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Linguaholic

What is Poor Grammar?


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Hey all.

Let's make sure we clearly separate "style" from "grammar".

A content site will usually have a general style guide that they wish followed. Part of that style will include a respect for grammar, most of it will involve such concepts as formatting, use of headers and bullet lists and the like. Style is not grammar.

Grammar is, as others have pointed out, a complex set of "rules" or "norms" which are sometimes descriptive and sometimes prescriptive. When discussing writing, those norms are usually prescriptive. This means that certain concepts such as noun/verb agreement, verb tense consistency, correct placement and use of modifiers such as adjectives and adverbs, etc, are clearly explained and to be considered "good grammar", they must be respected. When these basic concepts are not respected, then "poor grammar" can be perceived.

Spelling, by the way, is not part of grammar. Spelling is spelling. Misspelled words do not have anything to do with grammar, a sentence can be totally grammatically correct and a word can be misspelled within that sentence. That would be considered poor spelling (if it were to occur more than twice!), not poor grammar.

By the same token, one grammar flaw does not "poor grammar" make. It would take more than two flaws in grammar, and often a repetition of the same type of flaw (using and adjective instead of an adverb, for example, or blatant verb tense shifting within a block of text). A reasonable editor would not say "you have poor grammar" but rather "you seem to have some issues with this aspect of English grammar", explaining exactly what repetitive issues have been observed. Unfortunately, an editor at a content site will often have simply taken a quick quiz to "prove" he/she understands the basic things that will be problematic, such as comma use or homonym word choice mistakes (they're/their/there and the like, also not "poor grammar" but rather "poor proofreading skills"). These editors will not likely be experts in grammar, per se, but rather will have instructions as to what the content site considers correct or poor grammar.

As others have mentioned, it is not something to take personally and, hopefully, it is something that can be learned from and improved upon (if whoever is pointing out "poor grammar" is sharing what brought about such an unpleasant comment).

peace,

revel.

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  • 5 months later...

I'm sure that it does hurt sometimes when you hear that, because I know that sometimes people also told me the same thing. If you mean that people are telling you that then they just mean that you don't do punctuations well and other things like that. I'm still learning all the proper ways to use that.

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  • 1 month later...

This may sound funny but this is a true story. We have what we call English carabao where the speaker is not well versed so he commits mistakes in grammar and pronunciation. That was common in people in rural areas. One actor named Joseph capitalized on that and he pretended that he speaks real English carabao. He became popular with that gimmick until his movies were all hits. His full name is Joseph Estrada. He became the president of the Philippines in 1998 and now he is mayor Manila.

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It must hurt when someone throws that in your face, but I would brush it off if I were you. Like another poster said, English is a very tricky language, and even some native English speaker could be considered to have poor grammar. Some people actually speak a lot better than they write, too. Or even vice versa.You also have to consider that there are so many regional dialects that were some of those people to sit a proper English test, they may very well fail it. That wasn't a nice thing for that person to say. Is their English perfect?!

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  • 1 month later...
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

In my view poor grammar makes the sentence look unnatural. Poor grammar hinders the flow of the sentence. It makes it look ugly. A sentence could have amazing use of vocabulary but poor grammar makes it look like a tall, handsome man dress in the best tuxedo but with his nose on his forehead.

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Imo, the OP's grammar is fine for informal writing (forum posts, personal blogs, texting, etc), and I wouldn't call it poor because I think that's a little strong. But for something formal I would understand why it wouldn't be accepted. Personally, when I read something published or official I get a little annoyed if I see even minor grammar mistakes. That being said, there's just so much unregulated content out there today that it seems to be harder and harder to get writers with excellent grammar to fill all the writing positions.

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