Common proofreading marks

 

Notation

Name

Descriptions / Examples

Revision Options

Box around coordinating conjunction at the beginning of a sentence

Sentence Fragment

Sentence started with a coordinating conjunction

“He was up all night. And he wasn’t very tired.”

a. Remove coordinating conjunction; capitalize as needed

He wasn’t very tired.”

b. Drop case of coordinating conjunction and link to previous sentence if applicable

“He was up all night and he wasn’t very tired.”

“C.S.”

located near a circled comma

Comma Splice

Two or more independent clauses connected by a comma:

“We went to the game, we had a good time.”

a. Add coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS) after comma (either retaining or removing comma)

“We went to the game, and we had a good time.”

b. Remove comma and insert period

“We went to the game. We had a good time.”

c. Remove comma and insert semi-colon (perhaps followed by conjunctive adverb and a comma)

“We went to the game; indeed, we had a good time.”

Paragraph Mark

1. New paragraph not yet indented

2. Suggested place for new paragraph

Indent one tab to the right

[    ]

Sentence Fragment

Square brackets surrounding a phrase or a dependent clause posing as a complete sentence

Ex.1. “Leaving before the show ended.”

Ex.2. “The guy with the brown hair.”

a. Use current verb and add a subject and appropriate auxiliary verb

Ex.1. “They were leaving before the show ended.”

b. Use current phrase as the subject and add a verb

Ex.1. “Leaving before the show ended caused them to miss your part.”

Ex.2. “The guy with the brown hair asked me out.”

c. Use current phrase as the object and add a subject and verb either before or after

Ex.1. “They hated leaving before the show ended.”

Ex.2. “I went out with the guy with the brown hair.”

Ex.1. “Leaving before the show ended, they didn’t see your part.”

“Fused”

located near two consecutive circled words

Fused Sentence

Two or more consecutive independent clauses without any punctuation:

“We went to the game we had a good time.”

a. Add a coordinating conjunction between the end of the first independent clause and the beginning of the second (with or without a comma before the conjunction)

“We went to the game, and we had a good time.”

b. Add a period at the end of the first independent clause and capitalize the next word as the beginning of a new sentence

“We went to the game. We had a good time.”

c. Insert semi-colon (perhaps followed by conjunctive adverb and a comma)

“We went to the game; indeed, we had a good time.”

?

“unclear”

“awkward”

Coherence

Sentence construction is not easily understandable

Revise as necessary

Line connecting

circled subject and circled verb

s/v

Agreement

Related subject and verb must agree in number

Ex.1. “They goes to school on the bus.”

a. Change the verb to agree with the subject

They go to school on the bus.”

b. Change the subject to agree with the verb

He goes to school on the bus.”

Line connecting circled pronoun and circled antecedent

p/a

Agreement

Related pronoun and antecedent must agree in (a.) person and (b.) number

Ex.1. “When a person comes to class, you should have your homework ready.”

Ex.2. “Everyone needs to bring their books to school.”

a. Change the pronoun to agree in person with the antecedent

Ex.1. “When a person comes to class, he or she should have his homework ready.”

b. Change the pronoun to agree in number with the antecedent

Ex. 2. “Everyone needs to bring his or her books to school.”

“POV”

Line connecting pronouns in related sentences

Point of View

Narrative voice switches illogically among 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person point of view

Students receive so much homework and you don’t know how to handle it.”

Change the pronouns so they are in agreement

Students receive so much homework and they don’t know how to handle it.”

“TS”

located near line connecting two or more circled verbs

Tense Shift

Verb tense switches illogically among past, present or future

“I walked into the room and take a seat.”

Change the verbs so they logically agree in tense

“I walked into the room and took a seat.”

“Case”

written above circled pronoun

Pronoun Case

Subjective or objective pronoun case used incorrectly

“He brought his car for she and I to use.”

Change the pronoun so the correct case is used

“He brought his car for her and me to use.”

Transposition line identifying a word located between “to” and the base verb form

Split Infinitive Verb

A word appeared inappropriately within an infinitive verb form

“She seemed to quickly take her seat.”

Relocate the word either in front of the infinitive verb phrase or closer to the end of the sentence

“She seemed quickly to take her seat.”

“She seemed to take her seat quickly.”

Line beneath single letter

Capitalization

1. Incorrectly used capitalization

2. Absent capitalization where needed

“My Mother bought me a toyota supra last Spring.”

 

 

1. Drop the capital letter and replace with lower case

“My mother bought me a Toyota Supra last spring.”

 

“DM”

Dangling modifier

Phrase appears to modify the incorrect part of the sentence

“Having finished our work, the game was begun.”

Change the word or phrase being modified

“Having finished our work, we began to play a game.”

Circled comma
Ex. S,V or SV,V

Comma Usage

Incorrect or inappropriate comma usage

Revise as necessary

“Poss”

Possessive Pronoun

1. Inappropriate spelling, punctuation, or use of a possessive pronoun

“Since I had no car, I borrowed thiers, but their’s isn’t as good as yours car.”

2. Absence of possessive pronoun where needed

“He enjoyed you sharing some of that cake.”

1. Revise as necessary

“Since I had no car, I borrowed theirs, but theirs isn’t as good as your car.”

2. Insert as necessary

“He enjoyed your sharing some of that cake.”

( “ ” )

Quotation Marks

1. Incorrect or inappropriate use of quotation marks

“Since I’m finished, he said, I’ll help clean up.”

2. Incorrect punctuation related to quotation marks

“Since I’m finished”, he said, “I’ll help clean up”.

Revise as necessary

“Since I’m finished,” he said, “I’ll help clean up.”

( ’ )

Apostrophe

1. Incorrect use of apostrophe for contraction or possession

“She did’nt have her own car, so she needed your’s.”

Revise as necessary

“She didn’t have her own car, so she needed yours.”

( ; )

Semi-colon

Incorrect or inappropriate use of semi-colon

“She needed help; so she asked you.”

Revise as necessary

“She needed help, so she asked you.”

“WC”

Word Choice

Incorrect or inappropriate word choice

“His car is more speedy than mine.”

Revise as necessary

“His car is speedier than mine.”

“Usage”

Usage

Incorrect or inappropriate diction or usage

They’re bed is to soft so I’m laying on the sofa.”

Revise as necessary

Their bed is too soft so I’m lying on the sofa.”

( / )

Connected Words

Incorrect connection of two words into one

“He accidentally took apart of the game with him.”

Separate the word into its parts

“He accidentally took a part of the game with him.”

Arc connecting two consecutive words

Separated Word

Incorrect separation of one word into two or more parts

“He can join us when ever he would like.”

Connect the parts to form one word

“He can join us whenever he would like.”

“Redun”

Redundancy

Unnecessary repetition or restating of information

“He entered into the room.”

Revise as necessary

“He entered the room.”

“sp”

Spelling

Incorrect spelling of a word

“He asked the secretery for assistence.”

Revise as necessary

“He asked the secretary for assistance.”

 

Definitions

 

 

 

 

 

Subject

The subject of a clause is the thing or person that performs the action.

 

 

Verb

The verb of a clause is the action performed by the subject.

 

 

Object

The object of a clause is the recipient or result of the action performed by the subject.

 

 

Pronoun

A word that is used in place of a noun or noun phrase.

 

 

Antecedent

That word or phrase earlier in the sentence which the subsequent pronoun renames.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independent Clause

An independent clause (IC) is a group of words that contains a subject and verb, expressing a complete thought. An independent clause can exist as a sentence.

 

 

Dependent Clause

A dependent clause (DC) is a group of words that may contain a subject and / or a verb but does not express a complete thought. A dependent clause cannot be a sentence.

 

 

 

 

Coordinating Conjunctions

A coordinating conjunction joins two or more words, phrases or clauses of equal rank. The seven coordinating conjunctions can be remembered easily with the acronym FANBOYS: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So

 

 

 

 

Subordinating Conjunctions

A subordinating conjunction (also called a subordinator) is used at the beginning of a subordinate clause (a clause that requires other information to create a complete sentence). The subordinator establishes a relationship between the dependent (subordinate) clause and the rest of the sentence. Note: sometimes a word (such as “after”) can be both a subordinating conjunction (“After we finish dinner, . . . ”) and a preposition (“After dinner, . . . ”).

 

after
although
as
as [far/soon] as
as if
as though

because
before
even if

even though
how
if

inasmuch as
in case [that]
in order that
insofar as
in that
lest

 

no matter how
now that
once
provided [that]
since
so that

supposing [that]
than
that

though
till
unless

until
when, whenever
where, wherever
whether
while

 

 

 

 

Conjunctive Adverbs

A conjunctive adverb is an adverb that connects independent clauses. Often, but not always, they require semi-colons. They can be confused with coordinating conjunctions. One key distinction is that conjunctive adverbs do not necessarily join clauses of equal rank. Also, conjunctive adverbs do not always serve as linking devices, in that they can be used for emphasis: “I will not, however, give you more money.”

 

also
anyway
consequently
finally

furthermore

hence
however

incidentally

indeed
instead

likewise

meanwhile

moreover
nevertheless

next

nonetheless
otherwise

still

then
therefore
thus

 

 

 

 

Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary verbs or helping verbs are used with main verbs to express variations of time and mood. The combination of auxiliary verbs with main verbs creates verb phrases.

 

am

is

are

was

were

have

has

had

do

does

did

can

could

shall

should

will

would

may

might

must

ought to

used to

need to

 

 

 

 

Transitional Phrases

Click here for a complete list