Fiverr Forum

Who is a native English speaker?

Most buyers requests writing gigs, often come with a caveat emptor “only native English speakers,” should apply.
Though the Cambridge dictionary defines a native English speaker as: “someone who has spoken a particular language since they were a baby, rather than having learned it as a child or adult”
Most buyers often limit would-be eligible sellers to residents of the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
By narrow Western understanding, those are the only native speakers of English, but that is all wrong. Most of us come from English speaking countries, with as many as 350 local languages. This language fragmentation makes it impossible for us to interact officially in any other language apart from English.
We are just as fluent in English as a native of London or New York.
I wasn’t making any sales with my writing gig on Twitter, till I ran into someone on Twitter, who hired me to write for their Agency, here on Fiverr. Some of the buyers, who merely got in touch, but never bought my Nigerian writing gig, happily purchased from the Agency account and left rave reviews for the articles I wrote.

I’m doing a bit of Buyer’ education here. Until this perception wanes, fake accounts with fake locations will continue to thrive, no matter how stringent the Fiverr checks are.
We have produced literary giants like Wole Soyinka, the Nobel winner; Chinua Achebe, the author of ‘Things Fall Apart’; Chimamanda Adichie the fiery feminist, heating up the American polity; and Dr. Nnedi Okoroafor.

It is not only residents of the big five English speaking nations that are native English speakers. We are native speakers too.

Since you are here, I’m a Tech Writer, specializing in Digital Transformation (AI, Machine Learning, IoT, Blockchain, Electric &Autonomous cars, Drones, and the commercialization of space travel)
We should work together.

P/S: I’m not cheap.

To read another view on this topic, follow this link:
Mod note: links removed


While I do agree with most of what you say, I will point out that your post is littered with many a grammatical error.

I’m certainly not against hiring someone from Nigeria, nor Madagascar, nor Bangladesh, nor any other country. While I may hesitate to call these “native speakers” I will absolutely agree to the term “fluent.”

However, if I’m hiring someone to write an article, I’m looking for quality content as well as near impeccable English and formatting. I have no gripes about rejecting an American writer not up to my standards. Whither they hail from is far inferior to what they can deliver.


You don’t appear to have any live gigs at the moment, so it’s hard to tell if you’re cheap or not. :wink:


5.52% of the world population.

The preceding has been brought to you be the “Words mean things coalition.”


One unfortunate thing is that very few buyers read the forum. A few come to the forum only when they are leaving Fiverr since they want to rant. Most happy buyers don’t even think about using the forum. Even if you prefer to do buyer education, on the forum you are mainly speaking to sellers. Some sellers do buy gigs but not many are likely to be your desired audience.

This is probably true and I don’t think that will change easily. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible. One of the best writers I know on Fiverr currently lives in Greece and has Greece listed on her profile. She is actually UK born and is a native speaker, but having Greece on her profile as her honest location has not hindered her one bit.

Buyers will learn more about your English from your gig descriptions and your sample work than the location listed on your profile, especially since the location can be faked as you mentioned. If you have a reasonable number of good reviews, a buyer will probably risk a purchase if your description is well written, your samples are good, and you have some price point that allows them to try you out. My prices aren’t dirt cheap and some potential buyers tell me honestly that they won’t believe my fluency until they buy a gig. I can offer them a lower word count than my packages have if they want a sample purchase.

A buyer who tries a gig and feels “tricked” when the delivery appears to be from a non-native speaker will obviously not buy again. They will probably also take fewer risks in the future, so once a buyer is burned, they are more likely to limit their search to certain regions and profiles that look very transparent.

As a shorter version of all of the above I totally agree with this:


Thank you. This made me laugh. Laughs have been scarce this week. :bowing_woman:

(I still get the OP’s point as well as yours, but I don’t think either is as important as a good chuckle.)


I would appreciate if you are specific about my grammatical errors, we learn everyday.


You’re right. Laughing often, keeps the Doctor away.


Everything you said here is true. That’s a perspective I didn’t embrace earlier. Thanks for the enlightenment.


Yea, you’re right.
But, I’m not cheap!!


Yes, you are right. I am from India and here we speak English a lot. India has over 200 local languages and it is not possible for us to learn each and every one of them. An average Indian knows at least three languages, English included. I studied from an English medium school, read every subject in English, wrote my tests (each and every one of them except the vernacular language tests) in English and to any native English speaker’s utter surprise, my first language in school was English. I have been writing and speaking English since I was a baby. I have seen many buyers specify ‘sellers respond from UK, USA, Australia only’ and this hurts.


I can understand why this is frustrating but at the same time consider how frustrating it is for a buyer when they get a delivery and the text does not read how it should.
I work in both US and UK English and while they are similar and have similar rules, the fact is that I as a native UK English speaker will express things in a different way to how an American might. Add in that different states in the US also have major differences and you begin to see why there can be difficulties. For online content, US English is generally fine for anywhere because it is the language of the internet. However, most African and Asian English speakers are brought up with UK English. In the Middle East, it is more US English.

I have a number of Australian clients and while their basic language rules are the same as in the UK, there are often times when I have to look up phrases to understand what they mean - I will never use those phrases when writing for them.

Similarly, I have hired English speakers from various African and Asian countries and find that how they write is just different to either UK or US. Some countries use more basic/simple English while others are extremely bombastic in their choice of words meaning that neither actually reads as if written by a UK or US English speaker. I’m not going to start pointing out differences between individual countries as it may seem like I am being insulting, but I can honestly say that in my work as a proofreader, I can almost always tell the country of origin of a writer by the type of English used.

For those who don’t come across such a variety of writing as I do, they can not understand these differences and just assume that the reason for the differences is down to someone not being a native English speaker so that is why they then demand a native speaker in their next request.

Some tips for writing US English:

  • Firstly, use the spell check on Word. This will help with honor/honour, behavior/behaviour etc.
  • Consider changing or rephrasing any words you use that have more than 7-8 letters. Obviously common words like lighthouse, wheelbarrow etc are fine but others like “enlightenment” are just not commonly used.
  • Consider the audience. Is it academic? If not, the reading level aimed for should be Middle or High School level. Use online reading difficulty checkers to assess your writing.

Welcome to my Fiverr world, adding to this that I have to translate it or even worse, proofread it in Spanish!

I do understand what you’re talking about, this also happens with Spanish speakers and imagine, if you have this issues in English, what their magnitude are in Spanish…

End of OT

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The correct grammar would be “I studied AT an English medium school”. One does not study from a school.


Thank you for pointing it out. I might have made a mistake in that preposition while writing the reply. :slight_smile:

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It’s Nnedi Okorafor, not Okoroafor, and she was born and raised in the US; her parents are Nigerian.

I know a woman from Australia who married a man from Nigeria; his four children (from his first marriage) had huge problems in Australian schools because English spoken in Nigeria is not the same as English spoken in Australia, and the kids had trouble understanding what was said in the class.

The same goes for a bunch of other countries. Yes, people speak English there, but it’s not US English or UK English, and if the target audience of the articles are, say, Americans, the articles will sound strange to them.


But you see the point? I speak enough Italian to do most anything in Italy, but I would be kidding myself to suggest that I should have a gig offering Italian translation.

That’s the point here. There are true differences between the native speaker’s ability and the abilities of someone who may have a second or third language.

The mistake you pointed out in my reply would be invisible to a native English speaker, whereas yours was glaringly harsh to the ear.

It is like when we see on an almost daily basis in the forums “I have not had a sale since 5 weeks”.

I am not trying to argue with you, but you have to admit that almost any speaker is going to be more proficient in their native tongue. And people who are paying for a service should expect that obvious mistakes like the one I pointed out, are not present.


yes we learn every day in our life

Neither am I trying to argue with you. I think online tools like grammarly would help us not to make such silly mistakes and yes, there are things we learn everyday. I am not as experienced as you are, I just came here because I have good writing skills (quality wise). Prepositions and phrasal verbs always betrayed me in the tests. :joy:

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What I am trying to say is I have literally lived my 19 years in an environment surrounded by English speaking people. I had to write my tests in English and studied English to such an extent that my writing skills are not as good in my mother tongue(Bengali). When clients do not need an article for a targeted audience, they must give some non native speakers a chance.