always wondered what your English teacher's unintelligible
comments meant... Although I am breaking a centuries'
old tradition of silence sworn by all English professors to
keep their comments secret, the true meaning of these codes
must now be revealed!
awkward phrasing: Can
you make this sentence read more clearly and easily?
sentences: Can you combine or revise so that the
text reads more smoothly?
||comma splice: Two independent clauses
(complete statements or thoughts) are linked or
“spliced” by a comma. A period and a new sentence, a
semi-colon, or a comma & conjunction are required to
link two independent clauses.
||dangling modifier: The subject of the
underlined modifying element lacks a referent in the
sentence. For example, Having
moved all the furniture into the garage, there was no room
for the car is incorrect
because the subject of having
moved does not appear in the sentence. (The reader
expects the subject of having moved to be the subject of the main clause.) Because we
moved all the furniture into the garage, ...
||misplaced modifier: The modifying
word , phrase, or clause appears in the wrong place in the
sentence. Can it be moved closer to the element it modifies?
She wanted him to kiss her badly > She badly
wanted him to kiss her.
||sentence fragment: This is an
incomplete sentence, one missing a subject or a predicate.
||fused sentence: two independent
clauses (complete thoughts) being liked or “fused”
without punctuation. Also called a "run on"
||faulty parallelism: Sentence elements
meant to express equivalent ideas should use equivalent
grammatical structures. e.g..
Our present system is costing us profits and reduces our
Our present system is costing us profits and reducing
This sentence would be clearer or stronger written in the
active voice. A
passive sentence in which the direct object (receiver of the
action) is shifted to the subject position. The auxiliary be
is used with the past participle form of the verb. E.g.
Independence is valued most by the incapacitated.
> The incapacitated value independence most
||possessive: To indicate the
possessive, add an apostrophe plus s
at the end of a singular word or of a plural word that does
not end in s. At
the end of a plural word ending in s
add the apostrophe only. Two cues for the possessive are
1) doubled nouns e.g. book’s title, and 2) the ability to
reverse the order of the nouns using of,
e.g. the title of the book. Note: Its
vs it’s: It’s is a
contracted form of it is (It + is = it’s). Its
is a possessive pronoun
agreement: A singular subject is being used with a
plural verb or vice versa. For example, They
is going to the party in Atlanta next week
agreement: A pronoun does not agree in number with
the noun to which it refers, e.g. The
student must be careful because they can unwittingly plagiarize other texts by having poor
The relationship between ideas needs to be made
clearer with words such as however,
but, moreover, as well, because, therefore, etc
being more concise, the paper would be more focused. Check
for these common causes:
Doubled adjectives, adverbs, & nouns, e.g. research and studies, full and complete, true
phrases, e.g. at
this point in time > now or currently;
for the reason that > because
began, completely finish, large in size. in a confused
state, various different
sort of, very, basically, generally, actually,
prepositions, e.g. the
increase in the number of women > increased number of
||word choice: Check the meaning of
this word in the dictionary. Is there a more appropriate
faulty logic: This sentence or passage doesn’t
make sense. Can this be rephrased so that its meaning is