Correction Symbols, Revision Strategies, and Words to Avoid in Academic Writing

Christine Bauer-Ramazani

Correction Symbols & Revision Strategies | Words to Avoid in Academic Writing/Academic Conventions

Directions:  Use the following correction symbols and revision strategies to rewrite your first drafts.  Make corrections in CONTENT, ORGANIZATION, GRAMMAR, VOCABULARY, and MECHANICS.

CONTENT
???      =    I dont understand this word/phrase/sentence  Check sentence structure and meaning.  Rephrase in simple sentence structure (S + V+ C).

red.      =    redundancy    Eliminate repetitions.

ORGANIZATION
           =    incorrect paragraphing     Check for unity (one main idea per paragraph).   

TS       =    topic sentence needed   Write a TS using all of the keywords (topic + controlling idea + aspect).

trans    =    transition needed, or incorrect transition    Add a transition to increase coherence.

XXX or strikethrough   =    Omit this sentence/word/phrase.  It does not support the topic, or it is unnecessary or redundant.

GRAMMAR
_____   OR   ~~~~  =    This sentence needs to be rephrased due to incorrect sentence structure and possible translation from your native language.      

run-on =    run-on sentence or comma splice
Use a period to create two separate sentences, or use a conjunction to join the two clauses (and, but, or).

frag     =    sentence fragment or incomplete sentence, usually due to the use of a dependent clause without a main clause Change the punctuation or add the missing sentence element.

Gr        =    Major grammar problems Rephrase in simple sentence structure (S + V + C).

art       =    article mistake Check for general or specific use of the noun.

      =    A word or phrase is missing. Add the necessary sentence element (e.g. an article, preposition)

Tns      =    incorrect verb tense used Check for time expressions that indicate the appropriate tense.

prep     =   incorrect preposition Use the appropriate preposition for location, time, or instrument.  Check the dictionary for V + prep, ADJ + prep, and N + prep phrases.

vf         =    incorrect verb form (verb ending) Check for subject-verb agreement and verb tense.

pr        =    pronoun reference problem Identify the noun that you want to refer to in the same sentence or the sentence before.  Use the pronoun that agrees with
                  the referent noun (Sg or Pl).

wo       =    incorrect word order Use Subject-Verb-Place-Time word order. 

VOCABULARY
voc      =    vocabulary mistake (wrong word) Check your bilingual dictionary for the meaning you wanted to express, then the English-English dictionary for usage.

wf        =    incorrect word form, e.g. a noun instead of an adjective Check for the word form needed.

MECHANICS
Sp        =    incorrect spelling; consult your English-English dictionary

P          =    punctuation mistake

cap      =    capitalization mistake

WORDS TO AVOID IN ACADEMIC WRITING & ACADEMIC CONVENTIONS

I, me, my         Rephrase the sentence to avoid reference to personal opinions.

You, your        Rephrase the sentence to focus on the topic.  Specify the person you are referring to. Use "we" if you want to refer to everyone.

people             Specify what kinds of people you are thinking about, e.g. politicians, business people, students, etc.

they                 Use a noun to indicate who they are, e.g. politicians, business people, students, etc. 

good                Replace his word with an adjective that does not express a value judgment, e.g. effective, successful, positive.

bad                  Replace this word with an adjective that does not express a value judgment, e.g. ineffective, unsuccessful, negative.

etc.                  Give three examples: ______, _______, and _______.

do                    Replace this verb with the one that expresses the action directly.  Consult your bilingual dictionary to see if there is a more expressive verb or if the use of do is idiomatic.

make               Replace this verb with the one that expresses the action directly.  Consult your bilingual dictionary to see if there is a more expressive verb or if the use of make is idiomatic.

thing                Find the appropriate name for the item in the dictionary.

problem           Identify the problem by name, e.g. illness, unemployment, etc.

big                  Use the more formal word "large".

can't, isn't      Do not use contractions in academic writing. Write out the words in long form: cannot, is not