Monday, March 21, 2011

Let's Get Technical

Hello, everybody. I hope everyone has had a nice, relaxing spring break. Oh, and I hope everyone has had a productive spring break as well, because we all know that this is a week to not just catch up on rest but is also a week to catch up on work. That being said, let’s get down to business.

My last post discussed how to take or handle comments you receive from your professor. In case you missed it, here’s the link. I wanted to do a follow up to that post and look more at the editorial/technical side of comments. If you handed in a paper before the break, there is a good chance you will be getting that paper back this week. Brace yourself. There is a chance that you will get your paper back and see some editorial marks and comments, and that means your paper wasn’t perfect, but that is okay. Perfection is an impossible standard, and those marks and comments are fantastic opportunities for you to learn. That’s right! I said LEARN!

Now, I’ve included a list of some common comments you might see and what those comments mean. So here it is:

Frag = Fragment

Awk = Awkward sentence/phrasing

CS = Comma Splice

RO = Run-on Sentence

SV Agr = Subject-Verb Agreement

MM or DM = Modifier Error – Misplaced or Dangling

// = Parallelism

I bet I can guess what you are thinking. “Chris, what does modifier error/parallelism/subject-verb agreement/awkward sentence mean?” Well, I’m not going to tell you. You will have to figure it out on your own. That is your side of the work. But hold on, there’s more! I’ll give you some tips if you don’t know what these mean. You have some options on how to find out.

1) Go ask your professor.

2) Go to the Writing Center.

3) Check the Purdue OWL.

There are 3 solid options. Go learn what these mean. I promise it will help. But, I wasn’t able to add all of the common marks you might see. I was limited by Word, so I’m going to give you a link to a table provided by Merriam Webster. This table shows proofreading symbols and is very helpful. So here it is:

Now for the disclaimer. Not all professors will use the same symbols. As you can see from the link, there are tons out there. Your professor might also write out comments that A) You don’t understand or B) You can’t read because it is illegible. For these instances or other comments/marks you just have no clue about, go ask your professor. Let me repeat that. GO. ASK. YOUR. PROFESSOR. Your professor is there to help you. Your professor will be able to explain what those marks mean and the reasoning behind them, and if the writing is illegible, your professor will probably be the first to admit it.

So there you are. I’ve started you off on learning what these marks and comments mean. Now it’s your turn to finish the educational journey. That’s corny I know, but so worth it. Cheers.

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