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If someone wrote something wrong and I want to tell him that all of what he wrote is wrong can I say: "You haven't even written any thing right" or should I use the past simple?

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    "Nothing you wrote is correct." or "Everything you wrote is incorrect"
    – Andrew
    May 23, 2017 at 1:27
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    Have you already read several of the Q&A with tag past-vs-present-perfect? This is a subtle distinction in English, but the essential difference has been explained again and again on ell.stackexchange. Long story short, either could be correct depending on nuance and, as a learner, I wouldn't worry too much. I'd say, "Absolutely nothing you've written [here] is correct," but only if I were feeling confrontational. ;) Jul 27, 2017 at 18:23
  • I don't think "to write something wrong" is a valid collection -- you may write clearly, well, badly, etc. The "wrong" relates to what you have written, not to how you have done it. So I think you have to explain what you mean by 'right" in your example: grammar or factuality.
    – Victor B.
    Jul 27, 2017 at 21:10

2 Answers 2

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You haven't written a single thing (or word) right.

The line above is a hyperbolic statement written in the Present Perfect, it suggests that when the person began writing, e.g. a message, an assignment, an email etc. up to the moment they paused, they have continually made writing mistakes. It may even suggest that the person has just finished, and the speaker is scrutinizing the piece of writing at that precise moment.

Imagine a person who started writing at 09.00 in the morning and ‘now’ it's 10.30, the person may still be writing or have just finished, but every line in the text contains an error of some sort. A friend who checks their writing for spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes (proofreading), might say

Your writing is riddled with mistakes (or errors)

Note, the Present Simple tense is used here because we are stating a fact.

riddle
2. adjective [verb-link ADJECTIVE with noun]
If something is riddled with undesirable qualities or features, it is full of them.

The first sentence, which was written in PP, can also be rewritten as

You didn't write a single thing right

This construction is more common in American English, it doesn't matter if the time is mentioned or not, nor when the writing was completed. For many speakers of AmEng, the event is understood to have occurred at a specified point in time.

However, if the errors are related to typography blunders for instance, writing Queen Elizabeth I instead of Queen Elizabeth II, or writing dosen't instead of doesn't, you would call that a typo. Typos include spelling and punctuation inaccuracies that typically occur when someone types fast on a keyboard.

If the information given is incorrect for instance, someone writes that Queen Elizabeth I married Sir Francis Drake, you would say that statement was "completely wrong". In fact, she never married.

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As @Andrew commented you can say, "Everything you wrote is incorrect."

You can use the Present Perfect or the Past Simple, but I'd choose Past Simple.

  1. "Everything you have written is incorrect." - Present Perfect
  2. "Everything you wrote is incorrect." - Past Simple

You can also say, "All that you wrote is incorrect" or something like "There isn't a single correct sentence in your text" depending on the context.

You can use the word "wrong" but it would rather mean something that shouldn't be in the text than something ungrammatical. Like in:

  • This sentence is wrong. - The thing written in the sentence isn't true or is bad or is out of context.
  • This sentence is incorrect. - There is something wrong with punctuation, grammar, or spelling.
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    The use of one or the other depends on what you intend to say or want to say and when you say it. It's not just a simple binomial choice. I have tried to explain this to you in another question but apparently I didn't do a good job of it or it didn't sink in....
    – Lambie
    Jul 27, 2017 at 18:32
  • @Lambie I can't recall it. Jul 27, 2017 at 18:46
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    A sentence can be grammatical or ungrammatical. It's an assumption, or an idea, or an interpretation that can be wrong. And it's grammar or information that may be incorrect in a sentence, IMO
    – Victor B.
    Jul 27, 2017 at 20:56
  • but what is the problem with this statement: " you did not write well", does it make sense also?
    – Mahran
    Jan 7, 2018 at 4:02

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