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Tips for Critiquing Other People’s Writing

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Being a critique is not an easy task. You have to be really fair and precise. You always have to be honest and objective about the writing and you cannot give the writer false hopes. However, if you are a beginner then here are a few tips for you to help you with critiquing other people’s writing –

  • Take the task seriously – It’s true that you do not need any special abilities or have to be an expert to review other’s writing. What you have to do is, you have to take the task seriously and tolerate it. You might not like the task, but when you are doing it, do it properly. Do not just simply refuse to critique a paper just because you do not like the subject. Be a sport and evaluate each and every paper that comes your way. You will be helping out a writer with a lot of ideas and the writer can learn new ways to communicate well with the readers.
  • Always ask for a neat and clean copy – If the handwriting is not good or it’s messy, then you might not be able to read it properly. So ask for a neat and clean copy, preferably a typed one.
  • Your job is to evaluate the writing, not the writer – A good critique never mixes ups the writer with writing. You should only evaluate the writing and not the writer. Whether it’s the compliments or the criticisms, everything should be based on how he or she wrote it and not who wrote it.
  • Start with positivity and end with the same – When you are critiquing and providing feedback, always begin with what are the strong points of the sample. Refer to strengths and not weaknesses. Always use some positive words to explain what kind of improvements should be made.
  • Be precise – The critique should always be concise, clear and active. Do not make it vague or passive. Also, when you are pointing out issues, suggest solutions along with that too. The job is to make the writer able to communicate with the reader.
  • Be open for questions – Always be open for questions from the writer. The writer might have a lot of questions in his or her mind. Invite those questions and answer them properly. Always be open for clarifications and discussions.
  • Follow up really helps – Follow up the writer after you have finished critiquing his paper. Ask him if he has made any progress. Help him with any further helps when he needs it. Always make sure that your words should not hurt the writer.
  • Know your own limits – Your writer may ask you for a second look at his paper, may be third time on the same and so on. But make sure you establish a boundary for yourself about how much time you are going to invest in the same paper. Plan according to it.

So here are a few tips on how to critique other people’s work. Remember not to be harsh. Although, always be precise and honest. Good luck!

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