Correcting errors in grammar, diction, punctuation, and style is tedious work. Ultimately, though, this process of identifying and fixing problems in grammar and mechanics may be some of the most valuable learning you do in this course. All the red inkthe "Bedford numbers" or the Little Seagull numbers, the golden rule and nugget numbers, the "simple stuff," "word problems," and "quotations" items I mark on your papersthis red ink is intended to help you recognize specific local problems in your writing that need improvement. My aim in corrections is that your mastery of the crucial "basics" improve. Rightly or wrongly, people judge you by the relative correctness of your writing. If you want people to respect what you say, you must express yourself clearly and "correctly."
Identifying the errors: for each of my notations marked on your paper, refer to the appropriate key: "GR" numbers refer to golden rules; "N" numbers refer to nuggets; "Q" items are matters of quotations (and documentation), "SS" notations refer to the "simple stuff" of formatting and presentation, "WP" refers to "word problems"; all other numbers (usually numbers and lower-case letters) follow the Bedford Handbook system of notation or refer to The Little Seagull Handbook as indicated below.
ENGL 1101 and 1102 students only: notations keyed to the The Little Seagull Handbook refer you to chapters and sub-chapters in that handbook: S-2, L-1a, P-1b, etc. There is a quick guide to most of these markings inside the back cover of the book. If you don't understand specific problems by referring to the "detailed menu" at the back of the book, then refer to the appropriate chapters in the text of the handbook.
Students in all ENGL classes other than 1101 or 1102: For "Bedford numbers," refer to the Bedford marking key handout (distributed in class, also always available via the "Writing Matters" tab at chipspage.com). Most of the Bedford items are self-explanatory. If I note "27d" above the word "want" in the sentence, "Yesterday, Bill want (27d) to play video games," for example, you will see on the marking key handout that 27d indicates, "Do not omit -ed endings on verbs" and understand that "want" should be "wanted": "Yesterday Bill wanted to play video games."
If you do not understand a particular term or problem indicated in the Bedford systemif you do not understand what a "dangling modifier" is, for instance (12e), you should refer to any writing handbook available to you. You can also find explanations and descriptions of common grammatical issues online. One website I would especially recommend is the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) site, with searchable contents available at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/.
Correcting the errors. In an entirely new typed draftnot on the graded draftfix each of the problems noted with Bedford numbers and my SS, GR, N, Q, and WP notations. Indicate any changes you make in the new draft by putting in bold font what you have changed.
Exceptions: problems you don't have to address in corrections:
You must correct only the problems marked with one of the notations from my website (GR2, N2, Q2, SSH, WP, e.g.) and Bedford or Harbrace Essentials numbers (11a, 16b, 33e, etc.). You need not address any non-grammatical or non-"mechanics" problems indicated either by my comments in the margins or in my typed remarks on your paper: addressing these problems is rewriting more than "correcting." I encourage you to rewrite, but with corrections I am concerned only with your improving specific local problemsnot the larger matters of content, focus, structure, development, argumentation and style.
You do not need to correct "N1" problems (plot summary), nor should you address problems noted with the Bedford number 4 (4a, 4b, etc.): improving these troubles would require rewriting or revising, not the simple correction of errors intended here.
What you turn in: the corrected draft with changes highlighted and the original graded draft.
Composition I and II students: turn in and keep corrections in your formal paper folders, which should contain all drafts of all essays, including corrections, all semester long.
Want help? I am happy to go over specific problems in corrections with you in the office, and you can always email me with specific corrections questions. You can get great help with corrections, too, from the Writing Center and the Student Success Center (SSC).
For 1101/1102 in-class essays written in longhand only:
Instead of copying the entire essay over for corrections, you may simply copy each error I note in the essay onto separate paper, accompanied by the GR, N, Q, SS, WP or Little Seagull number marked on the essay, and then write the "problem" word, phrase, or sentence with the error(s) corrected. Use common sense: copy only as much of the original sentence as necessary to indicate what the error is, and rewrite only as much of the sentence as needed to indicate how you are correcting the problem. If one sentence contains three errors, rewrite the sentence only once, correcting all three errors in the same single rewritten sentence. If you do correct handwritten in-class essays by this method, copy and correct the errors in the order in which they occur in the original essay.