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Due to the international user base, small and big grammar mistakes are unavoidable on this SE. The top priority here is math, not grammar. And that's how it should be!

Despite that, I would actually appreciate any grammar corrections/edits of my posts. Since they would help me to improve my English writing. Maybe other users share this opinion.

  • Is it OK to ask for grammar corrections?

  • Is there a good way to indicate grammar corrections/edits are welcome?

For example, a short sentence at the end of a post could do the job (or less annoying, in the profile description).

But I see many drawbacks, for example asking for grammar corrections cases a shift of focus and effort away from the mathematics. And it is selfish, since the corrections are only relevant for the writer of a post and the benefits for the community are minor.

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  • $\begingroup$ A rationale for rejecting an edit: This edit does not make the post even a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are either completely superfluous or actively harm readability. - from Review: Suggested Edits. $\endgroup$ – TheSimpliFire Aug 11 '18 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ So I guess that more accurate could refer to grammatical/spelling errors, in which case it would be OK. $\endgroup$ – TheSimpliFire Aug 11 '18 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ In fact, this is encouraged. See here. $\endgroup$ – TheSimpliFire Aug 11 '18 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ I see nothing wrong with leaving a comment below any post for which you'd welcome grammatical corrections. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Aug 11 '18 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ I suggested doing so in a comment below your post, instead of as part of your post because I think that will help keep the focus on the mathematical question in your post, while also communicating, in comments, that users should feel free to edit any potential grammatical/spelling errors in the post. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Aug 11 '18 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ @TheSimpliFire Correcting a grammar error in a sentence makes that sentence easier to parse and thus easier to read. IMO it is not selfish -- the benefits for the community are as great as they can be because future readers will not be puzzled by the former ungrammatical version of the sentence. $\endgroup$ – Rosie F Aug 14 '18 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ Isa: There is no instruction that auto generates such a comment. If one is sincerely interested to have grammar and such corrected, it is best to say so, each and every time one posts a question. The alternative would be to include such a comment in every single post one asks; though it is much more fitting to place the comment as a comment below one's question. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Aug 15 '18 at 22:53
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    $\begingroup$ @RosieF I think you have unfortunately misunderstood TheSimplFire's point. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Aug 15 '18 at 22:54
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    $\begingroup$ There's also mathematical grammar, i.e. grammar in the jargon of mathematics that does not apply elsewhere. For example, it is standard and conventional to say $$ A = B \text{ for } n = 1,\ldots,n. $$ or to say $$ A=B \text{ for every } n\in \{ 1,\ldots, n\}. $$ but NOT to say $$ \require{cancel} \xcancel{A=B \text{ for every } n = 1,\ldots,n.\vphantom{\frac{\displyastyle\int}{\displyastyle\int}}} $$ But that last usage occurs among those not so familiar with the language. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Aug 16 '18 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Isa : In math courses and from books. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Aug 19 '18 at 17:07
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    $\begingroup$ @lsa: In most cases, people can't remember where they first learned a particular usage, when the usage is very common. Most people learn mathematical grammar and jargon organically while they learn math. In this case I agree with Michael Hardy's assessment of the three examples in his comment - "for every $n = 1, \ldots m$" is not idiomatic in professional mathematical English. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Aug 19 '18 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy Well, it would not be standard or conventional to have $n$ appear both as the index and as its final value. $\endgroup$ – 6005 Aug 25 '18 at 2:53
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    $\begingroup$ Well, it's a typo, not a grammar correction, but "cases" in your last paragraph should be "causes" :-p $\endgroup$ – postmortes Aug 25 '18 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ :) and I tried so hard to get them all... Thanks for spotting it. $\endgroup$ – Steffen Plunder Aug 25 '18 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @6005 : You're quite right; I was hasty and clumsy. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy Aug 25 '18 at 19:47
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Ideally, there should be no need to specifically ask for grammar corrections.

As TheSimplyFire pointed out in comments, fixing grammar is one of the reasons other users should edit a post. Editing is one important aspect of all StackExchange sites that improves the quality of the content, and is also one of the reasons that StackOverflow has become the resource for programming.

Why should people edit other peoples posts?

All contributions are licensed under Creative Commons, and this site is collaboratively edited, like Wikipedia. If you see something that needs improvement, click edit!

Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you.

This basically means that if gramatical errors are not fixed, then high rep users of this site that also have necessary language competence for English, are not doing what is expected of them on the site.

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  • $\begingroup$ You clearly answer why grammatical correctness is one of the community goals already. But for me, amWhy's comment is also valuable, since if a post of mine feels grammatically wrong (but I can't fix it), I will now put a comment below and ask for help/corrections (without feeling bad about it). Would you agree? $\endgroup$ – Steffen Plunder Aug 17 '18 at 0:02
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    $\begingroup$ On math.SE we are much less encouraging of editing others' questions and answers than other Stackexchange sites might be. In general, only the most obvious "grammar" fixes ought to be made on this site - ones where the meaning is completely clear despite the grammar issue. Otherwise, it's better to allow the original person to correct the issue themselves. For users who are actually very fluent in English, but chose a particular usage intentionally, it is unpleasant to see someone else edit their post to "correct" it. Each SE site has its own culture with regard to these things. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Aug 19 '18 at 18:47

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