Writing is too expensive for good writers

I would like to do more writing in LingQ but writing is too expensive when you only make a few mistakes.

For example: I did a writing submission with 577 words. The costs were 1931 points. I got 18 corrections, 1 error every 32 words. I think it was easy to correct. I’m really glad, that I did well, but the costs …

When I did corrections for writers it was hard work. The last four corrections had 416 words (all together). And I corrected 78 Errors, 1 error every 5 words. A lot of work you could imagine. And I got fewer points for this hard work then I have to spend for my writing submission.

Most time I have 1 error every 16 words. For example I made 15 Errors when I wrote 238 words. And I think it was nearly the same work then the correction of the 577 words.

Maybe there should be a system that you get points back if you make only a few mistakes? This is fairer in my opinion.

As I said before I would like to do more writing, but I act with reserve because it is very expensive for good writers.

I don’t know your writing so forgive me if you have already done this.

One solution would be to deliberately choose more difficult topics to write about, ones that force you to describe specific things or processes in detail.

One technique I use is to think of "What if… " situations which put me into an unfamiliar but specific context with a task to complete. For example,

“What if I were the mother of a child who wanted to go to a football match where there was a history of violence between the teams’ fans. How would I advise the child?”

“What if I were the chancellor of Germany? How would I fix the the current problems with assimilation or integration of the many foreign workers?”

The trick is to to be specific and try to pick a topic that you can perhaps research on the internet a little before you write about it. Then, of course you can make it personal by thinking about what you would do.

Good idea Edward!

You are right Vera, it does cost a lot of points to do longer writing pieces, and I don’t especially encourage students to write more than about two hundred words at a time. If you writing something that you find challenging, that’s quite enough to learn some useful lessons from.

I already said to you that your English is very good and accurate on everyday topics Vera, more accurate than my German. It’s really easy for a student to plateau at a good intermediate 1/intermediate 2, if they stay in the realms of the everyday.

I did suggest already that you pick more complex or obscure topics, listen to some new material and then write or speak about what you have learned from it. Working on a particularly tricky verb tense, like conditional (as Edward suggests) is a good idea too.

Also you tend to write in everyday spoken English, where questions of style do not really arise. If you send me a business letter, the first couple of paragraphs of a short story, or a fragment of an academic essay I can give you suggestions about improving your writing style. I promise to find and correct as many mistakes as you make!

Hope you and your family have a happy New Year,


Hi Edward,

Thank you for answering and for your suggestions. Maybe I write about easy topics but my goal is to become fluent in daily English and in daily situations. I learn English just for fun. And I think some of my writings are not easy in my opinion and I need a lot of time to do them well. When I compare the writings of my students in German with my writings in English I think I’m more advanced. This is the reason why I have fewer errors.

For me it is important to write about topics that I like and to master description of daily situations. I have difficulties to master the use of past and future tenses when I’m speaking and I hope I become better when I write in these tenses.

So I think to write about other topics isn’t the best solution for my problem.

Hi Helen,

Your post occurs when I wrote my answer for Edward. I know that you always suggest that I should choose content of higher level, but like Steve said it is the best to choose content and topics that you are interested in. Sorry, I’m not interested to master articles about business topics. I like the topics I talk and write about :slight_smile:
You wrote “Also you tend to write in everyday spoken English”. This is my goal, Helen!
But I did writings for Jonathan with the translation of a short story. This was really difficult and I made 1 error every 16 words.
But I think the more fun I have the better I learn.

I think the cost and the needed time for a correction did not much depend on the number of words. It depends on the number of errors.

Another suggestion: just write a list of diverse sentences that contain forms, grammar or vocab, that you want to try out or that you are not sure of. Make sentences complex enough to provide the corrector the general context. You will then be targeting forms that you want, without lots of filler.

We could consider charging different rates depending on the number of mistakes. Or else we could have special Advanced writing courses, with advanced reading content, where we could discuss writing and writing styles etc, in the discussion. We could set a separate rate for the writing in those courses. Participants would have to submit writing samples to be accepted for these courses. Just some thoughts.

It is true that some writing takes longer to correct than others and we have thought about implementing different rates or charging per mistake but we have always returned to our current charging model since it is simpler. Simpler for us to implement and simpler for users to understand.

At any rate, this is something we are aware of and will revisit again in the future. A bonus for a small number of mistakes is an interesting idea.

Thinking about advanced courses is on my To Do list, especially advanced courses for people who aren’t looking to learn specialist and technical English, based on TV shows, films, rap music? I’m open to suggestions :slight_smile:

Translating a short story is a good idea Vera, it would certainly stretch your mastery of English without having to explore unusual subject matter. Did you translate into German or into English? If you translated into German, could LingQ cope with you submitting writing in your native language? And how much fun was it?

I enjoy writing very much. Thank you for your suggestions but I like to write in form of essays or stories and to write only sentences seems not to be very funny for me. I hated English in school and I think one part was that is was to “technical”. Don’t understand me wrong but these suggestions sounds very technical for me. Writing with fun means for me not to construct sentences. It means for me telling a story or a thought.

Thank you Steve, thank you Mark, for your sympathy.

I can imagine a system for example with:
A Basic Rate for a writing maybe 100 Points.
Plus a Rate per Word maybe 1 Point per Word.
Plus a Rate per Error maybe 20 Points per Error.
577 Words with 18 Errors = 100 + 577 + 360 = 1037 Points.
416 Words in four writing with 78 Errors = 4*100 + 416 + 1560 = 2376 Points.
I know that this is much more complicated than the current model but it is much fairer. And this system would motivate the learner.

Hi Helen,
I translated the help and the Interface from English into German. This is most of the time no problem. It’s work but fun. And I started to translate a short story that I have written from German into English. The corrector was Jonathan, my main tutor. I will import this short story in January in the German library. I hope I’ll have time next week to do record the audio. To translate a short story is difficult because I use a wide variety of words in German. But I work with a dictionary and the challenge is to find the word that fits best and to master the grammar. I like to do this. It is a good practise and naturally I’m interested in my own writings :wink:

Sorry for my errors. When I submit writings I wait a day and then I see a lot of my errors :slight_smile: In the forum it is more spontaneously.

Another alternative is to request a minimum number of corrections/suggestions per words of writing. For example, you could request at least one correction per 15 words. If the corrector can’t find that many corrections to make, they have to suggest improvements or alternatives to the writing until the ratio is 1:15. As a corrector, I am always letting things pass that are not technically wrong but I could easily suggest an improvement to.

In the meantime, Vera and others could still write essays or stories in a word processor. Just cut and paste the sentences of the essay that you feel less sure about into the writing screen, (along with any context needed for basic comprehension). The writing correction, at least the part concerning mistake correction that Vera is referring to, is all about pronouns, punctuation, word order and so on. So it is already “technically” focussed no matter what format of material is being corrected: essays, stories, sentences etc. I am just suggesting ways to get more corrections/word, which is what I think Vera was talking about.

I think rewarding error-free writing is not good because it will discourage creativity.

And I think Vera is displaying how good her writing is in this thread. I am envious!

Hi Edward,
It is very difficult for me to decide in which of my sentences the errors are. When I would know it, it would be easier :wink: Then I would write it correct.

When I correct writings in German there are always a lot of errors in the writing, much more than 1 error every 15 words. And these are only basic errors and I’m not looking for peanuts. I would be glad if I can make suggestions that are more than the correction of verbs, tenses, prepositions etc. I’m not sure if I make clear what I want to explain but it is late in Germany and now I’m tired. The correction is a technical thing but my writing should not be a technical thing. Writing is a creative subject for me and I don’t like to write about topics that other people suggest. That is, what I wanted to tell you.

Who could write error free? I’m surely not! Thank you for your compliments, but I make a lot of errors.

My creativity is discouraged when I saw the price for the correction of 577 words. 1931 points is a lot of money for the correction of 18 errors, don’t you think? And Helen, this is not criticizing you! I appreciate your correction very much. I’m happy that I did make only a few errors.

Now I’m looking for a way that is less expensive to write English and get corrections. I would prefer to do this on LingQ because I love LingQ.

OK. Thanks Vera. Sorry to keep you up late. Maybe this can continue later. Just some final points:

I think that if you are not sure that something is correct, and tutor gives you the reassurance that it is, then that is a service, no? The tutor didn’t correct anything, but you know now that what you have written is correct.

To me, tying payment for writing to the numbers of technical errors corrected discourages risk taking and creativity.

Anyway, have a good sleep :slight_smile:


I think it is a good idea to have a separate rate,too! However, it should not be due to the number of errors. Because:

  1. Steve suggested me before not to revise my writings too much. I would be more aware of my mistakes when I saw corrections tutor made. (He meant I should have written more often than one writing with fewer errors.)
  2. The way of making correction varies depending on tutors. I tend to make corrections bit by bit, but some tutors choose a whole sentence to correct every mistakes in it.

I know tutors should not edit writings, but I sometimes ask my tutor Allison to edit my writing. It must take more time to correct, so I am willing to pay extra for writings which need to be edited. In addition, I sometimes receive very technical writings such as resumes or planned answers for job interviews. It takes forever to correct and edit, and it really nonsense to work for $15/2,000 letters. I want have a super advanced rate for them.

Although my reaction would probably have been similar to Vera’s (if I had written a particularly long text, and only got a few minor corrections), and while “making mistakes” is somewhat important during one’s learning process (at least we’re not very likely to avoid them!), I agree with you (Ed) that a tutor who assures that the assignment is “OK” has still done a service, and given feedback.


I still owe you something for all that correction you did for me. I will buy you lunch next time we meet (I am going to have to ask you to correct my next letter to 磯部社長、ごめんね!)
But I know what it is like to get a writing that is full of errors, and you know it is going to take you hours to correct and you are not getting paid for the time spent…

You are right. To say that a writing submission has no errors is a service. I agree. Like I wrote above I have the idea that the payment should be a mixture of number of words and number of errors.
My suggestion was:
A Basic Rate for a writing maybe 100 Points (This is for the general comment).
Plus a Rate per Word maybe 1 Point per Word (This is for reading).
Plus a Rate per Error maybe 20 Points per Error (This is for the correction).
600 Words with 0 Errors = 100 + 600 + 0 = 700 Points.
600 Words with 20 Errors = 100 + 600 + 400 = 1100 Points.
600 Words with 40 Errors = 100 + 600 + 800 = 1500 Points.
600 Words with 80 Errors = 100 + 600 + 1600 = 2300 Points.
I know that this is much more complicated than the current model but it is much fairer.
So if a user wrote 600 words and made no error the costs are 700 Points. It is no hard work to read 600 words and to say it has no errors.
Maybe the points should be smaller or higher. I was only playing with the numbers :wink:

Hi Emma,
Thank you for your opinion. I’m not sure what the best way to do is. And these are only thoughts of me. Maybe there are better solutions. I want to do writing as good as possible and for me it is important to revise it. Flexibility and reaction in a short time without thinking very much is trained while speaking. Writing is a very different subject for me. I can think about it, I can use a dictionary and so forth.
I can see it from both sights, from the sight of a tutor and the sight of a student, but as a tutor I’ve only done corrections with a lot of errors. Like you I tend to make corrections bit by bit. And I try to stay as close as possible on the student’s text.


I cannot imagine that we would adopt such a complicated system for writing correction. It would also mean that a corrector is rewarding for making corrections, which is not necessarily what we want.

One thing we could do is run a writing clinic for advanced writers right here on the forum. This would be free and correctors would be volunteers. This would encourage people to contribute to the forum. Corrections would consist of general comments and corrections and would not be as thorough as the corrections done in the system.

I would be happy to correct your writing from time to time and offer advice. Others could also do so. If you want a sample I will correct what you wrote to Emma.

If a person’s writing is not of a high enough standard to be corrected here, we can would advise them to write in the normal system until their writing reaches a high enough standard.

I meant to sa

It would also mean that a corrector is rewarded for making corrections, which is not necessarily what we want.

In other words if we pay correctors per mistake they will find more mistakes, but that may not be the best way to correct. It could be said they right now they are incented to find few mistakes and get through the correction.

I really do not know the best solution so for the time being the best way is to stay the way we are. But your concerns are noted and we are thinking about possible solutions.