1. neags23
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    neags23 New Member

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    Complete Lack of Grammar Here?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by neags23, Jul 24, 2009.

    Okay, so I'm a new guy here. I haven't read a majority of what's in the review room. I haven't even read five percent of what's in the review room. But I've read a small smattering, and every single piece I've read has almost no regard for anything resembling proper grammar.

    I can appreciate the desire to rush through a rough draft for others to see what you've got. But these aren't just "Oops, I've got a "your" when it should be a you're" kind of mistakes. These are blatant misspellings, run-on sentences, lack of punctuation, etc.

    Can anyone who has been around awhile tell me... well, tell me what's up with that?

    I'm no grammar guru, myself, but I know when to use their, they're and there. I also know how to hit the spell check button.

    Are writers just so eager to throw something down on a page and up on the board that they don't care what their grammar is like, or do they just not know any better?
     
  2. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's a little thing called 'not everyone here is English.' Anyone who consistently makes criticisms of another person here solely for their lack of grammar will not deserve my assistance, and I won't ask for their useless input, either.

    Although, granted, even those who are English sometimes don't bother making the effort. They use Americanisms, a lack of full stops, and other things that would ruin them if they attempted to get the work published. Americans use 'British English' (whatever the hell that is ;)) if they want to make their work more dramatic, and there is also a lack of periods.

    But you're not really meant to look at that. The work posted here is often just the first draft of something, with only a small amount of editing. Thus, you cannot take what you see as the height of a person's writing capability, especially if they are, like me, not a native-speaker of English.

    And just a joke for the sake of irony:

    If there's no ommission or no writing technique designed to create suspense employed there, then that elipse should not have been included :D
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It is a real problem. Part of it is, as you say, people in such a hurry to post their writing that they don't take the time to proofread.

    But a lot more seems to be a general feeling that SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar) is unimportant, or that it can be fixed later, possibly by someone else.

    Of course, spellcheck programs won't pick up usage errors like there/their/they're. But we aren't talking about a few slipups in an otherwise clean excerpt, we're talking egregious verbicide.

    We do have a lot of very young members (early teens), who probably need patience and practice. Also, we get a number of writers for whom English is not their first language, so they, too, need to be guided patiently.

    But what annoys me is when someone comes right out, and says, "Hey, I though this together in an hour and a couple beers, tell me waht u think. I kno the grammar sux, but any feedback is welcomed! :D:D"

    If you are asking people to take the time to carefully read your writing and critique it, the least you can do is to make a sincere effort to make your draft as presentable as you can manage. Don't ask people to ignore laziness, or to fix the things you should have found first by yourself.

    Take some pride in your work!

    EDIT: Gallowglass, there is only one M in omission. :D
     
  4. neags23
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    neags23 New Member

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    :D I thought someone might say something about that. Fortunately for me, it's more my form of conversational typing and not a piece of writing I'm working on.

    I just see it as a type of pause. So in that sense, maybe it is designed to create suspense. :p
     
  5. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Considering I usually spell it amaison, I don't think I did that badly ;)
     
  6. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I honestly think no one should use text-talk unless they're IM'ing or actually texting. Using it in a story, poem, etc, (with the exception of Lauren Myracle's TTFN, L8R, G8R and TTYL books) doesn't read well.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It is an unfortunately constant issue. It has been addressed in many ways, both soft shoe and at the crack of the whip. For reasons that are difficult to understand, more and more, there is a divide between what people consider "proper" English and "everyday" English. As that divide stretches to a chasm it becomes that much more difficult for people to bridge.
     
  8. Lalis
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    Lalis New Member

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    I disagree. Not everyone here is a native English speaker, OK. And nobody is demanding perfect grammar, flawless spelling or punctuation. But it's perfectly reasonable to expect proper grammar, basic vocabulary and minimum punctuation.

    I was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, and I still live here. My native language is Portuguese, which does not resemble English in any way. And yet I use the spell check, I ask my mom (a former English teacher), I do everything in my power to write in the best English possible. Grammar-wise especially.

    I'm just saying that people should learn a bit about proper writing before they actually post something. There are countless threads here that can help them in that =D
     
  9. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    I'm a straight stickler for at least moderate spelling and grammar, and I'm of the opinion that no one should ever use text-talk--even when texting.

    I mean, I realize that I have my little mistakes. For a while I purposefully left the apostrophe off of Im, I've used British spellings of honour, humour, colour, and the like, and recently I've started putting punctuation on the outside of quotations "like this".

    Bad grammar and language always annoys me, and while I know there are a lot of teenagers here, and some of it is just honest mistakes, I cannot STAND seeing u and any1 and the rest of that horrible ilk. I hate it hate it hate it.

    I'm sure I had a point somewhere, but I forgot it.
     
  10. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you may have just stumbled upon a bunch of problematic pieces. The blatant SPaG are almost always found in pieces done by very young writers; but a lot of the pieces, especially those in the Novels section, aren't at all what you're describing.

    ---

    Also, to the person above who mentioned chat-speak such as "u" and "any1", I don't think you'll find members using that here. Some of us do use the occasional "lol", but that's about it.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    We strongly discourage the use of netspeak here. It is, after all, a writing forum. We're a bit more permissive when it appears in moderation in casual threads, but the site rules state:
     
  12. A2theDre
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    A2theDre Active Member

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    Yeah, it irks me too. But I'll figure out if there's a lack of grammar in the piece within the first couple of paragraphs and if it's too hard to read, then I won't continue. That being said, I haven't noticed a great deal of poor grammar here. Perhaps you were just unlucky and came across a few problematic ones?
     
  13. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I'll only ever use "any1", "u", etc when I'm in a hurry on any board. If I just ducked onto the computer quickly before leaving home, then yeah, I'll type short little things. But punctuation and spelling and grammar are important. My friends always call me the Spelling Nazi. xD
     
  14. Eutheria
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    Eutheria Member

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    Linguistically speaking literary English and spoken English are divergent. If one compares literary Welsh and spoken Welsh one would find a similar divergence. The existence of such differences is due to prescriptive grammarians trying to enforce what they consider a proper form. Away from such enforcement average people revert to their way of speaking. Over time the preservation of one and the natural drift and evolution of the other create an ever widening rift. Spoken forms have neither spelling nor punctuation, not counting prosodic cues. Thus, people more skilled with a spoken dialect than the literary one are often out of their depths when it comes to such rules. Having been taken out of grammar classes at an early age, I know it takes great practice to learn and apply the differences.
     
  15. shawsend
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    shawsend Active Member

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    My goodness. I'm surprised at this. I've been reading stories in here, one in particular I read yesterday I thought, "man, that is really poor grammar and spelling," but I didn't say anything since I'm new in here. Still though this is a writing forum for heavens sake! Shouldn't we stress good grammar and punctuation? Wouldn't that help the writer become aware of the problem and hopefully compel them to try harder? In the example above, would not a constructive criticism like, "you have some problems with grammar and spelling that you should work on" had been helpful?
     
  16. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    I am a member of a psychology forum and we occasionally get people who obsessively use "netspeak".

    As much as I'd like to help people, it's too difficult to help someone who isn't even speaking the same language.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. But some who post here seem to operate under the assumption that cleaning up spelling, punctuation, and grammar (SPaG) isn't important except in the final draft.

    I find it hard to wrap my head around that position. It's hard to look past sloppy SPaG and concentrate on the story. Also, it alters the meaning. Sure, you can usually make a good guess at what the author really meant, but not always.

    Besides, subsequent drafts should be focused on organic problemns with the story rather than stupid mechanical slip ups. There will be spelling errors and typos anyway, but you shouldn't have to focus on SPaG during revision.

    And frankly, I'd be embarrassed to put up something for critique that wasn't reasonably cleansed of SPaG mistakes. A few will sneak through anyway, and those are embarassing enough!
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'd have to sit on my hands to not reply sardonically.
     
  19. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I tend to get frustrated when the SPaG is poor. Sometimes I'm not sure if the author is really that rusty or just lazy. I might just point out a few examples and move on. If it's exceptionally bad, I won't finish reading the piece or reviewing it, and I will tell them why.

    I often provide links to guides that address specific issues in the piece, like Cogito's Mechanics of Dialogue, when explaining every error would be far too tedious.

    You shouldn't hesitate to point out serious flaws that jump out at you or ruin your enjoyment of a piece. You'll find that many reviewers do comment on SPaG a lot.

    We're here to help each other improve, not to stroke egos. The only major guideline is to keep your criticism impersonal. That is, critique the writing, not the writer.
    I always ignore this. If they can't be arsed to speak intelligently, I won't bother to respond.
     
  20. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Yep. I've been on enough forums that were "help me" type forums where people do this. Normally I wouldn't respond to someone like this, because if their internal speech is that poor, no evolution of the mental standing can ever be achieved. They lack the internal language or the understanding of speech to help themselves, let alone listen to anyone else.

    Generally to me those people are, like Rum said in another thread, wasting my oxygen!

    Spelling errors I can forgive. But, grammar rules in general are there for clarification of context. A misplaced comma can change the entire dynamic of a sentence and thus it's meaning. An omitted punctuation can change the entire meaning of a paragraph. The lack of clear thought processes in written language shows the lack of clear thought within the writer. Without clear thought how are we to express our ideas to others and have them understand?

    I think all people posting here should do their best to spell check and grammar check, not just with the word processors capacities, but to re-read their piece many times before posting it up. It is common courtesy we should give to those who will be reading our work. While it is normal in a first draft with only limited editing done to have some SpaG issues that we just didn't catch ourselves, to have an entire piece just void of all effort doesn't deserve to be critiqued, because of the inconsideration of the writer for the reader.

    I don't bother to waste my time on pieces that are obviously not checked over. If I see blatant problems right off the bat in the first paragraph, I won't read the story.
     
  21. Ansky
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    Ansky Member

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    This is well said, and I think the two bolded lines are especially true. I'll critique things with a lot of grammatical errors sometimes, but I find that the grammar and spelling issues concern and distract me so much that I can't follow the actual story most of the time.

    Also, I don't understand when people don't insert paragraphs. I mean, I can understand making a mistake since it doesn't automatically format when people insert their work from Word or wherever they typed it, but don't they see that right away when they post it? You'd figure they'd edit the post to fix that right away. I'll almost never review something that doesn't have paragraphs inserted because I don't want to spend five minutes figuring out where the paragraphs should be and pressing enter to insert the, so that I can follow.
     
  22. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    And I thought I was harsh...

    Also, as an example, the difference between "since" and "sense". I actually found myself using the wrong one once and I was appalled. It was a completely honest mistake because I was so into what I was typing.

    I probably honestly though just before I wrote it "Geez I hate it when people use 'since' instead 'sense' or vice versa" and of course my brain grabbed the first one and it happened to be the wrong one at the time.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i heartily agree with both cog's and lalis' posts!

    i hope all will listen up and take all they've said seriously, as everyone here should be taking writing seriously, if they hope to be professional writers some day...
     
  24. ChimmyBear
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    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well said mamma.

    Personally, I believe good writing is important for professional writing or not. We live in a world where being able to speak and write with clarity are important. You wouldn't believe the people I work with who can't write out a simple order intelligibly. It's frustrating when I have to call them over and ask them to explain what they were trying to convey to the office staff.

    This forum is a good place to work on your skills by becoming aware of your SP&G. I am ever learning. ;)
     
  25. Aidura
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    Aidura Member

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    I wonder if the people who actually do those kinds of things frequently without so much of a pause, would actually read this thread? Maybe it should be 'stickied' or whatever it is the mods do to grab members' attention? I completely agree that they shouldn't rely on word processors. I've cursed mine a long time ago.

    But I do realise (speaking from experience here) that some writers tend to gloss over their errors even if they've reread it millions of times. This is because their minds are already 'sure' of what they've wrote therefore the errors can't be processed.

    Am I making sense?
     

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