What is "bad writing"?

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  1. profile image0
    tonyplaysthemamboposted 12 years ago

    What is your definition of bad writing? What are some examples of bad writing you have encounter and why do you feel these writing deserves to be defined as bad? Is there any particular technique or way of writing that you think writers should avoid? At what point is writing beyond the help of constructive criticism?

    1. couturepopcafe profile image59
      couturepopcafeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Anything with lots of errors in grammer, sentence structure and spelling unless this is intended as part of the speech pattern of a character.  Even then, the author needs to be careful not to overdo it. 
      Also stay away from cliches unless the story line really calls for it.

      1. Jeff Berndt profile image73
        Jeff Berndtposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        It's "grammar." smile

    2. Jyoti Patil profile image60
      Jyoti Patilposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Well, for me it would be wrong English. Any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes is such a NO NO. Bad is a very negative word. I believe such hubs should be called abonimable.

    3. KarenCreftor profile image87
      KarenCreftorposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      For me I can forgive a bit of bad grammar, spellings and punctuation as long as the piece is understandable and interesting. Obviously the better the work is technically the easier it is to understand but there is a difference between technical skill and creativity/talent.

      There are many with perfect english who are very bad at writing~ they use over the top, complicated and obscure words to try and prove their own intelligence rather than because those words are best suited to the point they are trying to make. Then there are those who aren't great at English but have wonderful things to say.

      Obviously if the technical skill is very bad it makes it harder to understand, so at least some skill is required. But I believe some people can be a bit hard on others and don't give them a chance to make their point and hence miss out on a potentially interesting, useful or entertaining piece.

      I think writing should be 'user friendly' and aware of the audience. Do you want to write something that only those with Masters Degrees in English (or those good at codebreaking) would understand or that almost everyone could?

      I know my English isn't perfect but I'm working on it and hope that my readers forgive me the odd spelling mistake or misuse of a comma because they enjoy what I have to say.

      ~Kaz x

      1. couturepopcafe profile image59
        couturepopcafeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Points are all well taken, but if I were writing to an audience of English PhDs, I might need that over the top vocabulary.  IMO, there's a place for all voices.  The challenge for any writer is to make sure you express that voice in the way in which you want the reader to hear it.

    4. Skiffer profile image60
      Skifferposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Hmm... I do believe I spent an entire semester discussing the attributes of "Bad Writing" - for me it doesn't come down to bad grammar ( think of character development - how do you depict a Brooklyn Mobster from an East Side Socialite in your story.  To me "Bad Writing" is something I cannot connect with.  It's Subjective.  The over the top vocabulary may be needed in a piece of technical writing I need to present in a company wide forum on Cross Boarder Customs and Logistics.  Knowing my audience - keeps the "bad writing" away from an unintentional readers - who would then label me as a "bad writer."  Make sense?

    5. profile image0
      Old Empresarioposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      It is obvious when a writer does not read very much. Too often, I come across people who have started a novel or short story that looks and sounds too much like a film or TV show they saw. The descriptions cover things in which a director would be interested, but a writer would ignore. The overuse of cliches by the 3rd-person narrator (of all people!) is a no-no. I can tell when someone uses a thesaurus to try to sound intelligent. I take it for granted that a good writer would not have many grammatical errors other than to produce the occasional run-on sentence. A writer who cannot communicate in written form without an editor is like a cowboy who can't saddle his own horse. Obsession with adverbs is common for bad writers. Good writers read all the time. Great writers read all the time and have read lots of European early 20th-Century and latter 19th-Century literature, including poetry, and have made an in-depth study of the subject. On top of that, both good and great writers have had some interesting life experiences and are good observers of people and events.

  2. Pcunix profile image91
    Pcunixposted 12 years ago

    Well, that second sentence is an example.

    It should be "encountered" and either "that writing" or "those writings", though the latter is awkward.

    Was that on purpose?

    1. profile image51
      EStanMillerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Agree on bad grammar as well as too many words where fewer specific correct ones will do. As general rule I use KISS - Keep It Short & Simple but add humour & emotion whenever possible. Suggest you try the Afrikaans writer Deon Meyer - books now in several other languages - who clearly illustrates my point. Also NO mistakes in the story line & style - keep it moving in strict truth - even in fiction. Regards & Enjoy your last few GREAT reading HoliDays before 2012 starts.........

  3. Victoria Lynn profile image89
    Victoria Lynnposted 12 years ago

    I wondered that, too, Pcunix. It's hard for me to keep reading an article or take a writer seriously when they have numerous typos or grammatical errors, especially when I first start reading....

    1. couturepopcafe profile image59
      couturepopcafeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      You have to wonder if that's why the poster asked the question.  Maybe they just really don't know.

    2. Cardisa profile image89
      Cardisaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with you Victoria. I even edit my forum posts so as to make sure it is written properly.

      For me bad writing is incorrect use of tenses, parts of speech and contractions.

      For example:

      " your very smart" instead of  "you're very smart"

      "There clothes are all wet" instead of "Their clothes are all wet"

      "I here someone calling" instead of "I hear someone calling"

      These are just some examples. I see it often on HP and I noticed that particular hubbers make the same mistakes over and over in almost all there....sorry....their hubs. So I assume they don't remember or don't know.

      1. couturepopcafe profile image59
        couturepopcafeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Cardisa, your second example is kind of funny because if you put a comma after the word There, the sentence would read differently but be correct.

        (I really hate and am embarrassed when I do make those kinds of mistakes.  I think my fingers think faster than my brain.  Fortunately, there's an edit feature).

    3. Pcunix profile image91
      Pcunixposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Oh, I hate it the most when I find a stupid typo, repeated or left out word or some other error in my opening paragraph.   

      Screwing up lower down bothers me, but not as much as leading with a gaffe!

      1. Cardisa profile image89
        Cardisaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Pc, I feel the same way. I keep going through my hubs and re-reading them to make sure and when I see a typo I feel so embarrassed!

        1. couturepopcafe profile image59
          couturepopcafeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Me, too.  And I still find typos.

        2. Pcunix profile image91
          Pcunixposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Oh, I am not embarrassed - I'm ticked off! 

          I'm angry at the typist - that would be me, of course.   I dress myself down thoroughly and cancel planned days off.  I've even threatened to fire myself but I have been told by my wife that only she has that authority.

          1. couturepopcafe profile image59
            couturepopcafeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            No soup for you!

      2. Mark Ewbie profile image81
        Mark Ewbieposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Yep, repeated words.  I hate that, it's my worst thing.  A typo is what it is, and Word catches most of them, but to use the same word in sentence after sentence is just plain embarassing.

        I tend to write in Word, review, build Hub, review, publish Hub, review, and I still pick them up - sometimes months later.

        1. Pcunix profile image91
          Pcunixposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Yes, I hate it when I overuse a word, but I meant really repeated like

          "I find it very difficult to catch the the repeated word"

  4. Hezmyjoy profile image61
    Hezmyjoyposted 12 years ago

    You can tell when someone is forced to write. Its just not in them to do. I think its bad when there is no passion in the topic that is being written about and the writer still expects for there to be a continued following.

  5. calpol25 profile image58
    calpol25posted 12 years ago

    If you want to see bad writing check out my dont you just hate hubs lol its bad but funny at same time :-) lol

  6. lafamillia profile image59
    lafamilliaposted 12 years ago

    For example, I am one of those who's English is not-native, but I do pay a lot attention - and it bothers me a lot - when someone do not apply and obey the "rules" of punctuation. Take a look at my hubs, and You'll see how someone - that's not from English language region, speaks, writes, and reads English just "well". wink

  7. psycheskinner profile image85
    psycheskinnerposted 12 years ago

    I think bad writing is anything that interferes with the intended goal of the writing.  So it is a bit relative.

    1. couturepopcafe profile image59
      couturepopcafeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Excellently put.

  8. Steele Fields profile image68
    Steele Fieldsposted 12 years ago

    Bad writing=unedited writing.

    1. profile image0
      TrinityCatposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Totally agree with you! big_smile

  9. skyfire profile image78
    skyfireposted 12 years ago

    There's no such thing like bad writing. There's just grammar-Nazi approved content or grammar-Nazi ignored content, oh and let's not forget Machine generated content.

  10. writerspavilion profile image63
    writerspavilionposted 12 years ago

    Any writing which conveys vague message

  11. Jeff Berndt profile image73
    Jeff Berndtposted 12 years ago

    The question is, "Does the piece do its job?"

    If the answer is yes, then it's good writing.
    If no, then it's not.

    An instruction manual needs to be clear. A humorous story needs to be entertaining and funny. A news article needs to be informative and true. An op-ed needs to be persuasive. You can depart from the rules of grammar and spelling in a humorous story, but not in an instruction manual.

    1. Diana Grant profile image92
      Diana Grantposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with you Jeff - "Does the piece do its job?" is the crux of the matter.

      When I read an article, I expect to be either entertained or educated, and if it's both, then it's hit the jackpot.

      I am put off by mystifying grammar and syntax but, if the meaning is clear and interesting, I can be quite forgiving - although I sometimes send a little note to the writer, with some apologetic but helpful editorial comments to encourage them to make their good article even better. I have had grateful replies, and never a rude response, so I must have hit the right note!.....oh dear, I've used the word "hit" twice within 2 sentences sad

      1. profile image51
        EStanMillerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Well put Jeff & Diana! - you & several others have clearly summed up this NB topic . Writing is much like talking. Suggest a body who needs positive help to join your own local Toastmasters(TM) club & practicepractise under positive evaluations from members. So many TM clubs in most countries. No, sorry ;-)  I'm really not advertising for them - have left our club in June11. Bless you all! Stan.

      2. couturepopcafe profile image59
        couturepopcafeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        But your comment 'did the job'.  So is it bad or good writing even with the dual 'hit's.

  12. Xenonlit profile image60
    Xenonlitposted 12 years ago

    Writing that is bad in my estimation has syntax poor, embellishment a plenty, for example, like the time that Aunt Lulu (you know her; she rode around with her husband in that lime green Hyundai that he painted with house paint) made those awful pies that tasted of creosote and lime!

    Voice that is passive in the method of the bombastic babelizer of the propensity of those who never learned the voice of an active nature.

    Writing of the spelling instant results translator Babelfish from lenguages plural and foreign. They are been who writing our manuals instructing.

    Writing that is of not a broken nature so as to make the reading a purely wondrous and joyful exprience. Then, ov curse, there are the worse spelling and grammer errors like reigning in, irregardless, and mute point that send me spiraling down into a great depressive episode and speaking of depressive episodes, there are none worse than being confronted by a huge, solid, impenetrale chunk of wordage that never seemst to ens, to have been writ wit a spel chkr and that is blinding to the first, second AND third eye.

    Thank you for allowing me to rant about bad riting.

    1. couturepopcafe profile image59
      couturepopcafeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      You've been reading way too much Neil Gaiman.

      1. Xenonlit profile image60
        Xenonlitposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Of too much of that stuff, I have.

    2. Skiffer profile image60
      Skifferposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      It's a great rant about syntax : and also proves the point of this entire post  - duhhh - "irregardless" doesn't exist.  So your point is really not mute - but is certainly moot.  Have to wonder if you made all of these intentional mistakes to mock the people in this forum

  13. paradigmsearch profile image59
    paradigmsearchposted 12 years ago

    "What is bad writing"?"


    1. karthikkash profile image83
      karthikkashposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      According to me, bad writing includes
      - Bad grammar: The writer need not be a master in English, but should take sufficient time to do spell check. Certain free software help in doing spell check. Small grammatical mistakes can be forgiven.
      - Redundant and repeating sentences: Increasing the word count just for the sake of it is not good. It must contain quality content. Using too many redundant lines and unnecessarily repeating the same idea starts boring the reader.

    2. rbe0 profile image61
      rbe0posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I agree. Pictures are bad form of writing.

  14. paradigmsearch profile image59
    paradigmsearchposted 12 years ago

    I love the way the arrow is pointing to all the repliers. That wasn't planned! lol

  15. Mclibr profile image61
    Mclibrposted 12 years ago

    according to me anything which have wrong way of presentation or having grammatical mistakes includes in bad writing......

  16. goldentoad profile image61
    goldentoadposted 12 years ago

    99% of what is on hubpages is examples of bad writing.

  17. Miss M profile image60
    Miss Mposted 12 years ago

    Let me give an example: The Twilight Saga
    Too much 'purple prose' and Edward is too creepy.
    Plus, there is a lot of plot holes and it is anti-feminist.

  18. alancaster149 profile image75
    alancaster149posted 12 years ago

    Bad writing is not doing your homework first, expecting others to do the work for you - having to read through what you've plonked down via the keyboard - and I have to admit I've done it myself. Mostly, though, I try to make sure I've got some sort of direction in what I've set down and got at least most of my facts right!
    I get nagging doubts sometimes and go back to what I've already put down.
    Unlike the laws Moses found on Mount Sinai, nothing's set down in stone!
    (You know the joke, "Moses fell ill on his way up the mountain and was told when he got up there, 'Keep taking the tablets'")

  19. liza ann profile image67
    liza annposted 12 years ago

    I agree with many of you on this thread that some aspects of "bad" versus "good" writing are subjective. There are other objective criteria, though: Sentence structure, knowing when to use apostrophes, knowing how to transition to a new paragraph (to name a few).

    If you want to know what "bad writing" is, put a questionable Hub side by side with a post on the same topic but on a strictly professional site (online newspapers and magazines). Truth is, the greenest young reporter fresh out of school is held to a much higher standard of writing at one of these publications than is a HubPages writer.

    I say this not to hurt any feelings but in the hope that all HubPages writers will take the nuts and bolts of writing more seriously. If you're happy living in the HubPages world only, then just write to the best of your ability and enjoy. If you'd like to bring in followers from the Interwebs at large, please work on your technical proficiency. We'll be a better community for it!

  20. whatkatieread profile image59
    whatkatiereadposted 12 years ago

    I absolutely detest 'text talk' in what is supposed to be an intelligent, informative or creative piece of writing.  If you are not a 13yr old girl/boy then you should not be 'LOL' -ing or 'BRB' - ing or 'WTF' - ing! It's lazy and ineloquent and will be the death of our beautiful langauge.
    P.S. I may just be an old fart!


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