Notebook corrections: how do you write them? How do you like to get them?

I am participating to a 30 days writing challenge with a dozen of other Italki members. We write every day a small text and many generous Italki members correct them. I also correct texts in the two languages I know the best.

I noticed now that the corrections I like the most are those where the big mistakes are corrected but the original text is left with its stylistic flaws. 

I do the same when I correct. Unless it is a letter to apply for a job or a scholarship.

What do you do? What do you prefer when you get corrections on your notebook entries?

Jun 3, 2018 10:26 AM
Comments · 10

There are several different levels (or kinds) of corrections (and sometimes the "corrections" are not really correcting a fault but simply suggesting a better way to write)

Types of basic corrections include:

- spelling mistakes
- grammar mistakes
- punctuation mistakes

all of which should be corrected in a Notebook.

Other types of corrections may include:

- improving the degree of formality/professionalism (if necessary or advised), e.g., wrote a policy > develop a policy
- changing vocabulary to make it more interesting/entertaining, e.g., I let the secret out > I let the cat out of the bag

Potential Correction Problems

These may occur when the corrector misunderstands/misinterprets the meaning of the original sentence, thereby suggesting changes that do not express the same meaning. Trying to interpret a vaguely written sentence is very challenging and sometimes simply impossible to do.

June 3, 2018
I like it when my notebook is corrected but it still feels or sounds like I wrote it. There are times when I get corrections but it completely changes what I wanted to say or it changes the overall feel of my piece. Thus I prefer subtle corrections and examples for me to better understand the given corrections :)
June 3, 2018
Aliph, I agree with you one hundred percent. Except for proficiency exam preparation, learners are aiming for the skills of a native speaker similar to themselves. Yes, I will point out stylistic issues, while making it clear that those are not non-native constructions. However, the most important thing is that a text by a high school girl should not be re-written in the style of a 50-year-old man (or vice versa). That would be silly. 

June 3, 2018

Somebody sent me a private message concerning my phrase:

« I noticed now that the corrections I like the most are those where the big mistakes are corrected but the original text is left with its stylistic flaws”

I probably didn’t express myself correctly in English. By « flaw » I ment default. By stylistic I meant a certain way or style of writing. As a language learner I am not aspiring to write like a novelist. I just want to write in a correct understandable way. So corrections shouldn’t be too ambitious.

June 3, 2018

I tend to deviate a bit on my corrections, based on how many and what types of mistakes the person writing the entry made.

For some of the more proficient writers, I tend to correct "everything" because it doesn't add up to much anyway and they are able to digest all of the corrections. Note that usually those are just minor grammar mistakes, and not necessarily stylistic issues. If there are stylistic issues, I offer recommendations on how to write a particular sentence better or differently.

For beginning writers, I tend to tackle the more obvious mistakes in grammar and spelling but leave the text otherwise intact, even if there were parts that could be written better. If there are recurring mistakes of the same type, I try to leave a comment and suggestions on how to improve that part.

I've only written one notebook entry ever, so I have limited experience on what I personally like. I suppose the way I correct entries is the way I would want mine to be corrected as well. :D

July 18, 2018
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Language Skills
Arabic, English, French, German, Greek (Ancient), Italian, Latin, Spanish, Swiss German
Learning Language
Arabic, English, French, German, Greek (Ancient), Latin, Spanish