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

Proofreading: ("Is this right?", "Are there any mistakes?"), unless the source of concern is clearly specified

Can we define "specific source of concern?"

My question: Are the words "big and "huge" colloquial?

I asked a clear question "Are the words 'big' and 'huge' colloquial?"

Was that not a "specific source of concern?"

  • I think asking whether big and huge are colloquial is on topic for this site, and I would have voted to leave your question open if I had seen it in the Review queue. But I think the actual issue in your question is whether the test guide you cite uses the word colloquial correctly—which I think it does not. In my view, formal versus informal tone exists on a different continuum from standard versus colloquial wording. But if I'm right about this, the problem isn't that the guide is wrong in preferring answer D to answer A (that's a judgment call), but in misusing the word colloquial.
    – Sven Yargs
    Oct 16, 2016 at 17:47
  • ...In any case, I don't think that your question amounts to a request for proofreading; a more plausible close reason would have been "primarily opinion based"—since whether informal tone is a species of colloquial English is arguable, I suppose. Anyway, I sympathize with your frustration at the test question you ask about and the test guide's dubious justification of what it takes to be the correct answer.
    – Sven Yargs
    Oct 16, 2016 at 17:55
  • 1
    I believe that some people are too quick to use the “proofreading” close reason.  Another recent example is Can I use decades for 13 years, which clearly asks, in its title as well as its body, whether decades can be used to refer to a period longer than 10 years but less than 20 (and, specifically, less than 15). Disclosure: I voted to close the Are the words “big” and “huge” colloquial? question, but for a different reason. Oct 16, 2016 at 18:06
  • @Scott: What reason did you have?
    – 10 Replies
    Oct 16, 2016 at 18:11
  • I’m not sure (I spend time in several SE communities, and I can’t remember every vote I cast — and I don’t know of any way to query the system), but I guess it was probably “needs to show research”, based on Edwin Ashworth’s comment. Oct 16, 2016 at 18:44
  • 2
    The reason it was closed as "proofreading" was that three of the five votes used that reason; one was "unclear" and another was "show your research" (not necessarily cast in that order). Where the is more than one reason, the most popular wins; and where there is no most popular, the most recent wins.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Oct 16, 2016 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


What you wanted to know is specific enough and perfectly fine on this site: whether big and huge are too colloquial in the context of that sentence. At any rate, it does not concern proofreading.

However, the first question in your Question is this:

What, if any changes should be made to this sentence in the article.

That does sound like proofreading. The question can probably be reopened if your remove that part.

  • 1
    Hmm... I thought it was fairly clear that I didn't want an answer to that question. I will see what changes I can make to make it more clear.
    – 10 Replies
    Oct 16, 2016 at 18:01
  • 1
    @10Replies: I gathered that it wasn't, but it did confuse me. Those who man the review queues are perhaps not always interested in what they read; they may just scan posts and click the button. Oct 16, 2016 at 18:03
  • The thing to do, 10 Replies, is to put the entire block of test-question-related material inside the block quotes, which will make perfectly clear that the first question is part of that material, and is not your question about the sentence already in the block quote. I'll make that edit to your post, and you can decide whether you think it makes the separation between the test question and your question clearer.
    – Sven Yargs
    Oct 16, 2016 at 19:06

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