nicely, and on top of that, it's tone when speaking to me is nicer, too.

Prompt: I'd appreciate it if you could list the major differences between Python and JavaScript.

An excerpt from an answer given by ChatGPT to a Polite question about JavaScript And Python

Prompt: List the major differences between Python and JavaScript.

An excerpt from an answer given by ChatGPT to a Neutral question about JavaScript And Python

This time, both answers are basically the same; it just responded in a more friendly tone when asked politely.

Prompt: Would you mind sharing the pros and cons of electric cars versus gasoline cars?

An excerpt from a response by ChatGPT to a polite question about electric and gasoline cars

Prompt: What are the pros and cons of electric cars versus gasoline cars?

An excerpt from a response by ChatGPT to a neutral question about electric and gasoline cars

The same thing happens as before, the content is pretty much the same in tone, format, and facts, but I just get a nice little greeting when being more polite.

Prompt: Could you kindly enlighten me on the latest trends in artificial intelligence?

An excerpt from a response by ChatGPT to a polite question about AI trends

Prompt: What are the latest trends in artificial intelligence?

An excerpt from a response by ChatGPT to a neutral question about AI trends

With this final prompt, again the responses are pretty much the same overall.

In almost every instance with these five pairs of prompts, I feel that ChatGPT gave a marginally better quality response to my request when it was more polite, but that it really made no substantive difference.

This is, of course, not conclusive, and it may only reflect the random element in how LLMs work. However, it also suggests that a small change in a prompt that asks essentially the same thing could have some effect on the result.

Certainly, given how LLMs are trained, and the data used, it might reflect that asking for something nicely usually gets better results from humans, and that association might exist within the training data for LLMs.

It could also be that using words or phrases like "please," "kindly," or "I would appreciate" are indicators to the algorithm of what kind of tone you want, though far less subtle than outright telling it to be polite and cheerful in its response.

You can, of course, try this yourself, and see if you get better help from your LLM if you throw in a few please and thank yous.

While it may be debatable that being more polite towards an LLM like ChatGPT will improve its performance, there's another angle to this you may not have thought of.

As a rule, I try to be as polite to ChatGPT as I would to another human being. Not because I think I could hurt its nonexistent feeling, but simply because I don't want to be in a negative mindset.

I don't want to get out of the habit of being polite, and working with AI like these every day might have the effect of dehumanizing us as users of technology. Being polite costs nothing, and being cold, rude, or even mean to a chatbot certainly does something to your state of mind and nothing to the unfeeling machine target of your ire.

And hey, on the chance that one day the machines do eventually retain "memories" of our interactions with them, and it directly influences our experience, it certainly doesn't hurt to start a habit of being polite to them now.

IMAGES

  1. How to use Chat GPT to write an essay or article

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  2. How To Use Chat Gpt To Write An Essay With Ease

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  5. How to Make ChatGPT Write an Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

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  6. Chat GPT Writes Original Essays with Prompting

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VIDEO

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COMMENTS

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  6. How to write better ChatGPT prompts in 5 steps

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  13. How to Use ChatGPT for Research and Essays

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  14. The Rise of ChatGPT Can Make Student Writing Better

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  16. 17 Tips to Take Your ChatGPT Prompts to the Next Level

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    Give incremental instructions to see the working and adapt accordingly. In an ideal world, your prompt is 80% context and 20% instruction. You're trying to give more than enough information to ...

  22. How to use GPT-4 in ChatGPT: Prompts, tips, and tricks

    How to find and use GPT-4 in ChatGPT . First, using Chat GPT-4 from OpenAI requires a ChatGPT Plus subscription. If you use the free program, you are limited to GPT-3.5.

  23. How to Write an Introduction Using ChatGPT

    Develop an introduction outline Summarize text Paraphrase text Provide feedback Note Universities and other institutions are still developing their stances on how ChatGPT and similar tools may be used. Always follow your institution's guidelines over any suggestions you read online.

  24. How ChatGPT can help you write your essay

    Getting a draft. This part of the process gets pretty hairy. Most people tend to jump right to this point and call it a day. They'll use ChatGPT to generate the whole essay, print it out, and ...

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    ChatGPT is called a generative AI because it generates these responses on its own. But it can also display more overtly creative output like screenplays, poetry, jokes and student essays.

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    Attempt 2: "Write a 8 chapter outline". "Write chapter 1 of the outline", "Write chapter 2 of the outline", etc. The problem here is that ChatGPT memory seems to be pretty terrible by the time it's at Chapter 4 or 5, it's usually wildly diverged from the outline, even if you say remember the outline.

  27. Top 7 tricks for crafting effective ChatGPT prompts

    6. Approach ChatGPT as if you're asking a person for help. Think of using ChatGPT as if you're simply chatting with a friend or colleague. Write your prompts in conversational English rather than trying to keep your language formal. Keep your language straightforward and natural, and don't hesitate to guide ChatGPT for better responses.

  28. 7 ways to use ChatGPT at work to make your job easier

    Use it to write essays, speeches, cover letters, songs, and employee evaluations As many students with essay assignments have already realized , ChatGPT can be quite useful as a writing tool.

  29. Does Being Nice to ChatGPT Make it Work Better? We Tested It Out

    Being Polite Is Better for You . While it may be debatable that being more polite towards an LLM like ChatGPT will improve its performance, there's another angle to this you may not have thought of. As a rule, I try to be as polite to ChatGPT as I would to another human being.