Correction Symbols

start a new paragraph
r-o run-on (two complete thoughts run together)
/ insert a word or a letter
c-s comma splice (two sentences connected by a comma)
sp check spelling
frag fragment
a /b transpose these letters
|| parallelism
agr agreement
pv passive voice
P check for punctuation
w-c word choice
h capitalize this letter
inc incomplete
/ make lower case
—- wordy — delete text
check mark– something well-done


Do Not
conclude your papers with The End
use you in place of 1st or 3rd person
use get in place of become, receive, obtain
use a lot in place of often, many, several, frequently
use should of in place of should have
use like in place of just as, as, as if, as though
use thing or stuff in place of the specific object or concept
use all of the sudden in place of all of a sudden or suddenly
use this without placing a noun directly after This _ belongs to me.

clichés, dangling or misplaced modifiers
slang, redundancy
passive verbs, vagueness, and sweeping generalities
wordiness, shifts in construction (number, tense, person, voice)
intensifiers such as very, totally, really – these vampire words suck the life from your writing

Be careful with
affect/effect, real/really, accept/except
among/between, that/which, your/you’re
imply/infer, then/than, quotation/quote
its/it’s, there/their/they’re, lie/lay

The Twenty Most Common Errors

1. Missing comma after an introductory element
2. Vague pronoun reference
3. Missing comma in a compound sentence
4. Wrong word
5. Missing comma(s) with a nonrestrictive element
6. Wrong or missing verb ending
7. Wrong or missing preposition
8. Comma splice
9. Missing or misplaced possessive apostrophe
10. Unnecessary shift in tense
11. Unnecessary shift in pronoun
12. Sentence fragment
13. Wrong tense or verb form
14. Lack of subject-verb agreement
15. Missing comma in a series
16. Lack of agreement between pronoun and antecedent
17. Unnecessary comma(s) with a restrictive element
18. Fused sentence
19. Misplaced or dangling modifier
20. Its/It’s confusion
Link to the Bedford St. Martin Handbook site for specific help with The Twenty Most Common Errors