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Reviewers of technical documents must often work with nonnative speakers (NNSs) of English. Drawing on research in cross-cultural pragmatics and institutional discourse, we discuss linguistic patterns that document reviewers are likely to use when commenting on NNS writing. We anticipate miscommunications that may arise from some of these linguistic patterns, especially when a reviewer attempts to be both clear (so that the writer understands the comments) and polite (so that the reviewer maintains positive working relations with the writer). We recommend specific linguistic strategies that allow reviewers to balance clarity and politeness most effectively when communicating with NNSs.