1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. How do you deal with grammar …


How do you deal with grammar elitists

Hello everyone there is one thing that is demotivating me and that is that when i'm typing or writing something i sometimes may occasionally make a mistake i'm sure everyone has made a mistake at least one time in their entire life but it seems like almost every time i make a mistake in English or dutch people will rage at me like i just did one of the worst things ever it seems like to them its like saying 2+2=3 its a absolute outrage if you make spelling mistakes to some people.

And if im going to try to communicate in a language i only started learning a few months ago im going to make quite a lot of mistakes and im not looking forward to being mocked every time i type something.

Please tell me what are your experiences when trying to communicate in a new language how did people react to your mistakes and is there a difference between different cultures.

September 12, 2017



Are you sure you are not being overly sensitive and presuming that they are mocking you when they are trying to correct/help you? Maybe they're not sugarcoating everything they are saying in a way that you like, but that doesn't mean they are being angry even. Perhaps some people are impatient, but I doubt a lot of people are being angry at you over minor mistakes.

If you still think they're being mad at you, then you could maybe put in some extra effort with spellings and such. The reasoning here is that you can change your approach with some effort. Good luck changing the rest of the world to your needs, though.

Edit: An additional step you could also take is to have a disclaimer that says "Sorry but I am an amateur in the language, so please forgive my mistakes if any." It generally softens people up when you show some humility too.


No man they are extremely rude sometimes they are more reasonable i don't mind being corrected but sometimes they are so ridiculous that they don't even want to talk to me about the topic we where talking about because they think i'm too stupid i don't mind being corrected but i only have so much patience.


Show me the discussion where this happened. I can't take your word for it if it's more than one person. If it is just one person, then it's probably a troll. Report them to mods if so. Remember, sticks and stones.


Your English is actually very good, and at first I thought it was your native language. You write like a young native speaker with the same types of mistakes. If I think you are a native speaker, then I will expect a much better standard of English. If I were the sort of person who liked correcting others, I would probably correct you because I expect you to be better as a native speaker. However, you are not a native speaker of English, and I don't make corrections for no reason, so I'm not going to do it. Can I just give you a little advice about your English? You need to be more careful about using punctuation and capital letters. It's a small thing, but it will make your English seem so much better.

It took me a long time to get used to being corrected when I write in a foreign language. I hate making mistakes, and I feel really embarrassed when someone notices my mistakes and tells me. I am getting used to it now, but it was a problem.

Good luck with your language study. Try not to feel bad when people only notice the bad things about your writing, but try to learn from them. They might tell you something useful.


well i dont have a mistake but that outrages me 2 D:


Just ignore them, that's all you can do. Everyone is different and making grammatical mistakes makes some people cringe. They cannot stop themselves from correcting you but they are not mocking you. You can make a note of the point they make or just ignore it.


Totally agree with satishvc, but let me throw something else out: if you make mistakes in a foreign language, then you need to be corrected. You ought to learn - all of us ought to learn - to speak and write a language the right way before learning which rules to ignore or before throwing rules to the wind. Learn the correct spelling, and if that requires correction, then let yourself be corrected. Learn the correct grammar, and if that requires correction, then let yourself be corrected. But although mistakes in and of themselves are not actually that bad, continually bumbling through spelling and grammar without redressing your mistakes is not actually learning the language.

But to piggyback on what satishvc said, I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone "mock" or "rage at" anyone else for a simple mistake, so I'm suspicious that you're just being overly sensitive. That said, I do expect people to be able to fluently speak and write their own language before learning someone else's.


Yes i get it i need someone to tell me what i did wrong but a lot of times people get extremely angry at me you can't have a conversation anymore they will just not get over it this happens a lot to me.


I don't dispute that that happens, but I've never seen it on Duolingo. Example?


Yes of course you don't see it on duolingo this website is made for people who are learning a language people are very tolerant here and i don't think i have ever seen any insults on this website.

Im talking about the rest of the internet and to a lesser extent real life i was on a forum a few years ago talking about history and i made some mistakes and they said to me that i should learn proper English before talking about complicated things like history (they said it in a more rude way)

Even my dad used to get mad if i made mistakes of course not like on the internet but still.


In the example you give, I suspect that the person you were talking to thought you were a badly-educated or careless native speaker of English, rather than someone using a second language.

Many people do have very little patience with carelessness from (perceived) native speakers. Even people who are polite tend to find badly-written content by (perceived) native speakers less credible.

In any instance where you think something like that might be going on, you might get more sympathy and credence if you say that English is not your native language. Or not.

In the long-run, improving your written English will help. I would suggest specifically working on your punctuation. Using non-stop run-on sentences will make you look like a sloppy teenager, which will not enhance your credibility. (Even if you are a teenager, you want to look like one who has been paying attention in class.) Otherwise, your English is pretty good.


I think my best advice is to be bold and keep learning. Don't dwell on negative responses, it's not worth your time or energy.

What IS worth your time is to be open to learning. It's normal to make mistakes. It's even better to learn from them, and if you spend your energy trying to stand up for yourself, that is energy taken away from learning new stuff.

P.S. writing correctly doesn't make a person a grammar elitist. I wouldn't like being called a grammar elitist (I know it's probably not me you're referring to, though my grammar is pretty solid).

If you are so fortunate to have someone helpful take an interest in helping you to write better, take it in, and thank them too. This way you also help them become better teachers.


Were you a psychology major?? I like how you reason. : ) Your words are very helpful and comforting. Thanks.


that's wonderful, I'm glad you found it helpful and comforting. I was not a psychology major, but thanks!


You could also make a Duolingo club (unfortunately that only exists in the mobile version yet!) for the language you want to practice and write in the club description that you also want to practice writing in the language you're learning. It's possible now to type messages in the comment field that appears when someone did lessons in the language/overtook someone... and this way the people who enter the club will already know that you're also interested in having some communication practice in the language and might also be interested in improving their own writing skills. This also has the advantage that it can keep you motivated to practice on Duolingo, though you probably don't need that as you already have a 150 day streak;) )

I'm sure you will manage to come up with a common field of interest that you can write about, or maybe if you have a favourite theme you'd like to write about it could be in the club's name... I think the Duolingo community (or at least the parts of it that I have seen on the forums) are quite supportive and tolerant, if they correct you it is only because they want to help you and not in order to insult/annoy you. You could practice writing there for some time before you go to other internet forums where people sometimes react unfriendly when one makes a mistake. In my own experience people in the clubs have been nice to me and were quite ready to help/translate/explain if I didn't understand something or made mistakes.


I would thank them if they offer corrections, and take their attitude with a grain of salt. If what they say helps, then take what's useful and discard the rest.

If they're just making fun of you it says a lot more about them than it does you. Keep doing your best!

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.