Improving bad spelling and grammar as an adult



  • I'm after some collective Fern wisdom.

    I've just had my younger sister move in after finishing her OE. She's been having issues getting work in Melbourne and after finally receiving some feedback it appears the issue is with her grammar and spelling.

    There is a decade age gap between us and I never realised just how bad the issue was, putting mistakes just down to how kids txt speak and the like. How this wasn't addressed in high-school or university I have no idea and quite frankly only supports my opinions on modern education systems..anyway without veering off into politics has anyone had any experience on improving spelling and grammar as an adult?

    Maybe experience with good (ideally cheap or free) online courses etc?

    Hers is bad enough that word grammar and spelling checks do not do enough to cover for her. I'm good enough but I have literally no idea how to teach it..and I bet I would be all sorts of annoying if I tried.

    Cheers,



  • @Rembrandt said in Improving bad spelling and grammar as an adult:

    I'm after some collective Fern wisdom.

    I've just had my younger sister move in after finishing her OE. She's been having issues getting work in Melbourne and after finally receiving some feedback it appears the issue is with her grammar and spelling.

    There is a decade age gap between us and I never realised just how bad the issue was, putting mistakes just down to how kids txt speak and the like. How this wasn't addressed in high-school or university I have no idea and quite frankly only supports my opinions on modern education systems..anyway without veering off into politics has anyone had any experience on improving spelling and grammar as an adult?

    Maybe experience with good (ideally cheap or free) online courses etc?

    Hers is bad enough that word grammar and spelling checks do not do enough to cover for her. I'm good enough but I have literally no idea how to teach it..and I bet I would be all sorts of annoying if I tried.

    What sort of industry is she in?



  • @Baron-Silas-Greenback
    Administration/Office Management/PA
    Qualifications in journalism, media studies and communications. Seriously I could kill Massey University.



  • @Rembrandt said in Improving bad spelling and grammar as an adult:

    @Baron-Silas-Greenback
    Administration/Office Management/PA
    Qualifications in journalism, media studies and communications. Seriously I could kill Massey University.

    I know this ain't helpful but these are all qualifications where writing england good is kind of essential ...

    Can't really help but I'll have a thunk about it.



  • @Rembrandt said in Improving bad spelling and grammar as an adult:

    @Baron-Silas-Greenback
    Administration/Office Management/PA
    Qualifications in journalism, media studies and communications. Seriously I could kill Massey University.

    Fark me. Was there a safe space from spelling and grammar?



  • At least she's in the right (ba-boom) place to get a job if your written English is questionable.

    Get her to read - a lot - of well constructed English. That should help.

    Get her to write shorter sentences. Ideally 15 words maximum. That will immediately improve readability and comprehension.

    Then try this

    http://www.thewriter.com/what-we-think/readability-checker/



  • I know some undergrads who!ve used this service. It helps identify basic grammar problems (subject/verb etc) with greater usefulness than what is already built into word. There is a free and paid service.

    https://www.grammarly.com/



  • @dogmeat

    That looks cool. I might play around with that with my students!



  • Thanks guys, got some good tips here and via PM. Really appreciate it.



  • @Rembrandt said in Improving bad spelling and grammar as an adult:

    Qualifications in journalism, media studies and communications. Seriously I could kill Massey University.

    Yeah, that's appalling but unfortunately not surprising. I was a tutor/sessional assistant for Communications papers at Waikato about 15 years ago and was disgusted back then at what we were letting though.



  • @Milk The thing is she is an intelligent women and is really interested on improving, it just seems (at least to me as the angry older brother) that no one could be arsed doing their jobs right and kept passing her just to keep everyone happy. Highschool is bad enough, but a degree and post grad in a field that specialises in English language?

    Anyway hopefully will sort it out now..



  • When I was at Massey - I thought every single degree had a prerequisite of a "English/Writing 101" course.
    So... WTF?

    But having a quick look at the degrees just now:
    Computer Nerd type degrees - have a compulsory specific "how to write Nerd" course
    Science - a choice of either "how to write Science" or "how to write Nerd" depending on the major
    Arts - "Writing and Inquiry" and "Critical Thinking" both compulsory
    Most others - "dnt giv a shit if u snd in ur SA-s in TXT-spk, lol"

    BA - actually seems the most worldly and common-sense of the lot.



  • I think the Unis gave up when faced with the generation that came through their schooling in that time of experiment where it was declared better to write any old how than write properly. My son was at primary back then and still suffers from it. The good old 3R's were declared old hat.

    I'm suprised @Mokey isn't all over this thread yet.



  • @Crucial said in Improving bad spelling and grammar as an adult:

    I think the Unis gave up when faced with the generation that came through their schooling in that time of experiment where it was declared better to write any old how than write properly. My son was at primary back then and still suffers from it. The good old 3R's were declared old hat.

    Yeah, exactly. It goes back to a lack of attention to it at primary and high school.



  • @Rembrandt said in Improving bad spelling and grammar as an adult:

    @Milk The thing is she is an intelligent women and is really interested on improving, it just seems (at least to me as the angry older brother) that no one could be arsed doing their jobs right and kept passing her just to keep everyone happy. Highschool is bad enough, but a degree and post grad in a field that specialises in English language?

    Spot on. The thing is (at least when I was at Waikato), they made a lot of money of ESOL students from overseas. Admittedly, in some cases their grammar was technically better than the NZ students, in terms of less incomplete and run on sentences, etc. However, in general they shouldn't have been passing business communication papers, but we need that sweet moolah. They were paying at least 3 times as much as the NZ kids.

    They usually tightened up for Post Grad though, I thought.



  • Jesus fucking Christ.
    Ok, firstly I had no idea that Massey offered such quals, and quite frankly, if they are passing people on a journalism and comms course who can't do basic spelling and grammar, they should be fucking shut down. (On a side note, DO NOT waste money on a comms course at fucking Massey. Jesus. No. If you want to be in the industry, you do a little fucking research and make a list of the reputable schools with reputable tutors, and also top connections to industry professionals.)

    Adult learning is really hard. Learning spelling and grammar even harder, because the English language is a mongrel hybrid clusterfuck of contradictions and exceptions. But if I was your sis, I would be looking at private tutorials with say an ex high school English teacher. There is no way she'll be able to get a job without having a sound grasp of sentence structure, active voice etc. And if she gets details wrong, eg the spelling of names or something that changes context, she will find herself in a world of shit. This is true for the industry, or any PA job for that matter, where she will often be given letters to type or proof, or asked to make meeting minutes. If she can't do that, hell man, she'll be unemployed.

    Gah, this pisses me off to infinity. Fucking Massey should give her a refund.

    Signed Mokey, who holds a communications degree and a journalism diploma from the top comms school in NZ, taught English to Chinese kids, and worked in print and tv plus executive communications for more fucking years than she cares to remember.



  • @Mokey I wondered when your antennae would prick up 🤦♀



  • @Crucial @Mokey In the circumstances a disappointingly short rant.



  • @Crucial said in Improving bad spelling and grammar as an adult:

    @Mokey I wondered when your antennae would prick up 🤦♀

    Ha, I'm on deadline right now. I wasn't aware of the thread until you @ me.



  • @Catogrande said in Improving bad spelling and grammar as an adult:

    @Crucial @Mokey In the circumstances a disappointingly short rant.

    Haha, it was 2.30am when I wrote it.

    Can I also add the point: cheat websites will not help. Not only are they treating a symptom not the cause, she won't have time. Whether filing stories to deadline or working in a busy office, she can't be checking and rechecking and fixing/rewriting documents because she doesn't know basic stuff. And what happens if the office has a strict internet policy? What if she's in a board meeting and is asked to be whiteboard scribe? No org will hire her if she's a risk to their brand, and sending out work that potentially reads poorly or is riddled with mistakes is a risk. If she wants to be competitive in the job market, especially in a big city, she needs to crisp up her skillset. Every year, more hungry grads are descending on the job market, in both office admin and journalism. And you can bet your bottom dollar that the ones who get hired are the ones who need the least micromanagement. No editor or office manager wants an employee they will have to sink that much time into. And again, seriously, fuck Massey. Maybe some quals you can get away with not being the greatest speller or writer, but holy shit.



  • Then again, she could turn her hand to writing smutty books. 'Hard' and 'moist' aren't exactly difficult to spell and people only read the dirty bits.



  • Complaining about poor spelling and grammar, eh? I feel a microaggression. This sounds suspiciously patriarchal, culturally insensitive and even a little bit white supremacist. Language is fluid, we live in a 140-character universe, you can spell any way you like, and the more emojis the better! 🏉 🏇🏿 🍺



  • @Mokey I agree cheat sites don't work but I think some sites can aid as a form of tuition as long as they clearly show what changes are required and why.

    TBF I don't think this is anything that new. I went through school and uni in the 70's (Arts) without getting any spelling or grammar tuition once I left primary school.

    Was in the top 1% in national exam results, won creative writing comps etc. In all that time only one lecturer ever corrected my sentence structure. It was only when I started business writing that I realized how overblown and poorly constructed my writing was.

    Even as recently as two years ago an Executive Summary template I had written was chosen by a brand guru to demonstrate to a multi-national how not to write! Although I still contend that was because the target audience was consumers and my piece was written for corporates..... 😞



  • @Mokey think it was @Hooroo that posted something like this on FB a few weeks

    alt text



  • @Mokey Cheers, exactly what I thought, I don't envy her having to learn these basics now and I really struggle to see how she could exactly. Bit depressing but she had no issue getting work in the UK so there is hope.

    Feeling super guilty having been the one who encouraged her into an arts degree at massey since thats the way I went.



  • @taniwharugby My teen students used to look at me and be all "Teacher, WHY???" I had every sympathy for the poor mites. Fuck me days, the spelling, tense changing the word completely, the rules, then the bloody exceptions to the rule...



  • @Rembrandt Honestly, I think some intensive sessions of one-on-one tuition would help. Perhaps some high school English study guides, or some recommended reading textbooks from an international language school where they are boosting the skills of those who need business level understanding. For the fields she is in, she must grasp spelling and grammar. I know it is really hard, but investment now makes her employable down the track, if that is the barrier stopping her getting jobs.
    Don't beat yourself up. Let others do that. 😃 Just help your sis find a solution.



  • Lots of reading well written stuff can help too. But it's not a quick fix... It's going to take time and energy

    Serving on Grammarly in theory too. I'm putting some ESOL grads that way. They have writing issues but can put together a decent structure in a report. Need help at a micro level for tense compatibility and sentence construction. Grammarly seems to do this better than some others.

    Finally, it can be done and it's important she doesn't lose hope. We've trained a recent grad to good business writing over the last couple of years. It's a long hard road but it can be done.



  • I attended a two day course with the Write Group ten years ago that was very useful (and eye opening!)

    Goodness knows how, but I was the only person in the group who didn't have my writing sample picked on for various faults...

    My trainer has long gone, but https://write.co.nz/training/ looks handy



  • @Rembrandt said in Improving bad spelling and grammar as an adult:

    The thing is she is an intelligent women and is really interested on improving

    Without adding anything constructive to help mate - that made me laugh in a post started by you about spelling and grammar. I know no one likes a correcter, but my wife has multiple masters in English so I feel the need to spread the "love".



  • @Snowy Ha yeah I'm far from perfect, in real life I do try a lot harder than on here..mostly.


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