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Old 08-28-2010, 09:49 PM
 
Location: West Kendall
4,741 posts, read 4,596,112 times
Reputation: 1090
Default I don't want to be insulted anymore

Is there anything I could do to improve my grammar and sentence structure? I've been reading and writing like crazy for the past 4 years, and yet, I still get offensive remarks from people (even my family) who think I suck at writing - I know they have all the right to do so.

Sometimes, I feel so insecure that I just want to stop everything altogether.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:42 PM
 
Location: PNW
674 posts, read 1,114,345 times
Reputation: 591
Quote:
Originally Posted by WINTERFRONT View Post
I know they have all the right to do so.

No one has the right to insult you. It's helpful to have others critique your writing, but many people don't understand the difference between a critique and a criticism.

Are you in school? Most universities have a writing lab with tutors to help you in the writing process.

If you're not in school, you might ask a trusted friend/relative to help you identify and quantify your weak areas. You might also contact a local university with an Linguistics or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program. Many times these students are required to have a certain number of teaching hours to graduate from their program, and will tutor for a minimal fee (or for free in some cases). Even if you're a native English speaker, they can help you analyze your language and writing without being judgmental.

The last thing I would say is that every region has their own 'dialect,' and some are closer to Standard American English than others. Your dialect may have significant differences, but that doesn't mean your English is 'bad.' It just means it's different from the standard. Don't beat yourself up. Take a step back and realize that all you're trying to do find someone who understands how to get you closer to the standard that is required for business and professional/academic writing.

(You're welcome to DM me with a writing sample if you'd like. I'd be happy to offer you any suggestions.)
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Ogden, Utah
165 posts, read 211,462 times
Reputation: 284
For the record, if you write like your post, there isn't a whole lot to criticize except a couple minor punctuation slips. Grammar and structure are fine in that tiny sample.

You may have to consider the source of the criticism. (the pot and kettle thing)
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
11,404 posts, read 25,473,950 times
Reputation: 13833
There are computerized grammar checkers. You could use one of those to give some guidance. I've found that slavishly following them results in a rather boring standard structure, boring precisely because it is technically correct.

A better way might be to find someone you trust who can take the role of editor. An outside view can be helpful. FWIW, when I write anything more serious than forum posts, it can take a month of my re-reading and editing before I am satisfied with what I've written, and then I let DW rip into it for further correction. Just like professional photographers differentiate between snapshots and an artistic work that has taken time and effort, writers hold their reviewed and edited labors more highly than a first draft.

You might also want to clarify the definition of insulting. A correction can be a correction that sounds insulting, but an insult is a correction or other comment that is intentionally demeaning. Keep a spray bottle of water handy for people who are giving intentional insults. Spray them in the face each time they get rude. It works with my cat.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:10 AM
 
8,681 posts, read 7,293,541 times
Reputation: 14924
Quote:
Originally Posted by WINTERFRONT View Post
Is there anything I could do to improve my grammar and sentence structure? I've been reading and writing like crazy for the past 4 years, and yet, I still get offensive remarks from people (even my family) who think I suck at writing - I know they have all the right to do so.

Sometimes, I feel so insecure that I just want to stop everything altogether.
It's best not to let family and friends critique your work. Join a local writer's group or take a class at your local community college, instead. Your work will undergo peer review, not casual criticism.
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:51 PM
 
4,948 posts, read 4,712,116 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Keep a spray bottle of water handy for people who are giving intentional insults. Spray them in the face each time they get rude. It works with my cat.
OMG--so funny. Better yet, add some vinegar to it. Just an all around great suggestion for generally irritating and obnoxious people--but not my pets!
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Old 08-29-2010, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Colorado
4,259 posts, read 6,999,440 times
Reputation: 4119
Quote:
Originally Posted by WINTERFRONT View Post
Is there anything I could do to improve my grammar and sentence structure? I've been reading and writing like crazy for the past 4 years, and yet, I still get offensive remarks from people (even my family) who think I suck at writing - I know they have all the right to do so.

Sometimes, I feel so insecure that I just want to stop everything altogether.
This sounds to me more like jealousy than so-called constructive criticism. If you believe in yourself enough to even start writing, let alone perservere all these years despite the snotty comments you're getting, I think you're doing just fine. If you want feedback on your writing, ask someone completely unbiased like a local writing class or group.

Your spelling and grammar don't have to be perfect every time you write. That's why publishers use editors and copy-editors and proofreaders .
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:06 PM
 
Location: West Kendall
4,741 posts, read 4,596,112 times
Reputation: 1090
Thank you guys

This is the website of my local writer's group:

SOUTH FLORIDA WRITERS ASSOCIATION - Home

I think you have to be an author, with some kind of work in progress, to join such association. Right now I have no aspirations to become an author, but I'll contact them anyways.

@ Figmalt

I'm definitely going to send you any writing or question I might struggle with. Thanks in advanced.
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:52 AM
 
26,981 posts, read 20,118,624 times
Reputation: 24231
Quote:
Originally Posted by WINTERFRONT View Post
Is there anything I could do to improve my grammar and sentence structure? I've been reading and writing like crazy for the past 4 years, and yet, I still get offensive remarks from people (even my family) who think I suck at writing - I know they have all the right to do so.

Sometimes, I feel so insecure that I just want to stop everything altogether.
As Rocky said, I don't see too much here that would make anyone say you "suck".

We can all forever and always work on improving our writing skills. That's something positive you can do, by taking workshops (the kind where the criticism is constructive) or by buying or taking out from the library one of the hundreds of books written to help people improve their writing.

What else you can do is stop showing your writing to negative, toxic people in your life. Hoping that THIS time they will say something positive is kind of like being one of those windup toys that walks to the wall and gets stuck there. You have to turn away to get anywhere.

I had a "friend", herself a decent writer, to whom I would show some of my work sometimes. She never actually addressed what I wrote or the actual writing. Instead, she would say, "Why are you writing about that? Why don't you write something about XYZ, or write like Person A or Person B does?"

It took me a while, but I finally figured out she was not really making suggestions--this was her way of making a putdown without me being able to actually accuse her of doing so. I just stopped discussing writing with her.

Anyway, keep writing, keep learning, and figure out who is criticizing you about things that probably have nothing to do with your writing and more about their own personal issues!
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:55 AM
 
26,981 posts, read 20,118,624 times
Reputation: 24231
Winterfront--

Read a book called Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. It's entertaining and funny and also full of a lot of good suggestions for writers. She talks about the negative voices. She envisions them as mice, and picks them up by the tails one by one and puts them into an imaginery jar. (Then she says she has a friend who shoots the mice once they're in the jar, but she thinks he's a little angry.)
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