One of my questions (https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/129874/help-rewording-a-sentence) has been put on hold by several users, with the following reason being given:

'Proofreading questions are off-topic unless a specific source of concern in the text is clearly identified.'

Personally, I disagree with this comment. In my question, I clearly state that I am looking for help in the phrasing such that it flows better. i.e. I am concerned about the words that I am using and finding a better way to express the concept.... This is not proof-reading: I have not asked if there are spelling mistakes etc and am not asking for it to be corrected. Simply a suggestion as to whether the phrasing can be improved - which I would argue is part of 'english language usage'.

Could you therefore clarify for me what would be acceptable to ask within the realm of grammar/language usage. I ask as the links to other questions on the right hand side of the page show questions that, to me at least, are more specifically looking for help via proof-reading, but these have several 'up votes'.

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    From the FAQ: The following are out of scope: • Proofreading ("are there any mistakes?"), unless the source of concern is clearly specified.Writing advice or critique requests (see Writers.SE instead—note critique requests must meet their criteria) – Peter Shor Oct 6 '13 at 1:16
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    Asking vaguely "is there a better way to word this" is a form of proofreading. If you have a specific question about usage of a word or phrase, you could make the question on-topic. – Lynn Oct 6 '13 at 5:07
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    What @Lynn said. There are several deficiencies in OP's phrasing, and it's not really possible for us to pick out any one in particular for special attention. For example, I personally think a specific point that applies in both the original and this meta post is that using state instead of say/write is inherently "confrontational". ELU could collectively pronounce on whether my position there is justifiable, and I think such a question would be On Topic. But OP hasn't focussed on that (or any other) specific usage, so it's not. – FumbleFingers Oct 6 '13 at 16:17

Simply a suggestion as to whether the phrasing can be improved - which I would argue is part of 'english language usage'.

One of our goals on EL&U is to avoid most questions that can typically be answered with a boring, "Yes." In this case, of course it could be improved. Most phrasings could be improved.

If you have a specific concern about the usage of a word or phrase than please edit your question to highlight that concern.

If you are unable to phrase the question that way then you can always ask in our chat room for more generic advice.

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  • This user can't ask in chat because that requires 20 rep. But as general advice, I agree. – Matt E. Эллен Oct 9 '13 at 9:47

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