Wikipedia:WikiProject Cross-language Editing and Learning Exchange/Effective partnerships

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To learn the most from the Cross-language Editing and Learning Exchange, it is important to work closely with your partner. To effectively help your partner learn a language, you should do more than just correct their writing mistakes (although you should do that). You should note what they have done well, and provide tips and feedback so that they can learn from their language errors. There are many different ways to provide feedback, and your learning partner and you should choose a method that works best for both of you. If you do not have a preferred method, you may consider the following approach, based on Hu (2005).[1]

1) Read the writing carefully, focusing on the author's intended meaning.

Instances where the words might not match the meaning include:

  • False cognates (where a word looks similar in both languages, but has different meanings). For example, the Spanish word "ropa" may appear similar to the English word "rope", but in fact means "clothing".
  • Homonyms (words that sound the same but have different spellings). For example, the English words "read" and "reed".
2) Respond to broad-scale issues
  • Content: Does the article adequately cover the topic? Is it appropriate for an encyclopedia? Is it presented in a neutral manner?
  • Audience: Does it contain all of the information a reader will need to understand the topic? Remember that readers from different cultures will not have the same background knowledge that you do.
  • Organization: Does the lead paragraph include an adequate summary of the article? Are appropriate headings and subheadings used, and does the information in the text below match the heading?
3) Address language issues
  • Edit the text as you would a normal Wikipedia article. Be sure to correct all language, grammar, and sentence structure issues you notice.
  • If you are not sure about the meaning, do not make assumptions! Ask about it on the talk page. If you think you know the meaning, but are not positive, explain the difference between the original and what you intend. For example:

"In the third paragraph, when you say 'born by Rome' I think you mean 'born near Rome' (that is, close to the city of Rome, but not inside it), but you might have meant 'born in Rome' (that is, born inside the city). Please check this."

4) Provide language tips
  • On the talk page, describe language errors that you noticed. You do not need to discuss every language error, especially for longer articles. Instead, focus on mistakes that were made several times or that might be especially confusing to readers. Think about what changes will most improve your partner’s writing. If your partner already writes very well, note the small errors that they may have made. If your partner has made larger errors, focus on those.
  • Also, give tips on differences in community norms between Wikipedias. For example, the English Wikipedia discourages adding wikilinks to years ("born in 1973…"), while this is common on some other Wikipedias.
  • Examples can be very helpful in showing the correct form.
5) Write a note to your partner on the talk page
  • Remember that different cultures have different ways of providing correction! Be polite, assume good faith, and try to avoid causing offense through accidental language and cultural misunderstandings.
  • This can include both the questions you had above, and the language tips you are providing. One set of guidelines for writing peer review notes is the following (adapted from Chisholm, 1991):[2]

a) Identify the best aspects of the article. What did you partner do well, both in terms of writing and in terms of other aspects of the article (referencing, formatting, use of wikilinks, use of images, etc.)?

b) Describe the article. You should include what you think the main points of the article are, to make sure that they match what your partner intended to emphasize.

c) Ask questions from Step 3 above.

d) Give language tips from Step 4 above.

e) Suggest additional changes they could make, such as reordering sections, adding further references or information, or another article that they could write.


Hi ExampleUser!

I enjoyed reading your article on Example City. Your writing was very good, and this article will make a valuable contribution to the English Wikipedia.


1. When you say in the first paragraph that: "Example City is the biggest city in Example Province", do you mean that it has the most people, or that it covers the largest area?


Language tips:

1. When you are referring to a single day, use the preposition "on": "Example City was founded on April 12, 1844". However, when referring to longer periods, like months or years, use "in": "Example City became the capital in 1925".


Other comments:

1. I would recommend adding a city infobox to the article. You can find the template here.

2. English Wikipedia does not have an article about Example Province! If you are looking for another article to write, you could write that one.

Please ask me if you have any other questions or want me to look at another revision of the article. You can reach me at my talk page here[wikilink]. Cheers, ExampleEditor


  1. ^ Hu, G (2005). "Using peer review with Chinese ESL student writers". Language Teaching Research. 9 (3): 321–342.
  2. ^ Chisholm, R. M. (1991). "Introducing students to peer review of writing". Writing Across the Curriculum. 3 (1): 4–19.