(I searched in the history but didn't seem to find similar question/discussion. But I'm also guessing I may not be the first person to ask about this question. Would appreciate if anyone could point me to an earlier discussion post or decision.)

This site, English Language Learners (ELL), has many tags for focused areas of learning English. However, being an English learner myself, oftentimes I hope someone could review not just a sentence or two but a whole essay/passage that I write.

I'm aware of the tags such as sentence-structure that aim at improving learners' ability to construct better sentences. However, writing a whole essay is quite different from writing a sentence: the former needs more attention to, for example, thinking logically, avoiding repetitive thus boring sentence structures and word/phrase choices, as well as using the appropriate word to deliver the exact meaning in the author's mind.

So I'm thinking about whether it's appropriate to create a new tag (e.g., essay-review) on ELL for this purpose, or maybe a whole new site proposal is a better fit.

At the first glance, such reviews may not fit the purpose of Stack Exchange: Even an essay is usually much longer than a sentence, so there can be potentially many places to improve. One review may not cover all such places. But when there are multiple reviews, how could the OP pick one and accept it as the "answer" to the question?

For this kind of concerns, I'm thinking about the following points:

  1. Refer to the site Code Review on which programmers post their code for peer reviews. Usually, one review can give a quite good coverage of all the major issues in the code which is usually accepted as the answer to the question, while the other answers provide additional suggestions and the OP can just up-vote the answers to give credits.
  2. We can limit the length of the essays to be reviewed. It should be at least a paragraph that describes a particular thing so it has a focus. Meanwhile, it should not be so long that exhaust the reviewers. I want to refer to the length of a piece of GRE analytical writing which is roughly 500 words (see How Long Should Your GRE Essay Be?).
  3. We need to ask the authors to provide their topics that the essays are written about so the reviewers can evaluate more effectively whether the authors have succeeded in achieving the writing goals. The essays are not limited to analytical writing. They could also tell a simple story or be artistic to describe a scene that the authors want to share with others (e.g., a scene in a tranquil forest).

Any thoughts?

  • 5
    Proofreading questions are off-topic on ELL and ELU, and always have been, and rightly so. Please refer to this, this, and this
    – Eddie Kal
    Sep 19, 2021 at 18:04
  • 4
    Reviewing even one sentence is outside the scope of this site. This isn’t a tutoring site. It’s supposed to be a site where we answer questions about English that many people have, so that the next person who has a similar question will be able to find an answer. There are sites set up for proofreading, like hinative.com or reddit.com/r/Proofreading
    – ColleenV
    Sep 19, 2021 at 18:36
  • 3
    I want to refer to the length of a piece of GRE analytical writing which is roughly 500 words Do you have any idea the number of errors a 500-word essay written by a non-native speaker can contain? Have you ever corrected/proofread a foreign student's 120-word essay? We're not just talking about misspellings, but weird phrases, odd collocations, word order, grammatical errors and the list goes on. And then after identifying the errors (not stylistic ones) the author would expect the answerer to explain the errors. Proofreading requests should and will always be off-topic.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 20, 2021 at 7:42
  • 2
    Creating a site for proofreading essays will never work unless the people reviewing the work are compensated in some way. This belongs to the world of work. Which user would spend an hour correcting someone's piece of work for an upvote? How would you separate competent English speakers from competent English writers the two do not automatically go hand in hand.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 20, 2021 at 7:50
  • @ColleenV Thanks for the links! (I didn't realize reddit has a section for this.)
    – yaobin
    Sep 20, 2021 at 14:04
  • You're welcome. There is also a link to a language learning discord server in Resources for learning english that might help although it's not specifically about proofreading.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 20, 2021 at 14:07

1 Answer 1


A different site would be best. Reviewing with an editor's eye in English is hard enough when the writer knows English. When the writer doesn't, it's a whole 'nother ballgame.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .