As a researcher, I recently received a review with a sentence that I do not fully understand.

The reviewer writes:

This seems not a research study rather than just a suggestion for solving a problem of simple question.

(Let us let aside the fact that the review is not particularly positive.)

What does "a problem of simple question" mean?

  • A (not necessarily simple) problem, together with a question which is described with simple words?
  • An utterly simple problem? (I favor this.)
  • Anything else?

Before answering, I want to be 100% sure of the meaning. I tried to find occurrences of this form in the Internet, with only 1-2 matches.

Side question: does this form look natural to a native speaker?

  • 3
    It's bad English. The writer possibly means "a simple problem". Feb 1, 2021 at 10:38
  • I see... I always assume that the writer is native, and makes no mistake! Feb 1, 2021 at 10:45
  • Possibly the writer's native language is a Romance language e.g. French. Feb 1, 2021 at 11:37
  • 3
    I’m voting to close this question because there's no point in us trying to analyse text from a non-native speaker who's not available to ask for clarification. Feb 1, 2021 at 13:08
  • @MichaelHarvey: I am French, and this is does not look French to me. The nationality of the (anonymous) reviewer is not known to me... Feb 1, 2021 at 13:33

1 Answer 1


As @MichaelHarvey states, this is poor grammar, almost certainly not from a native speaker.

That being said, it seems fairly clear to me that the reviewer is saying that in his opinion, the research topic you are talking about is of too low a level to be worthy of . So, if you are talking about a PhD thesis, then he is saying it is only really worthy of a standard paper, or if that, then should maybe only have been a footnote.

  • This review is for a paper I submitted. This is the opinion of one reviewer, but the other two disagreed. Feb 1, 2021 at 13:34

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