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What if someone who is not a native English speaker wants to write for a blog in English, but is not sure about the correctness of his writings? How could one ensure that the article won't annoy readers with its wrong language?

What would you recommend in this case? What should one pay attention to in the first place? What resources are there online for ensuring that an article is written well enough to be published?

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Your grammar is not exactly what people in the US, UK, Australia, etc., would consider correct, but it's understandable. Why not write as well as you can? There's nothing wrong with being a non-native speaker, and there's nothing wrong with writing in a non-standard dialect. If you are looking for something that will automatically make your writing standard, I don't believe there is anything that can do that. –  Alan Hogue Aug 8 '10 at 9:28
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I often read blogs that are written by people for whom English is a second/third language. If I know the person's first language is not English, I take extra effort to understand. Don't ever give up. Just keep writing the best you can, and continue reading things written by native speakers. Your English WILL improve. It may never be 100% standard, but it will get very close, and you probably will be better than most native speakers at writing. I used to mark Essays at a University, and I found that a majority of freshmen were SHOCKING writers. –  Vincent McNabb Aug 8 '10 at 23:38

5 Answers 5

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Why not ask your readers to help you with copy editing? Place a short, unobtrusive notice at the very top of every new blog post:

English is not my native language. If anyone would like to help improve the grammar and clarity of this post, your suggestions and contributions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Then compare their suggestions to what you wrote. That is how you improve. Soon, you might have a few readers to submit your blog post to before you publish them.

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Thanks, Robert! It seems interesting suggestion. +1 –  rem Aug 8 '10 at 18:43
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As @Robert suggests, I think if you make if clear that English is not your first language but that you are trying your best, most readers will appreciate that, and will offer to help if they can. The other thing you can do is try to read many examples of good writing by native English speakers. Newspaper articles are a good source, as long as you choose intelligent newspapers. –  njd Aug 9 '10 at 16:48
    
I actually am going to use this in my blog. Thanks for the idea. –  Hamid Aug 13 '10 at 9:27

One of the things that I usually do is to Google the exact phrase to see if native English speakers have used it before. For example sometimes you think you've heard someone saying an expression such as "your best bet is to", but you're not sure, then your best bet would be googling it, within the double quotes.

And also there's this highly recommended upcoming website called English Language and Usage on StackExchange which people can ask questions and expect fast answers related to the English language. Oh I just googled to see whether it's appropriate to use "The" before "English Language".

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I would recommend to use grammarly.com service. It is an online instant grammar checker. Even though it would not be able to cover all of your needs (proper phrasing, text structure analysis, etc), I'm sure you will find it useful in addition to the tools/approaches you already use.

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Yes, I've been using it for about half a year already. I agree that it helps. +1 –  rem Jan 17 '12 at 11:04

I "has" no problems with non-native speakers, being one myself :) I was reluctant to write in English for some time, but only by writing can we improve our language skills (see that inversion after "only" - still not sure about it).

Another thing -- people do appreciate good content, as long as it is comprehensible.

So, just write! :)

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+1 for encouraging to write more. But while I agree with you in general that native English speakers would appreciate good content as long as it is comprehensible, I think that it is mostly related to highly technical stuff. Some people could be harsh in their feedback. That's why, I believe, to write for public, before your writing could sound nice, is dangerous for your enthusiasm. Writing for a sandbox for quite a while, is safer for one's own self esteem. But, maybe, I'm just looking for an excuse.. –  rem Jan 17 '12 at 12:45

Why bother man? Just keep your writing simple, concise and understandable. Concentrate on making a good, simple and correct sentence that expresses something meaningful. I'm a non-native English user, professional writer too, but I don't feel shy to write for the natives. I have written hundreds of blogs, articles, and web contents for the natives without feeling I'm a non-native English writer :) Keep your spirit up.

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Okay, thanks for encouraging, I'll try :) Welcome to StackExchange! +1 –  rem Jun 12 '13 at 12:48

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