Sometimes a reviewer completes the final revision of your composition. In some cases he or she is your peer or your instructor. In other cases the reviewer may be an editor of a professional journal.
Although in most cases people use electronic markup tools to suggest changes or just make them outright, it is still useful to understand "old fashioned" markup symbols in case you have a physical copy of a paper the reviewer used to mark up. The actual marks made on the document indicate the changes that the reviewer wants you to make. Knowing what the symbols mean and how to interpret them is a useful skill.
Tip: Common Writing Errors and Issues
Many people find that they tend to repeat the same kinds of errors in their writing. One way to avoid making the same mistakes is to make a list of them. Use a word processing program to keep a log of the mistakes you make most often. When you revise your compositions, use this list to help you eliminate the more common errors.
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Improving a Draft: Suggested Analysis
- Read the draft out loud to see if the sentences are in a logical order.
- Review the sentences in each paragraph to make sure they are arranged to support the paragraph topic.
- Review the order of paragraphs to make sure they are arranged to support the thesis of your report.
- Review the draft for spelling errors, incorrect punctuation, typographical errors, etc.
- Make sure that any work cited has an appropriate reference within the text.
- Review the conclusion and make sure it supports the thesis of the report and gives the reader a sense of finality.
- Read the essay again after making revisions to find ways to improve the connection between sentences and paragraphs to help the reader move through the essay. Sometimes rearranging the components of a sentence facilitates this connection. Transitional terms such as "further," "nevertheless," and "whereas," etc. may also be useful signals to show relationships to readers.
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Essay Grading Scheme and Correction Symbols
Components of letter grades for essays and rewrites:
|Content 50%||Language (simple, clear, accurate) 50%|
Rewrites [==> den Aufsatz revidieren]: You will rewrite your essays based on your instructor's feedback and the correction symbols below. Your final essay grade will be calculated as follows:
|First draft [=die erste Fassung] 50%||Rewrite [=die Neufassung] 50%|
Essay Correction Symbols
FOREST LEVEL: These are your HIGHEST PRIORITY and will significantly affect your grade on essays and tests! Write simply and clearly. Use the dictionary thoughtfully and sparingly (use the German you know!). Pay attention to case (Nominative, Accusative and Dative)
|?||Meaning is unclear. This is usually the result of trying to translate an idea literally from English.|
ID and ID* both mean that you have made a mistake with an IDiomatic expression. This usually means you've tried to translate an English idiom literally into German when that can't be done, e.g. "this evening" = "heute Abend" and not "";"the first time" = "das erste Mal" and not "." ID* indicates that the error is especially serious or distracting.
The following combinations of ID + number indicate some common idiomatic mistakes to avoid:
W* and W both indicate that you've chosen the wrong word, but W* indicates that the mistake is especially serious. Examples are:
Most such errors can be avoided by
The following combinations of W + number indicate some common word choice mistakes to avoid:
|SO||Remember that subjects of verbs are Nominative and objects of verbs or prepositions are Accusative or Dative (for Genitive errors we'll use GEN--see below). |
|GG||Grotesque Gender mistakes e.g. die Vater, die Mann, das Mutter, das Frau - or multiple genders for the same noun|
TREE LEVEL: These are fundamental verb mistakes that will stand out to anyone walking through your forest.
|ING||Remember German has no -ing form: I go = I am going = Ich gehe. I went = I was going = Ich ging OR Ich bin gegangen. Wrong are e.g. "," "".|
|MV||Modal Verb mistakes (errors in conjugation; failing to use "modal + infinitive")|
|SV||Subject and Verb do not agree|
|TM||Wrong Tense [Present/Past…] or Mood [indicative vs. subjunctive] of the verb|
WEED LEVEL: We don't want to see too many weeds in your garden BUT any interesting garden will have a few. Don't feel bad
|AD||You've confused Accusative and Dative. Where the reason for the error is ambiguous, we may write SO/AD.|
|DN||Nouns add an "-n" in the dative plural. DN indicates that you've either forgotten this extra -n we add to the regular plural form in the Dative, or added one where it's not needed.|
|EA||Don't confuse Ein-word endings and Adjective endings!|
|GEN||GENitive mistakes: |
|GR||Capitalization [=GRoß- und Kleinschreibung]|
|I||Punctuation [=Interpunktion]. Usually means you need to insert or delete a comma.|
|ID||IDiomatic expression. See ID* under "Forest Level" for more information!|
|NN||Wrong form of an N-Noun. N-Nouns, also known as weak nouns, are a special class of masculine nouns that add an -en or -n ending whenever they are not in the Nominative singluar. E.g. der Student ==> den/dem/des Studenten; der Herr ==> den/dem/des Herrn. They include the male forms of some occupations (Student, Professor, Biologe, Astronaut, Philosoph, Kollege...), some male animals (Elefant, Affe, Drache), and some other nouns (Junge, Herr, Kunde, Planet...)|
|P||Wrong OR missing Preposition|
|PA||This note means you need to use the PAssive, i.e. the appropriate form of "werden" + a past participle.|
|PL||Wrong PLural form (for nouns)|
|RP||Wrong/missing Relative Pronoun|
The word you need is SIMilar to the word you have used. We'll use this if you've confused similar words like "dass" and "das," "antworten" and "beantworten," "Strahlen" [=rays] and "Strahlung" [=radiation].
|V||Other Verb problems not included in the above categories (ING, MV, SV, TM, VP). These include errors in conjugating the verb [e.g. instead of er/sie/es gibt], using the wrong form of the participle [e.g. instead of gemacht], or using the wrong auxiliary verb [haben vs. sein]. [Do not confuse V and W: V ==> change verb form or change the auxiliary verb, but keep using this verb; W ==> use a different word]|
|W||Wrong Word [Do not confuse V and W: V ==> change verb form, but keep using this verb; W ==> use a different word]. See W* under "Forest Level" for more information!|
|Wst||Word order [=Wortstellung] [for word order mistakes other than verb position (VP)]|
|>||Word missing [usually (but not always) an article or reflexive pronoun]|