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A Guide to My Editorial Comments

Here's a list of some standard abbreviations for editorial comments I use while grading. Other marks and symbols can be found in the back of most ENGL 1101 textbooks and on the attached PDF file from Timothy Corrigan's A Short Guide to Writing About Film, 4th edition.

At the end of your paper, you may see the following letters. See the Department of Language and Literature's Writing Guidelines for full explanations of the three main criteria used to evaluate all writing:

C        Content is accurate, details are relevant, and examples clearly support arguments.
O        Organization uses clear transitions and establishes a logical, coherent, focused order of arguments.
MGS   Mechanics, Grammar, and Style demonstrate correct and effective punctuation, sentence structure, tone, etc.

Abbreviations and Editing Symbols

A wavy line under or beside text, Circled text, or Red highlighted text: The text that is circled/wavy underlined/red is questionable for some reason. Often it's a question of logic, accuracy, or spelling, but can it be accompanied by one of the other comments as well, usually AWK.

A straight underline under text is the shorthand note-taking that I use to follow your main points as I read your paper. (Note that my usage differs from Corrigan's underline in the attached PDF file above.)

A check mark means "good," as do words written in the margin like "good," "yes," "nice" (might look like "mice" due to my handwriting), or "excellent."

"Clarify": your wording and/or argument is unclear and should be more carefully explained.

AWK: awkward phrasing

BR: bad break

CE: comma error (unnecessary comma or misplaced comma)

CS: comma splice

GL: gendered language (rephrase to avoid "man" when you mean "human," etc.)

ITAL/UND: italicize or underline titles (not quotation marks!)

PV: passive voice (rephrase using active voice for clarity & brevity)

RO: run-on or fused sentence

SGWF: Check A Short Guide to Writing About Film for correct phrasing, terminology, etc.

SP: spelling error

SV: subject-verb agreement error

US: Use U.S. instead of British punctuation w/ quotation marks (Incorrect: "film", or "film". Correct: "film," or "film.")

WC: word choice is questionable or incorrect


© Virginia Bonner, 2004

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Updated: October 23, 2008