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What is Poor Grammar?


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I've been writing English for over forty years, actually from  KG. I wrote my university exams in English and passed. I do write articles on some content sites, however, I can't understand it when someone tells me my grammar is poor. I think it's an insult especially when I write in English everyday.

Thanks

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I'm a little confused about your question? Are you asking what is poor about your grammar in particular? Or are you just wondering what is considered "poor grammar" in general?

For me, the most obvious sign of poor grammar is when the flow of a sentence is inhibited. If it takes me a few reads to understand what a sentence is trying to say or if there are unnecessary punctuation marks thrown in, I'd deem the grammar to be poor. There are a multitude of different grammatical rules that as a native English speaker, even I am unfamiliar with. If your writing is coherent and logical, as yours does appear to be, you should not have any problems.

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The English Language has so many grammatical rules that it is difficult for some of us to get it right all the time. Poor grammar overall is not being able to spell words correctly,Not using tenses correctly,not structuring sentences correctly, etc. Even when we think we have mastered the language by fluency or completing courses at tertiary level we can still make errors or be faced with uncertainty.

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I don't think your writing is bad or that you have a poor grammar, but I'm guessing some editors from those content sites you work with are really strict!  Maybe you have made a couple of mistakes when writing in English, but that doesn't qualify to me as poor grammar, actually whoever told you that didn't give you a truly objective opinion.  Most likely he made that comment based on a very subjective opinion, and was made with the mere purpose to make you doubt your own skills.

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Your grammar isn't perfect, but I wouldn't call it "poor."

I'm curious about what you wrote, exactly, that would cause someone to tell you that your grammar is poor.

From what I've seen, it looks just fine - at least so far.

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Thanks Trellum for your comment, it's encouraging.

Trellum, I agree with your statement, my grammar isn't perfect. I strongly believe the objective of writing is to communicate in simple terms for the layman to understand.

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Even a fluent English speaker can have poor grammar in the sense that conversational English is different from formal written English.

For example, I use a lot of run-on sentences. I might be put off by sentence fragments, and if I weren't aware that I use run-on sentences and that it's wrong to do so, then I might call sentence fragments poor grammar. That would be hypocrisy, but that's my feeling. I just make sure not to go with it.

I can also be inconsistent with capitalization. My favorite novelist, Terry Pratchett, uses capitalization to show that an otherwise normal noun or phrase is Very Important. I picked up on that habit, and have trouble sometimes with being consistent about capitalization.

Consistency is really the thing. Here is an article that you might find helpful about an editor's struggles with consistent language. (I also think that the insult "douche bag" should be one word by now.)

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I agree with the others, not everyone's grammar is "perfect" and we all make mistakes.

Though if I were to be asked what makes "poor grammar," I do agree that consistency is part of it. It's okay if we make mistakes once in a while, but I think it gets to be "poor" when we do it all the time to the point of not even getting to notice the mistakes.

But as for what you've just written, your grammar isn't "poor." It's actually fine for me - but I guess it all depends on the kind of output expected from you. In my case, style is also a factor as to whether or not my editors call my work "poor" or not. I've only learned quite recently that other publications follow their style seriously, and as much as someone's writing is good, if it can't follow a certain style no matter how many times you teach it, the writing can be considered "poor" - so I think context is also something to be considered.

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When I started out as a freelance writer, I was asked to write a 100-word sample by the prospective employer.  The topic was about "touch therapy" and I tried hard.  Unfortunately, the employer said that I had grammar issues and I can't really blame him.  What may be bad grammar for some persons will turn out to be good grammar for others.  It's all a matter of personal preference and subjectivity.  Sometimes, I tend to play a balancing act between good grammar and original content.  A person's grammar may be perfect but only because he actually plagiarized, and as a result he is more likely to be penalized.  On the other hand, another person's grammar may not be good but has originality in his work.  I have written a couple of articles for EzineArticles if only to improve my grammar, as well as reading up on review materials for the English language.  When people give constructive riticism, they will help you improve.  Their output will help sharpen your skills.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think when you say poor grammar it means that the sentence construction is not done correctly. It doesn't necessarily mean the spelling is wrong but it's more on how you follow the rules in building a sentence or paragraph. On top of that, the paragraph should be coherent with the use of proper punctuations. In other words, it's more on the technical side of the language.

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Your grammar is quite decent, I don't see any mistakes from what you've written so far, although the commas and punctuations could use some improvement. Anyway, for me, wrong grammar sounds so obviously wrong, like I was texting with some seller before, and she told me in English, "Sorry, I don't reserved", meaning she doesn't reserve her items and it's a first come, first serve basis.

Ever since I was a kid I always just distinguished poor English grammar from the way it sounds. Poor grammar sounds so off. But of course now that I'm an adult I know the corrects tenses and stuff like that.

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  • 1 month later...

From reading your sentences, your grammar seems fine to me. I think that grammar is only "poor" when it makes a language significantly harder to understand than it normally would be. I think massive amounts of passive input (reading and listening) can help you soak up good grammatical habits if you feel that you need to improve upon your grammar. Good luck!

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Why don't you give us an example of your alleged poor grammar. I'd be interested to know why they are telling you that since you have four decades of experience in writing. Let's have a look, if you care to share.

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I think when someone says poor grammar it means the sentence construction and the usages of words. We may think that we are good in writing and speaking the english language but we never thought about the "rules" in constructing a sentence while we're talking. Honestly, I know how to speak and write in English but I know I'm not good with grammar.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I do some writing as well and usually when an editor will make a comment like that about grammar they are referring to things like mixing up their/there/they're and stuff like that. Or even using a word like loose, when it should be lose. These are mistakes that even native English speakers make, so I wouldn't be too offended, Oh, that's another one, to/too.

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I believe grammar is perfect when the intended message is conveyed. When you use the proper syntax and follow the basic rules of sentence construction, an intended message is formed. We all tend to skip a few, but as long as the message is clear, it is all good. You must have got a review from someone who is well versed with all the proper grammar usages, and believes in using them. But I don't see no reason why yours should be classified as 'poor'.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well even a layman should be able to understand simple grammar as long as he passed middle school. Maybe they're inferring that your sentences aren't very academic in nature, instead of that your grammar is "bad".

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Well even a layman should be able to understand simple grammar as long as he passed middle school. Maybe they're inferring that your sentences aren't very academic in nature, instead of that your grammar is "bad".

I agree. I think the speaker might just have misused his or her words. There may be a few mistakes in the structure, but as long as the sentences formed are understandable, I don't think it is such a big deal. By the writing in the original post, there are probably some improvements that could be made in the structuring of the sentences and the overall expression of thoughts, but I think it is far from being poor.

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I think your grammar is fine.  I would not say a person's grammar is poor unless they made obvious mistakes in word order or tense, or some other issue that made it difficult to understand at first reading what they meant to say.  I see poor grammar a lot on Bubblews, where there are many people who are not native English speakers and are at many different levels in their English writing abilities.  Some of those people are beginners who are hard to understand, but what you have written seems perfectly clear to me.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm not sure what constitutes poor grammar in other languages but I do know of a few things that shape up bad grammar in the English Language. The main issue with poor grammar is the misspelling of words. The second most prominent issue is one that even I have difficulty with: punctuation. It's hard to tell when a comma needs to go here or if that period should be a semi-colon. There's also people using a word that sounds like it should be there but where a different word should be. For instance, here are two sentences:

1. I can't read very good.

2. I can't read very well.

Both sentences mean the same thing but the second sentence is the grammatically correct sentence.

As far as this thread though, I can't really see anything poor about your grammar.

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I've been writing English for over forty years, actually from  KG. I wrote my university exams in English and passed. I do write articles on some content sites, however, I can't understand it when someone tells me my grammar is poor. I think it's an insult especially when I write in English everyday.

Thanks

Personally, based on what you wrote above, your grammar is all right. It can be improved though like in your choice of words and use of punctuations. You could have put a full stop or a period after sites. 'However' can be changed to Hence or So and it will have to be another sentence. But your grammar is definitely not poor. Just to support your mastery of grammar, take an English proficiency test. It will somehow silence your critics. Lol!

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Grammar, from what I know, is not exactly set in stone.

Let me illustrate with a simple example. To be grammatically correct, we say 'Today I go' and 'Yesterday I went'. Why? Because this is how everybody uses the word 'go'. However, if everybody says 'Today I went' and 'Yesterday I go', then that would be the correct grammatical use of the word 'go'.

As my English teacher used to say, "It depends on the usage".

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  • 1 month later...

I don't think your writing is bad or that you have a poor grammar, but I'm guessing some editors from those content sites you work with are really strict!  Maybe you have made a couple of mistakes when writing in English, but that doesn't qualify to me as poor grammar, actually whoever told you that didn't give you a truly objective opinion.  Most likely he made that comment based on a very subjective opinion, and was made with the mere purpose to make you doubt your own skills.

I have to say I agree with Trellum in that it is probably because the content sites you write articles for might have certain standards that they want to uphold and maybe you didn't quite meet them. However that is not to say you are terrible at English, it simply means you did not meet the required standards. I wouldn't take their opinion too much to heart because if you believe in your writing skills and know you write good English and follow the grammatical rules then one or two people who disagree doesn't disqualify that!

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