Writing like a native

There have been a couple of novelists that moved to America as adults and write like “natives” - I guess you could call it that. Ayn Rand is one, for example. That’s probably because she had good editors. :slight_smile:

I agree with Falcao in that many who learn English as a second language display better grammar and word usage than many natives. [Insert ruminations on public schooling and the dumbing down of America’s children here.]

I don’t necessarily think that it’s a good idea to compare yourself to some mythical “native.” It’s best to shoot for comprehensibility in your writing, and if your writing style is influenced by your native language, so be it. I think that’s charming.


Very well said, Charlotte. Extra three points for acknowledging the work editors do.

Galiana, I loved your post. I TOTALLY agree with you!

The quality of your writing depends of quantity of your writing. The same is with speaking.

"The quality of your writing depends of quantity of your writing. The same is with speaking. " may be true in some cases. I find the following to be equally true.

The quality of your writing (speaking) depends on the quantity and quality of your reading (listening).

I think you guys are beating around the bush. The quality of your writing depends on the quality of your thinking.

It is certainly a factor Astamoore, but then how well do you write in Mongolian?

I think, that quality of your writing (speaking) depends not only on quantity of reading but also from individual talent for this. Some people make grammatical mistakes in native language though they like to read.

“There is no accent in writing. To me it is less obvious what would constitute non-native writing, other than obvious mistakes, since there are so many writing styles.”

When I began posting messages on this forum in order to practice writing in English, I did not know where I should put the goal. I think I have been trying to read messages posted by native speakers of English as carefully as possible. By doing so, I suppose, my style has been influenced by the various styles used on this forum. As Steve wrote in the sentences quoted above, there are so many writing styles that we have to be selective when we begin writing about something. I tried some phrases over and over again, and I think I have become accustomed to writing in English. Exchanging messages on the forum has been very effective, and I greatly appreciate the existence of the language learning community called LingQ.

I am quite happy that not many learners want to write Japanese like a native.
Otherwise, I think I would have to improve my Japanese to the level where learners
can get something out of my writings on the Japanese forum.

Lets see on teachers’ essays from Steve’s listserv. First, most of their writins are long, too long. Second, they don’t use paragraphs and rarely use punctuation marks, only periods, Third, their sentences also very long. Forth, in one sentence they can touch three topics and hop from one to another several times. Fifth, they use lots of cliches. Sixth, … well, their thinking…

They all are natives but I don’t want to emulate them.

I agree in large part with Victor. Look at some of the comments on Steve’s YouTube videos. Now THOSE are natives you don’t want to emulate. :smiley:

(Of course, there are some well-reasoned and well-written comments on Steve’s videos. However, YouTube is legendary as the favorite hangout of a certain class of negative and semi-illiterate people who enjoy watching videos of people getting hit in the crotch. If you must sound like a native, copy the right things.)

Should I also despise capital letters, articles and prepositions?

So, are we saying that the teachers on that listserv are the same as youtube commentators?
I think that is an apt comparison.

SanneT is not a native english speaker? wow, I had to check her profile because she sure doesn’t write like a non-native.

Course I think writing can be easier because you have time to review what you’ve written and you can bring your conscious knowledge of grammar rules to bear on what you’ve written. So I don’t think the goal should be to directly produce perfect writing, but to write, and then correct your mistakes you might make.