For writers new to InfoBarrel, it can be very discouraging to have an article denied. When you are a novice writer, the writing standards of InfoBarrel may seem impossibly high, especially when you find an article repeatedly rejected for excessive grammar problems or using English awkwardly. However, rather than grumbling at the editors for rejecting your article, you will spend your time more profitably by learning what you can from the experience! (Remember, people pay editors to spot mistakes, and having a manuscript proofread can be quite costly. InfoBarrel reviewers are catching those mistakes for free.) So, take a moment, and follow these guidelines to figure out what the problem is, and how you can improve your acceptance rate.

First of all, don't panic. You are not in trouble, and almost everyone at InfoBarrel has a learning curve. Start by doing a thorough spell-check of the article. However, this is only the first step, as your spell checker will not tell you when you are misusing a word. Also, if you have added misspellings to your spell-checker's dictionary, you will find that many misspelled words pass the spell check. It may be best to remove all the words you have added, and check again. Next, understanding the role of apostrophes, and the difference between homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently) [1] will go a long way towards fixing most grammatical problems. If you can't understand why your article on "How Too Loose Weight" was rejected, you need to begin by looking up words in the dictionary!

Chief Photographer's Mate Wayne Edwards proofreads a rough draft of pages from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) cruise book.
Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Christopher B. Stoltz.Chief Photographer's Mate Wayne Edwards proofreads a rough draft of pages from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) cruise book.

Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Christopher B. Stoltz.Chief Photographer's Mate Wayne Edwards proofreads a rough draft of pages from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) cruise book

Next, check your use of punctuation. Are you using capital letters properly? Do you have unnecessary commas, or too few of them? Does every sentence end with the proper punctuation? Are you italicizing (or better, using the HTML tag "cite" for) the titles of movies and books? Are you using quotation marks properly? (Trust me, no-one wants to drink "special" milk!) Are your adverbs properly placed? And finally, are you using hyphens where needed? Are you missing spaces, or do you have too many spaces?

Finally, read aloud through the article, one sentence at a time, starting from the end and working backwards. (The reason for doing this is to avoid thinking you know what comes next and missing an error.) Does each sentence have a complete subject and verb, and does it make sense? If that fails, take a piece of construction paper and cut out just enough space to read one word at a time. Go over your article word by word, until you find the mistake.

If all else fails, find that person you made fun of in school for being so picky with English grammar. Repair that relationship, and humbly ask them to teach you where you are going wrong. You will probably be amazed at how much you are capable of learning!

And remember, it's not the end of the world if an article gets denied. Simply correct your errors, and resubmit the article. If it is denied again, keep working on correcting those grammar mistakes until your article is of high enough quality to pass review. Search engines are beginning to penalize articles with poor grammar and spelling, (called LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing), and it's quite possible that the search engines will analyze the grammar of your article, and decide not to direct traffic to your articles for a year or more. Additionally, too many grammar errors could have the entire InfoBarrel site de-indexed from search. The search engines are much more picky than any human editor will ever be, because they are computers! The human InfoBarrel editors who reject your article are saving you from such a fate, by alerting you to errors that will drop your article in the rankings. So take heart, and be thankful that the InfoBarrel editors are smart enough to catch the mistakes you didn't catch yourself.

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
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(price as of Jan 11, 2016)
This tiny and inexpensive book should be the starting point for all writers. While some of the advice may seem dated for modern readers, The Elements of Style is practical and useful for everyone who wishes to write well.

What Not to Do

Don't post your article in its entirety in the forums and ask people to tell you what is wrong with it. This will work against you because Google and other search engines will see your article (if it is published later) as duplicate content and will penalize your article.

In addition, the people reading the InfoBarrel forum (and forums on other sites) are people who make money writing. By asking them to work for you for free, in order for you to make money, you are depriving them of their income. Further, there are people whose job it is to find and correct grammatical mistakes and spelling errors. These people are called editors, and you are depriving them of work as well. After all, if you had a taxi cab, you would not demand that your auto mechanic diagnose the car's problems and fix your taxi for free!

Don't complain about the rejection software. Each article (until the time that you reach preapproval) is not scanned by software, but read by a real, live person. It isn't a matter of gaming the system to get your article past some program, but making your writing acceptable to the standards of the InfoBarrel community. 

Harbrace College Handbook : With 1998 MLA Style Manual Updates, 13th Revised Edition (Hodges Harbrace Handbook)
Amazon Price: $47.95 $11.63 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 11, 2016)
If you have one of these lying around from your college English course, count yourself lucky! If not, this is the perfect all-in-one reference book for English grammar.