Hello,

How easily can you tell if a person is a native speaker or not basing on how their posts are written?
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AnonymousHello,

How easily can you tell if a person is a native speaker or not basing on how their posts are written?

I think I can tell pretty easily, but there are a few people I'm not sure about. I could be wrong and just not know it. Sometimes it is a formal tone or an unusual combination of words, rather than an error, that makes me think someone isn't a native speaker/writer.
I'm a Vietnamese and I feel that native speakers have a more complicated way of using English than non-native speakers . Sometimes I can't understand what they are talking about . Maybe because my English is not good enough . Of course not as good as native speakers Emotion: big smile
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I'm Italian and of course English is not my native language. I learned most of what I know watching movies, reading a lots of books and studying grammar sometimes (not much I have to confess) and talking to people over the internet. Sometimes I'm really confused about the correct word to use and worried about writing meaningless phrases which could offend someone. Well, I'm here to learn. I don't feel ashamed (maybe just a little) about my ignorance because (I think) even a native speaker, sometimes, can make mistakes. Emotion: embarrassed
WombatI'm Italian and of course English is not my native language. I learned most of what I know watching movies, reading a lots of books and studying grammar sometimes (not much I have to confess) and talking to people over the internet. Sometimes I'm really confused about the correct word to use and worried about writing meaningless phrases which could offend someone. Well, I'm here to learn. I don't feel ashamed (maybe just a little) about my ignorance because (I think) even a native speaker, sometimes, can make mistakes. Emotion: embarrassed

Wombat,

You are right! I make lots of mistakes. Speading some time on this forum makes me more aware of that than I used to be. (And that isn't even counting the times I try to use Spanish.)Emotion: smile
Lots of native speakers have terrible grammar and writing skills, so don't feel bad about making some mistakes while you are learning.

Once people get to a certain level of English it can be quite hard to tell if they are native speakers or not. The giveaway is not so much gramatical error but things like incorrect use of slang, unnatural collocations, using obsolete words and phrases and so on. That's why I'd always advice learners to steer clear of trying to use slang or trying to get too clever with their language.
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I think the native speakers tend to make many more complex sentences than non-natives. We embed, we omit, we sometimes try to join many thoughts into one sentence. So it's not correct or incorrect use, but how complicated are sentences are, I think.

And Wombat, as I was reading your post, I thought "Is this guy really not a native speaker?"

We make SO many mistakes, and that's why I chose my name here - among native speakers, people do call me a grammar geek, because I'm the one who is more likely to know "the rules," but after coming here I realize how poor my knowledge is. People who are learning using a grammar book have names for parts of speech I've never heard of! To think I'd lived 39 years before ever hearing the word "ergative"!
Native speakers know their language from the childhood, with all slangs, expressions. And when you learn other language, it`s usually starts from more literary language. Also learning language you learn its grammar even more heartily , than grammar of yours native language Emotion: big smile
Grammar GeekI think the native speakers tend to make many more complex sentences than non-natives.

Do they? I think people who write posts soundling like excerpts from doctoral dissertations the writer is most likely a non-native speaker... Native speakers usually use a more vivid and relaxed language.
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