General Etiquette > Techno-quette

Etiquette pertaining to collaborating on documents

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Guess it's time to stop lurking and ask my fair share of etiquette questions.

Right now I have a group project to do which requires some material to be presented to a larger group and my group has decided to script what we're saying using Google Docs. I have one group member whose English is not very good and has asked us to please correct grammar or any other parts which seem troubling.

My question is should I just go straight in and start correcting or utilize the Comments feature? I feel like if I go straight in it seems a little too abrupt and a little brash (especially when there are quite a few areas that I think could use some improvement) but if I just make comments I'm merely pointing out her errors and not actually doing anything.


Ask her! Seeing the dialogue has been opened and she has specifically asked for correction, ask her whether she'd prefer you marked them on the document or just brought them to her attention.

I would use track changes. It lets her see the changes and accept or reject them. (I assume google docs has that feature-if not, you can use Word and Dropbox.

Commenting is unwieldy for grammer changes and makes it more work for everyone. I would suggest adding some general comments as well. Doing nothing but track changes would feel a little abrupt.

Thanks for the responses, guys! I've started making changes after her approval. :)

Slightly belated, but here are my ideas:

1. Use Track Changes, as Beetee suggested. It works the same way as just changing, but it shows her where her mistakes were (and how you fixed them).

2. If you don't have Track Changes available, then use the comment feature to point out mistakes for the first part. (I usually do it for the first page of an essay, but you could also do paragraph.) After that, just correct them without commenting.

3. Either way, offer some general comments at the end to help her focus her revisions in the future. What errors is she making over and over? For instance, maybe she keeps shifting verb tenses or has a tendency to use too many commas. Let her know so she knows what to look for when she does her own proofreading. You can probably just be direct and simple for most mistakes. ("Watch out for run-on sentences.") Use examples and more detail if it is something more obscure, like using the wrong word. ("In most cases, 'affect' is the verb and 'effect' is the noun. You got them mixed up twice, once on page 2 and once on page .")


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