Is there a difference between good writing and quality writing?
I read a lot of hubs that are covering great topics, hitting key points and written in an engaging manner, but they have many grammatical errors. Now, I may be a bit of a grammar and spelling snob, but I feel like those two elements are essential to both good writing, as well as quality writing. How do you feel about this? Can writing that isn't necessarily five stars grammar and spelling wise still be good writing?
I believe in our community. I read and comment on about 15 hubs daily. But I cannot comment and vote up on some really bad stuff I have recently seen. Just like you say - perfect on point but not even spell check. I get "not" featured often because I intend and use funny grammar -- Huck Finn style, but this onslaught worries me.
You are right to care.
I think the mechanics are very important, but grammar and spelling can be learned. Even an article that is perfect in spelling and grammar can be "not so good" in quality.
I am very grateful for a high school English teacher who wrote a comment on one one of my papers: "Girl, you can write!... Now, if you could only spell."
I am continually grateful for the encouragement of that teacher who was able to look past the technical details. It made a great difference in my life.
Though my spelling has improved a lot, I am also grateful for spell-check.
This is an interesting question you pose! Like you I read many hubs that are lacking in good grammar and spelling, which is unfortunate because often the writer's enthusiasm for the topic comes bubbling through, making me want to read on. But I can't! Bad grammar and spelling tend to hit my nausea button which in turn makes me stop reading.
When my son was at school I recall reading some of his first attempts at writing an essay. I'd comment on his work, saying things like - 'This is well written but you've got a few spelling mistakes.' Or ' This is good but don't forget to break your sentences up with commas and full stops.They're too long.'
I told him this was constructive criticism, not a parent being a pain!
I guess for me the bottom line is, if any writing contains errors it shouldn't be classed as good but thought of as flawed.
Quality writing should be exemplary in every way.
Sorry to interrupt you. You accept having patted your child telling "This is well written" or "This is good". Leave the buts. You can point out the errors. But you can not classify it as not good. Good is good even if it has some mistakes.
Those students who leave public school in the U.S. with good writing skills do so either because they have a teacher who cares about the language or parents who care enough to overcome Twitter, texting, and Facebook spewing of words.
Amen, Jaye! I will add that parents have an obligation to help their kids to KNOW what is correct (or not) and insist they speak, spell correctly and use proper grammar when speaking or writing. I was basically a nag....but my sons are glad I was!
I agree with Venkatachari..I was raised by an illiterate immigrant. I have above average punctuation and writing skills as a result of my self-discipline and ability to apply myself.
The problem today isn't education. It's self-discipline.
Oh, my little cutey K.O......You and your questions. I seriously doubt that I can answer this any more appropriately than Andrew (Chef) has. It's as though he wrote as I dictated it, word for word. Simply, he and I are on the very same wave length....page...channel....team. OK, enough.
However, while he tends to become nauseous reading poorly written work, my eyes begin to bleed profusely. Despite what this makes me appear to be, I cannot continue to read articles that are ripe with poor grammar, misspelling, lacking sentence structure, misused words in nearly every sentence.....I begin to shake and sweat and feel as though I will implode! LOL...OK, that's a bit much but it's close, very close.
I can genuinely like someone very much and enjoy chatting with them, but if they write like a 3rd grade English Class flunkie, I simply will not read their material. It is sad and painful for me.
I haven't answered your specific question, have I dear K.O.? IMHO good writing IS quality writing as quality writing is good writing. If there is a difference in someone's mind, that mind is not mine. There is good/quality writing and then there is writing that sucks. Will that be an acceptable answer, my friend?
For me, I guess it depends on how you define "quality." Is that merely based on grammar and spelling? Because if so, a lot of pieces are "quality" writing but more boring than staring at a wall. And "good" sounds like it'd be a measure of the story, or the content itself. Like, if the writing makes me want to keep reading (regardless of how the grammar is, even though I'm a snob and would probably stop if a "good" piece has too many typos), then that's "good" to me. That being said, I think for writing to be notable, or worth reading, it needs to be both a quality piece and good piece: grammatically correct and engaging.
I feel quality is some more than good writing. Good writing can be anything that is appealing to you with a good flow and which you are able to grasp quickly and very easily. In such case, some minor grammar spells or mistakes should not hinder you from continuing.
Coming to quality, I think it should be grammatically accurate and in a format type with various capsules, visuals and content. It should be original and as far as accurate.
Venkatachari M..I agree. The judgment of "good writing" vs. "quality writing" doesn't originate from a single source. The perfectionists should know that 3% is the human error margin across the board. None are perfect.
Yes, Ewent. I also agree with you and think that we should always be learning from others as knowledge is an endless ocean.
While I don't think anyone can attain the pinnacle of perfection in writing or any other endeavor, I do believe everyone should make the effort. Anyone who writes to be read by others should strive to write well.
Kathleen, with all of our hubs being moderated, I often wonder the same thing myself. How do pieces that reek of bad grades in English class be featured while others that do not aren't? Writer's should edit, edit, then edit again before hitting the publish button. To me, articles that are full of grammar and spelling errors are not indicative of good writing. Can someone call themselves a chef if they can't boil water? I think not!
Quality is non-negotiable. Having established that what kind of prose would you like to see? I see a lot of writing both there and on other sites that strikes me as prose written by people whose first language is not English.
Sentence structure needs to project a story or account forward. There is little evidence of this. Mostly I read work that misses connecting words or 'hooks', that link one sentence with the next. The thought process seems to be absent. Consider your readers. Don't think think they know what you were thinking when you set down the words.
We're partly in the entertainment, partly in the information business. Good information - aside from legal edicts or Acts of Parliament/Congress - should potentially also entertain. Likewise good entertaining writing can also inform. It's a balancing act, like conversation. Those listening to you are likely to lose interest if they have to reconstruct in their minds what it is you've told them, like a speech made by the Best Man or Father of the Bride at a wedding tends to ramble with the effects of booze. They'll laugh, they'll clap and then ask their neighbours, 'What's he on about?'
Make your mind up what you want to say, say it and - you don't get the opportunity for this in 'live entertainment' - edit it before you put it out.
OK? Roger, over and out.
I've run into a similar situation where an acquaintance of mine has some good ideas, but their editing skills are atrocious. Spelling and grammatical errors make their writing almost unreadable. So, I think it's a question of whether or not you could enjoy their style if the errors were corrected. For example, polishing up spelling and grammatical mistakes really doesn't change the writer's style. If those bumps were flattened, would it still be a smooth ride?
Personally, what I consider good writing is when you can clearly see the author's passion for the craft. And part of that is careful editing. When too many errors slip by, it starts to paint a picture that the author just doesn't care or they're incapable of doing the work.
Kathleen: I read paperbacks which have won awards for being a great writer, yet I notice spelling errors as I read them. Not many, only a few. I am still trying to improve my grammar so I can imagine how important this also is to be a good writer. There are a few other things involved such as writing properly, etc.
Quality writing includes spelling/grammar plus I imagine things like having contents and holding the interest of your readers through the entire article, novel or whatever you are writing. Plus making them interested enough in your work to come back and read other items.
I work as an SEO copywriter online. Therefore, I follow the company style guide prescribed. It's based on AP. Most content writers today are good writers in the context that they can communicate ideas.
Quality writing demands far more than being able to communicate ideas. Quality writing online in SEO means absolute terror of the word police like Copyscape and others. This, in itself, can deteriorate writing style.
I am not sure where the five stars rating comes from. If you read the poems of ee cummings, he wouldn't have agreed on your grammar and spelling. He hated capitalization. If you have read novels by Hemmingway, you know his penchant for run on sentences---a big time taboo in content writing online.
The other problem today is that everyone wants to be a writer. This only exacerbates the problem of unscrupulous publishers with less than knowledgeable editing staffs.
In one of my published novels, I made use of "grammar" as it's utilized in New England. Accents often portend grammar that might not be five stars.
I'd want to know who is rating the five stars. If it's Stephen King or a Big Five NY Publisher, then I'd not mind snobbery. Anything less appears to be elitism.
Good writing incorporates not only command of the topic (plot, if fiction, plus other aspects needed to tell a story), passion for communicating the information and being able to organize it into a readable format.
I believe that any writing--no matter how many other aspects of it are positive--misses the designation of 'good' or 'quality' writing if it is littered with grammatical and spelling mistakes, typos or any other element of carelessness that causes a distraction to the reader.
That said, a piece can be grammatically flawless and simultaneously be boring. There should be a perfect 'marriage' of form and content. But, yes--I do believe the form is critically important. One should have something worthwhile to say and also know how to do it well.
When a reader is distracted by errors, this prevents the reading from being an entirely positive event because the discriminating reader pauses in the reading to focus on the mistakes.
Any writer who really wants to become an excellent writer and produce quality work can learn the proper use of grammar...can learn to spell...can learn to proofread and correct typos...just as he or she can learn how to structure the writing and maintain consistency.
You see, good writing is more than imparting information. It is imparting information by writing so well that the reader thoroughly enjoys every moment of the experience of reading it. Until a writer masters appropriate use of language, that experience will be flawed...as least, it will be for a discriminating reader. It is also my belief that a non-discriminating reader (one who cannot identify good writing) cannot be a good writer without improving his or her ability to recognize good writing as either a reader or writer.
If one does not think writing deserves the time and effort required to improve it to the level of 'good' or even 'excellent', that person doesn't really want to be a writer, but merely to say, "I am a writer." There's a big difference.
There are no perfect writers! Mistakes are made and can be learned from all writers.
Yes. There are only few who can be tagged as 100% perfect. Most are only good writers and we can learn much from all these good writers. But perfection, I think, is something innate gift which is possessed by God's gift and blessings.
Perfection isn't the desired target, readability is. You can have three articles on the same theme written differently, grammar cleaned up, edited and so on and all three might be correct, but which one do you want to read? That's what's wanted.
Of course not. Grammatically-incorrect essays or stories are unreadable. But this is why becoming an editor is such a lucrative business. A lot of professional writers make errors from time to time. Writing at a laptop makes writers many times more-likely to make errors. That's why so many successful writers use typewriters or legal pads--it helps them to focus. And then they go through at least three drafts before completing a manuscript. Writing is a process and the final part is to ensure the work conforms to the correct style of English. I have read over 100 works of proper literature and I like to think am I perfect, but I make small mistakes all the time on Hubpages' essays. And, despite a good vocabulary, I often forget how to spell words for some reason. Again, I blame my use of the laptop my mistakes.
Perhaps editing is a lucrative business, but they are not all perfect. I read novels, magazines, etc. and come across spelling, and grammar, errors all of the time. Now I have reedited my Hubs and found errors I missed the first time.
You are true, The Examiner. I too agree with you that we can locate some error or other mistake even at any perfect considered work. There is always the chance to improve yourself at any point and nobody may reach 100% perfectionism.
Examiner, I agree. Editing and proofreading is the job of those who define themselves as grammar and punctuation experts. Yet, today's publishers are hiring editors and proofreaders who lack the ability to do their jobs comprehensively.
A lot of the writers here on Hubpages are writing in their second language, so there are likely to be grammatical errors. English is hard enough to learn without getting every grammatical thing right to start with.
However, I've come across a hub or three, by a hubber who stated his earnings as quite high each month - so I went for a look, thinking "what is he doing that I'm not??" - atrocious grammar (and I admit mine needs work at times), written as though it had been translated from his mother tongue through google, copied and pasted. Hundreds of comments from 'guests' - I'm guessing this gentleman had a lot of friends who had friends who needed his information on...healthy something - the writing was so bad I couldn't read it for long, let alone take in the information. The comments were as difficult. I understand that English is difficult, but there is more to it than just copying and pasting the translation! (and I still make peanuts!).
However, I've come across good writing, where there are a few errors in grammar or spelling, a missing word here or there, but it's still good writing. Particularly if one is passionate about the topic, sometimes the finer details get forgotten in the 'heat of the moment' writing.
I do have to make one final point though - Hubpages is populated by the world - not just America. So when people get picky about spelling, they need to remember that America spells it one way (for example: Favorite, Color, internalize, etc etc), and the rest of the world (well, at least those who use British spelling) spells it another - favourite, colour, internalise.
Best Answer susan beck (Steele Fields) says
Yes, in my opinion there's a major difference between good writing and quality writing. As to whether the writing can be considered good, even if it's conventionally unsound... absolutely not. A piece is either grammatically and structurally sound, or it is poor quality writing. Anyone who wishes to be taken seriously and fails to edit his or her work before publishing it, is foolish indeed. Likewise, any reader who suffers through a piece with multiple errors and still considers the writer to be credible, is an even bigger fool.
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