1. theassassin
    Offline

    theassassin Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    the US of A

    Correcting grammar while reviewing?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by theassassin, Aug 24, 2008.

    I'm a bit confused on whether to or whether not to correct grammar on reviews. So if anyone knows, please reply.
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    if grammar is the problem most needing attention, in your opinion, by all means bring it up. Even if you see an isolated grammatical error, it may be worth mentioning - it may have slipped past the author's notice, or even be something the author has a problem with.

    Reviews should point out areas for improvement. A review that just says, "Nice work,. keep it up!" is utterly worthless.

    See the Writing Issues -> Reviewing forum for more discussions aqbout the reviewing process.
     
  3. theassassin
    Offline

    theassassin Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2008
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    the US of A
    ok, thanks, I'll keep that in mind
     
  4. Leo
    Offline

    Leo Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    But if there is an issue which is more important than the grammar, don't distract and annoy the writer by pointing out every single tiny grammar error, or they may become distracted or despondant.

    In the grand scheme of things I don't think grammar is the most important thing in creative writing. But don't ignore it.
     
  5. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Nevertheless, if the SPAG is badly flawed, it will greatly distract the reader, so yiu aren't doin g the writer any favors by waving it off.
     
  6. EagleFire
    Offline

    EagleFire New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lake Forest
    I agree. Grammar is something that definitely needs to be corrected. And it would be really helpful if, when correcting grammar, you tell the writer why it is an issue. Because if he/she doesn't know why they're doing something wrong (eg. Capitalization on say... Proper nouns) they'll just keep on repeating the error.
     
  7. Etan Isar
    Offline

    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,183
    Likes Received:
    32
    If I note something beyond a forgotten period, I try to explain. SPAG is important. If they haven't done their best to rough-finish the work, then it could be considered rude to post it. The primary responsibility is on them. So if there is a mistake, I point it out. But that doesn't mean I ignore the other aspects of the work.
     
  8. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,843
    Likes Received:
    10,017
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    For me the answer depends on degree of flaw. Some grammar mistakes are subtle and only a real nit-picker like me is going to point them out. I have no issue with this at all. Sometimes a grammar mistake is what I call an error of continuity, meaning that the exact same error crops up again and again because it is part of common phrasing. I will correct this error in a couple of key examples with an emphasis on explaining my correction. My hope here is to help the person understand the rule, not just say, “Wrong! Do it this way.”

    When a piece is just ridiculously mechanically flawed, then one of two things is happening. Either the person just couldn’t be bothered to clean it up before posting, or there are some real gaps in the person’s comprehension of grammar. It becomes easy after a while to tell the two apart. If they were just lazy, then they get no review from me. If the problem is a true lack of mastery over grammar, then I PM them and ask if they would like my help before I go to town on the review. I don’t want to smack anyone with a review that looks like a bloodbath without prior warning.
     
  9. Acglaphotis
    Offline

    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    912
    Likes Received:
    3
    I know some people frown upon it, but I usually quote the entire (or the parts where I find errors) text and then I re-read, fix them (with coloring) and then add my thoughts about the story itself at the end. It's the way I find most efficient.

    edit: woot, my hundredth post!
     
  10. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    Correcting grammar is important, especially if the person is getting ready to submit it to publishers. It just shouldn't be the focus of the review. The strengths and weaknesses of the content should be what matter.
     
  11. Palimpsest
    Offline

    Palimpsest Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    5
    I don't, because I'm not confident myself about how to stick with a certain tense, or the grammatical agreement between this or that, so I hesitate to correct somebody else on this unless it's really glaring. But, just personally, I appreciate those who correct such things just as much as any insights into the content.
     
  12. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    However, consider this scenario:

    1. You spot something that looks grammatically iffy to you
    2. You look it up in your writer's guide (every writer should have at least one such reference!)
    3a. You discover your instinct was correct, and you point it out to the writer
    4a. Both you and the writer have learned something new that will help your writing..
    or
    3b. You discover that the writer had it right.
    4b. You have learned something new that will help your writing.

    By stretching yourself past your comfort zone, you and possibly the writer win, at very little expenditure of effort. And a grammar point learned in this way sticks with you far better than one delivered as part of a bulk study session.

    Axs for writer's guides, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style is very popular and compact, although I find it more useful for style suggestions than for punctuation and grammar. I also like The Scott Foresman Handbook for Writers and The Little, Brown Handbook. Both of these are organized in a way that makes it easy to find the rule you are looking for. Finally, The Chicago Manual of Style is where I go for the most specific details, especially for less common rules for punctuation or capitalization.
     
  13. Kylie
    Offline

    Kylie Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    273
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    America
    Thank you very much for the information, Cogito. (it cleared up some questions I had) :)
     

Share This Page