Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Representative Errata

Having spent the weekend grading assignments and rough drafts of papers due this week, I took to creating a text file of common comments and corrections I made to ease the carpel tunnel. Essentially, once I came across the same issue twice I made an entry in a notepad file. This way I could be nice and detailed - hence looking exceptionally thorough and helpful - yet immensely reduce my grading time. I thought I would share a list (in no particular order) of the more common comments I made. I'll leave it to you to determine the rationale for the comments.

Also, if you find any of these comments useful for your own common comments and corrections file, feel free to copy and paste. I grant this list to the world in the spirit of open source and free non-commercial creative commons copyright.

  1. New topic requires a new paragraph.
  2. One good technique to help with this is to set your essay aside for a few hours after you think you’re finished and read it later. Often you’ll catch things that seemed clear but are not. Alternately, give it to a friend or family member to read. Someone who does not know what you’re trying to say is often good at pointing out parts of your essay that are not clear.
  3. This is a plural pronoun but the noun used earlier is singular. Make sure your noun/pronoun use is consistent.
  4. “Data” is plural for “datum”.
  5. To make your sentences easier to read or signal a pause use a comma to set off words or phrases.
  6. If you are using a singular noun to indicate possession place the apostrophe before the “s”.
  7. Try not to end sentences with a preposition.
  8. Each paragraph needs a purpose that moves your essay forward. Each paragraph should focus on a single topic and make sure you only include relevant information. Ask yourself – does this have anything to do with the topic/focus of this paragraph. If not, delete it. If it does, explain why.
  9. What is the primary point of this essay? This should be your opening topic sentence and everything else should flow to support that point of view or argument.
  10. Make sure you add references to support these statements.
  11. Try not to use quotes unless they are so profound that they send chills down your spine because they created such inspiration and could not possibly be improved on to express the point. Say it in your own words then credit the authors who published the original work you paraphrased.
  12. Although it may appear that there are few comments, I am noting only the first instance or two of an issue you should address and I’m leaving it up to you to go through the rest of the essay to find similar instances to correct or address.
  13. If you’re repeating yourself you’ve probably not organized your essay properly.
  14. For clarity, consider keeping all parts of a verb phrase together. Place any modifying words before or after the verb phrase.

4 comments:

tim said...

Hmmm, how about:

"This is just stupid." ??

:-)

DNA The Splice of Life said...

HAH! Me Like!
Of course there is also the standard "Huh?" or even simply "????!!!"

I used those quite a bit...

I am also trying to remember possibly the best comment I've ever seen. An english prof wrote on a student's essay something to the effect of: "It is a shame you had to ruin a perfectly fine piece of blank paper to complete this assignment."

If someone could find a more accurate quote of this I would be most grateful.

tim said...

The two that I used the most this semester were:

'You need a reference to support this assertion'

and

'arguable'

Although, I also had quite a few

'Good!'s

mixed in too...

socialsomatic said...

Yeah, I'd like to see a list of the ones you'd most like to use. I'll get you started with some from my own well of fantasized grading comments.

"You are a bad person."

"This essay makes the world a worse place to live."

"How do you survive without your frontal lobes?"

"I like this essay. It makes me realize I could not possibly be the stupidest person on earth."

"This is good....for you."