HomeQ&AWhat is the best way of correcting the mistakes of others?

What is the best way of correcting the mistakes of others?

17
votes

After reading a few posts tonight, it inspired me to ask the following question. What is the best and most appropriate way of correcting the mistakes of others?

Probably about 99% of the users on this site are in the process of learning either Spanish or English. We are going to make mistakes. However, we all come from different cultures, backgrounds and experiences and we all have different personalities. A comment or an answer that I might find extremely helpful might reduce someone else to tears. In addition, when something is put in writing, we don't always know the spirit or the intention of the person posting the comment. Any one of us could post something in order to help someone, but without the benefit of being able to see the person's facial expression or hear the tone of their voice, we have to rely on the words alone to know what they are saying.

Does anyone have any ideas how we can best make our intentions clear as we help others or do you think that this is just a problem associated with modern technology that we are all going to have to deal with. I am looking forward to your ideas.

I am placing a smiley face at the end of this sentence to let you know I am in a good mood and my only intention is to help. (jeje) grin

6171 views
updated FEB 15, 2011
edited by Nicole-B
posted by Nicole-B
Good question - quépasa, SEP 26, 2009
Have a vote Nicole. I can´t put a smiley here though. - ian-hill, SEP 26, 2009
:-) - lagartijaverde, FEB 10, 2011

13 Answers

4
votes

I actually think the real onus is on the person learning, committing the error. When you're learning, you've really got to put aside the ego. It's not personal, just take the criticism and use it to improve.

On the other hand, that's definitely not a license to be a douche for the 'corrector'. Let's not all be Simon from American Idol now.

I also agree on the impersonal nature of leaving a message on the forum thing. You really can't see the person's face or inflections in their words. I posted something one time where I later went back and realized it may have been harsher than I had intended, but ah, whatever, we live and learn.

EDIT: Ah, I have now seen the thread that this one has stemmed from. The 'how many money' thread I assume. Yea...that just blew up way out of proportion. I didn't see anything wrong with what Ian did. He pointed out the errors..that's it. He just didn't take the time to put a smiley face, which by the way, does that really make things that much better? It's really just a semicolon, a dash and a parenthesis.

-Charlius-

updated FEB 10, 2011
edited by Charlius
posted by Charlius
3
votes

Putting a smile face or some thing would def help. Maybe some kind of encouraging sentence along with the correction...for instance, I noticed some one being corrected from saying Yo estoy bien. To being just estoy bien.

Now, Yo estoy bien is not exactly wrong, but there would be a better way of helping such as....

Think of saying estoy bien like you're saying, I'm good, and think of saying Yo estoy bien as, I am good.

Not entirely correct, but, it gets the point across in my opinion without making some one feel completely out of place when saying a simple line.

As far as encouraging. Saying some thing like, "you almost have it", or, "almost, but you're very good smile"

updated ABR 19, 2010
posted by billybro
2
votes

I don't usually correct people on forums because I am not a Spanish expert, but in one-on-one chats where someone is trying to learn English, if they make a mistake I say "you can/should say ____" and then maybe a smiley face smile

For example: "I work today and yesterday in my shop." Reply: "Cool! You should say worked instead of work since it already happened smile "

or

"I am soon tired." Reply: "What time is it there? Oh, and you can say 'I'm getting tired', it's easier smile "

updated SEP 26, 2009
posted by unraveled
1
vote

A little necromancy here...

I find myself being very offended and upset with the way my girlfriend corrects my Spanish. It doesn't bother me when anyone else does it, with exception to her mother.

I just wonder if it is my being sensitive or if she is actually being insensitive. rofl I write out these long phrases and all I get in return is, "I don't have any idea what you just said." That kind of hurts. Given that she is a native speaker, and I am a beginner. I would think that she would take the extra time to at least try and figure it out anyway.

And, of course, after all this she's mad at me. downer

The whole reason I started learning was so I could communicate with her family. Needless to say, they haven't done anything to help me, either. I'm learning Spanish for myself now.

updated FEB 10, 2011
posted by LiveUnsheathed
You'd already know the answer if you were to ask yourself: "Am I being shown the respect necessary for a healthy relationship?", right? - Vikingo, FEB 10, 2011
I really don't know anymore. - LiveUnsheathed, FEB 10, 2011
1
vote

I forgot a part of my question... ^^

How on earth does one handle it if there are many many corrections required? What I have done a few times is to make one or two corrections and hope somebody else steps in with more. What if no one does though?

updated ABR 20, 2010
posted by galsally
people can only learn so many things at once. This might be why I focus on word order - nizhoni1, ABR 19, 2010
If the words themselves communicate the general idea I feel vocabulary will expand with time - nizhoni1, ABR 19, 2010
oh that's a good tip thanks! - galsally, ABR 20, 2010
1
vote

I know this is a dusty old thread, but I would just like to address Galsally's questions. smile

My question, however is, is it ok to assume that anyone on SpanishDict who is learning English will be glad to be corrected if necessary, so long as it is clear on their profile that they are learning English?

I think it is safe to assume that anyone learning English desires our corrections. On a personal level though, I sometimes hesitate to do this. When someone has been kind enough to just correct my Spanish, I don't want them to think I am striking back by correcting their English. After Heidi's thread though, I will have to get out of my comfort zone.

How on earth does one handle it if there are many many corrections required? What I have done a few times is to make one or two corrections and hope somebody else steps in with more. What if no one does though?

I think if there are one or two mistakes involving and English speaking person, I do not hesitate to correct. If they claim to be fluent in English and the whole post is a mess, I safely assume something was lacking in their education or they just don't care. In these cases, I politely ask them to use proper spelling and grammar and hope for the best.

With Spanish speaking people learning English, there may be times when a good part of a sentence/post is incorrect. I know I have done it with Spanish. In this case, I think we should all start kindly correcting others as we have been encouraged to do. smile

updated ABR 20, 2010
posted by Nicole-B
not dusty dear:) - 00494d19, ABR 19, 2010
1
vote

Proverbios 9:8-9 (Reina-Valera 1995)

8 No reprendas al escarnecedor,para que no te aborrezca; corrige al sabio, y te amará.

9 Da al sabio, y será más sabio; enseña al justo,[a] y aumentará su saber.


Proverbs 9:8-9 (New International Version)

8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

updated ABR 19, 2010
posted by 0074b507
I love this Quentin! It is the inspired Word after all!! :) - Nicole-B, ABR 19, 2010
1
vote

I'd just like to revive this thread if I may, it's close to what I want to know and relevant.

I hope I will always be tactful and friendly when correcting, and I couldn't agree more with what seithach said...

Remember that the biggest part of communication is non-verbal. etc

My question, however is, is it ok to assume that anyone on SpanishDict who is learning English will be glad to be corrected if necessary, so long as it is clear on their profile that they are learning English?

I know I need corrections in my español to help me, and I don't need to write por favor corregid mi español every time I contribute.

My confusion arises mainly because we have many native español speakers on here who are great and helpful at correcting us learners, but occasionally say things (in English) which could be improved on or are a little incorrect.

Please give me some feedback , because I want to be helpful in return for all the help I'm getting here every day.

smile

updated ABR 19, 2010
posted by galsally
1
vote

Gently wink. What gets me sometimes is that alot of people here don't participate, and they don't have to of course, except to "correct" someone. It seems the only thing they do. Maybe they are employees of the site or something, I don't know. If someone might ask in general discussion, "How is the weather where you are?" Some of these types won't reply with an answer, in spanish or english, but they are very good at pointing out you spelled "cloudy" wrong. I don't know if I'm the only one who noticed that, but that's my big gripe. I personally love to see people make they little mistakes. It's the learning process and I learn so much from that. wink And of course, I love this site, and interacting with and answering question where I can. wink

updated SEP 26, 2009
edited by ChamacoMalo
posted by ChamacoMalo
1
vote

I think most people here are aware that they may make mistakes and if they´re like me would definitey like to have their mistakes corrected.

I look at how my 2.5 year old daughter is learning english, alone and she learns by playing and making mistakes. At some point we are taught that mistakes are wrong, etc. and get nervous about what we say.

Do it with kindness.

updated SEP 26, 2009
posted by quépasa
feel free to edit my Comó te gusta hacer, post - quépasa, SEP 26, 2009
1
vote

Remember that the biggest part of communication is non-verbal. We are not afforeded that here, so all I can say is, be tactful and re-read your answer befor posting to make sure it doesn't sound offensive. wink

updated SEP 26, 2009
posted by Seitheach
0
votes

In response to Stormcrow:

The whole reason I started learning was so I could communicate with her family. Needless to say, they haven't done anything to help me, either. I'm learning Spanish for myself now.

I am very sorry to hear this. This is atypical behavior as compared to most native Spanish speaking people. Of course there are always exceptions to everything. However, in my experience, Spanish speaking people are genuinely friendly and helpful and are extremely encouraging. Over and over again, I have met absolute strangers who seemed thrilled at even the smallest attempts to speak their language. I have never encountered even a hint of negativity.

Perhaps, the truth is as Vikingo expressed it. If you are not receiving encouragement and support for attempting to learn the language of your girlfriend and her family, perhaps she is not the right girl for you. I'm not suggesting you end things. I understand there may be a language barrier, but try to express to her how frustrating this is to you. Hopefully, she will see things from your point of view and change her attitude. smile

updated FEB 10, 2011
posted by Nicole-B
0
votes

I think for corrections in either language if a different word is chose there should be an explanation..As a person matures in a language they will make word choice particular to their style of thinking. Sometimes a word is just plain wrong and sometimes it is a personal style of expression.

With an explanation the student will be able to refine that choice.

updated ABR 19, 2010
posted by nizhoni1
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