You’re reading an article about writing, which means you probably have a bit of bad writing to comment on. Maybe it’s an article you’re commenting on, or perhaps it’s even something you’ve written. No matter what, you want to comment on it in a way that makes the author better and provides value to the reader.
There are many ways to comment on bad writing, but if you want to keep it simple, you can cite specific examples of problems and offer solutions. In this article, we’ll teach you how to comment on bad writing in a way that makes it easier for the writer to receive feedback and improves the overall quality of their work. We’ll cover the following topics:
Start With General Comments
Although you might not agree with everything an author says, you can still provide value by sharing your thoughts on the topic at hand. As a general rule of thumb, begin every comment with a general comment about the article—what it’s about, how it relates to you, etc. This makes it easier for the author to follow your comment thread, as they’ll know exactly what they’re supposed to respond to. If you feel like you’re not adding value with your general comment, feel free to move on to more specific issues.
Make Specific Comments
Once you’ve established a small bit of credibility with your general comment, it’s time to dive into the meat of the matter. Make specific comments on the topic at hand by providing support for the writer’s claims or presenting arguments in opposition to the author’s position. When commenting, always remember: the more you say, the more you’ll say. Make sure you’re always adding value and engaging with the reader with your comments. If you’re commenting on a piece meant to be published, always remember to couch your comments in language that will make the author listen to you. For example, instead of saying “This article is terrible,” which they’re most likely to ignore, you can say “The premise of the article is wrong. Here’s why…”
Use The Tools At Hand
There are many writing tools available online that can make the process of editing and formatting much simpler. If you’ve got access to these tools, take advantage of them. Online tools like Grammarly and Spellchecker can really help with grammar and spelling, and there’s nothing more frustrating for an author than to spend hours fixing a tiny mistake only to find out that their work is still riddled with errors when they publish.
Don’t Forget The Good
No one is perfect, which is why we need to keep commenting. Sometimes, an article will just miss the mark, and although it might not seem like it, there’s always something to be said for its author. Even when an article is bad, there’s usually still something valuable in it. In order to comment constructively on bad writing, maintain a healthy amount of skepticism and try not to get too attached to the piece you’re commenting on. This will help you see the good in even the most poorly written article.
As an online editor, I get paid to read bad writing and provide comments on articles. The fact that you’re reading an article on how to comment indicates that you, too, might be paid to comment on other people’s writing. No matter what, no one’s perfect, and as long as there’s a discussion, there’s always the possibility of improvement.