english 98

 

editing marks and symbols

 

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how to use this resource

One of your greatest tools for improving your writing is to know, not only what your mistakes are, but what they are called by your colleagues and instructors.  Rather than indulging self-piteously in the notion that you are the victim of your teacher's ruthless red pen, make an effort to catalogue your errors:  keep a current list of your mistakes and study at least a handful of them each time.  At worst, you will train yourself to be a more effective proofreader of your own writing.  At best, you will grow in skill and respect for writing.  A little proactive use of the tens of thousands of resources made available to you on the internet by dedicated educators and writers can save you years of unnecessary proofreading and heartache down the line.

 

Use this guide, then, in the spirit of such self-discovery and growth.  After reviewing the corrections on your paper made by your instructor, locate the relevant symbol or abbreviation on the index chart and link to its corresponding explanation, or browse the explanatory chart further down this page.  Once you have properly identified the notation, use your handbook or any number of on-line writing resources, such as Purdue University's OWL (On-line Writing Laboratory).

 

NOTE:  Although the following charts include some of the most common notations used by editors and teachers to proof and correct essays, be aware that different instructors will adapt and reinvent some of these symbols to suit their own style—sometimes to address the more esoteric needs of their classes and sometimes to accommodate their own handwriting. This is called "house style."  Among the following charts, therefore, will be abbreviations and symbols developed solely for my own purposes. If you cannot identify a symbol or notation based on this list, please consult the back of A Writer's Reference for further suggestions, or speak with me personally.

 

Happy hunting!

Karl Sherlock

 

index

 

¦

 

//ism

]

" "

agr.

alphab.

apos.

avoid

 

awk.

bibl. style

bolding

c.f.

c.s.

caps.

choppy

cite?

 

claim?

d.s.

dang mod

diction

font

forbidden

frag.

fused

 

init. caps.

ital.

l.c.

logic

margins

markers

mixed const.

MLA

 

mm

numbers

P.O.S.

p.v.

paginate

parag?

pron. agr.

r.o.

 

red.

ref.

-s, -ed

s.b.

s/v agr.

shift

source?

sp

 

t.s.

thesis

tone?

topic?

typog.

u.c.

w.w.

wordy

 

 

^

insert [word or punctuation]

insert spacing (usually, typographical error)

¦

new paragraph, or paragraph organization difficulty

]

indent

adjust line to margin

transpose [letters, words or phrases]

delete

unnecessary line spaces (usually in-between paragraphs)

 

agr.

Agreement

pron. agr.

pronoun agreement error

s/v agr.

subject-verb agreement error

apos.

Apostrophes

Description: Description: http://www.grossmont.edu/karl.sherlock/English098/Resources/EditingMarksSymbols_files/image023.png

missing apostrophes

avoid

Errors of Tone

forbidden

a forbidden word of academic tone

diction

inappropriate language (slang, etc.)

tone?

contractions

"you" and other pronouns

clichˇs

hyperbole

sexism

audience bias

awk.

Awkward Sentence

// | //ism

parallel structure

choppy

choppy (redundant) sentence

mixed const.

mixed construction (see also "Parts of Speech Errors")

wordy

repetitious

red.

redundancy

caps.

Capitalization

init. caps.

initial caps (for titles)

l.c.

lower case

u.c.

upper case

c.f.

Commas

overuse

commas v. semi-colons, in lists of words or phrases

missing, or misuse of, commas to separate clauses and phrases

c.s.

comma splice

Description: Description: http://www.grossmont.edu/karl.sherlock/English098/Resources/EditingMarksSymbols_files/image024.png

missing or misplaced comma

logic

Reasoning and Argument

logical fallacy; faulty or ambiguous pattern of deductive or inductive reasoning

markers

Markers

" " | ' '

quotation marks (double and single)

ital.

use italics (or underline)

markers?

missing markers (for titles, quotations, and secondary quoted material), or misuse of markers

MLA

Modern Language Association Style

alphab.

alphabetize the "Works Cited"

bibl. style

bibliographic (Works Cited) citation error

cite?

contextual (in-text) citation error

d.s.

double space

margins

improper document design

numbers

words v. numerals

paginate

document page numbers in MLA style

source?

missing contextual or bibl. citation

mod.

Modifiers

dang mod

dangling modifier or modifying phrase

mm

misplaced (a.k.a. squinting) modifier or modifying phrase

p.o.s.

parts of speech errors

ref.

Pronoun Reference

ambiguous antecedents

pronoun case

s.b.

Sentence Boundary Error

frag.

fragment

fused

fused sentence

c.s.

comma spliced

r.o.

run-on sentence

sp.

Spelling

ww

wrong word (homonym errors)

tr.

transposed letters ("ei" or "ie")

pl.

noun plurals

sfx

suffixes ("-able" or "-ible")

thesis

Thesis Statements

ambig.

unclear thesis

simplistic

too general or simple a major claim

thesis?

unable to locate thesis

t.s.

Topic Sentence

parag?

unclear paragraph topic

claim?

too general or simple a topic point

topic?

unable to locate paragraph's topic

typog.

Typography

bolding

remove all bolding (see "M.L.A. Style")

typo.

typographical error

Description: Description: http://www.grossmont.edu/karl.sherlock/English098/Resources/EditingMarksSymbols_files/image025.jpg

add character spacing

font

inconsistent or inappropriate font choice

w.w.

Usage

errors of measurement

foreign plural and singular endings

homonym errors

imprecise usage

malapropisms

parts of speech errors

spoonerism

subject-object verb errors

v.t.

Verb Tense

p.v.

passive voice

-s, -ed

missing or inconsistent verb endings (ESL)

shift

verb tense consistency

verbs, mood, and voice

 

© 2006 – 2013 Karl J. Sherlock