Work is always returned with many comments. Some comments are codes (abbreviations for a longer explanation).   These codes indicate areas of need and\or good writing. Below is a list of all the codes with explanations of how to address them.


RO = run on sentence. Wherever you see RO on your paper, that is where you are running

          two complete thoughts together. This is incorrect writing and may confuse a reader. Next to the code is

        a definition of a Run On sentence and examples of  how to correct this grammatical error.

        This is an error you need to correct for future writing.
        note: if more help is needed go to "The Basics" our Rhetoric text book.

If the code is highlighted link, follow (click) the link to access a separate page just for this writing technique.

If you find a link on the Internet that you feel is useful to understanding any code technique below, please let me

   know, and I will include it to this list. It will be much appreciated.

Codes Explanations of the codes & how to address them


Adverb/adjective confusion


Adjective = used to modify a noun


ex: I ran a good race.

                  Adj     N


Adverb = modifies a verb & adjective. (it usually ends in ly.


Ex: I ran well yesterday.

          V   adv


Ex: I ran a really good race yesterday.

                   adv    adj    n


abstract - concrete: click link for info


Don't Advertise

Don't advertise - just do it

Ex: In conclusion I just feel that dogs make good pets

Better: Dogs make great pets.

Ex: As I have stated above, Americans are too dependent on cars.

Better: Americans are too dependent on cars.


Author's Point of View

When writing =  what you (the author) is saying in a broad general way about your topic

When reading = what the author (the writer) is saying in a broad general way about the topic



Articles are used to introduce verbs. There are 2 basic article.

A = introduces nonspecific noun - any one -in when generally speaking

Ex: A cat is a good pet

The = introduces a specific noun - when our noun is not general

Ex: When I went to the school next to the candy store, I got lost


Active Voice

You could probably use more active voice.

Active voice = does action = usually the more direct and effective way to write

Ex: The committee voted on the bill.

Passive voice = receives action = usually less effective and direct

Ex: The bill was voted on by the committee.




This sentence or group of words is awkwardly constructed. It may have numerous errors that overlap or simply not have any meaning. There is probably a much better way to say it.


Be Complete - this is not a completed assignment - for the best grades do all of the assignment - if you are unclear be sure to ask questions prior to submission.




Capital Letters Usage

Capitals are used for:

         The first word of a sentence,

         Proper Nouns (Tom, Middlesex County College, Virginia)

Coherence making writing coherent: click link for  info



Comma Usage

Commas separate items in a sentence to avoid confusion.  There are specific ways to use commas correctly so thoughts do not run together. Note that unnecessary commas usage can confuse a reader.

Each bullet below illustrates how correctly use a comma.

         MC, cc MC

Bob ran, but Jane walked to the store.  (note: the comma must precede the cc (but))

       MC, cc MC

         DC, MC 

Because I was late, I was not allowed to take the test. . (note: the comma goes after the DC)

                       DC ,  MC

         MC DC = No Comma

My cousin was very tired  because he worked all day. (note: no comma after the MC)

                        MC                      DC                                              

         small, dingy, and cold room

         John, go to the store now!

         First, (only in beginning)

         Frank, the guy in the back row, constantly disrupts the class (nonessential phrase)

         Any student who doesn't do the work will fail. (no comma with necessary phrases)

         To do well on a test, you must study hard. (infinitive)

         Mary said, "Seth is a good guy."

         Mary lives at 427, Vette Avenue, Perth Amboy, New Jersey 07002

          Soon after, she left for the conference. (to separate main clause)


CC Coordinating Conjunction misuse -Coordinating Conjunctions (CC) are those little words that are commonly used to join thoughts within a sentence (and, but, so, for, nor, yet) They are meant to to do just what their name implies, coordinate thoughts within a sentence, not between them. To begin a sentence with a CC is basically using them to join the sentence it begins with  to the sentence that came before it.  This is not their purpose. Remember, a sentence is one complete thought, so it you are going to join 2 of them; it should be punctuated properly and in one sentence. (as I just did in that sentence). This makes a much better complex thought.
My father is a tough man. And he is a good provider for our family.
one complete thought)      CC   (one complete thought)
My father is a tough man, and he is a good provider for our family.
(one complete thought)   ,  CC     (one complete thought)
Clauses Clauses - components of a sentence.
There are 2 types you must be familiar with:

(MC) Main Clause = a group of words that has a subject + verb = complete thought
                                     ex: Franklin won = complete thought
                                         (subject) (verb)
                                      ex: The big gray cat took a long nap. = complete thought
                                         (subject)                (verb)
(DC) Dependent Clause = a group of words that has a subject + verb = NO complete thought
                                     ex: Because Franklin won = NO complete thought
                                          (subject) (verb)
                                      ex: As the big gray cat took a long nap. = NO complete thought
                                                        (subject)       (verb)
Conclusion writing conclusions: click link for info
CS Concluding Sentence
Paragraphs should have a concluding sentence. If this code is near a paragraph, it is missing.


Comma Splice - you have joined two MC with a comma. This is basically the same error as a Run-on.

To correct this error see explanation for Run-on (RO)

DC Dependent Clause
subject + verb = no complete meaning
ex: Because Robert  went home
                      subject  verb
DC,MC missing comma between a Dependent clause and a Main Clause (see RO or  CSP corrections for more help)
Development developing writing: click link for info


Dangling Modifier

A group of words that is intended to modify something but doesn't.


ex: Running around all day, Jake's feet were tired.  

       (note: whatever follows the modifier is the object of it - Jake's feet were not Running around all day.)   


Better: Running around all day, Jake soaked his tired feet.

          (Jake is now running around)                                      



You are focusing more on yourself than the topic. Focus on your topic.




Follow Direction

You are not doing what is asked.


Sentence Fragment

A complete sentence has a Subject (what ever is being written about) & Predicate (what the subject is doing or the circumstances around it).

A sentence fragment is missing either a subject or predicate or both.

This usually can be corrected by joining this group of words to the sentence before or after it.


ex: Because you see man young people with baggy clothing.  It must be popular.

                 This is a dependant clause-fragment

Better: Because you see man young people with baggy clothing, it must be popular



Figurative Language


Focus on Accurate Sentences

This writing exhibits too many sentence errors that hinder a better grade.
All Codes abbreviations are explained on this CODE SHEET with examples and corrections.
The most common errors are:

                    PRO = pronoun error
                      RO = Run -on Sentence
                     CSP = Comma Spliced Sentence

                   COM = Comma error (missing or not needed)

                      S-V = Subject + Verb do not agree

                      DM = Dangling Modifier
                  MPM = Misplaced Modifier
                      SS? = Sentence does not make sense
                       FG = Fragment


Get Me Out of  Your Writing
Too much second person (use of the word YOU)
click link for info
YOU = the reader  NOT the writer.


including writing that grabs a reader's attention in the introduction: click link for info




writing introductions: click link for info


Keep it Simple

You are having trouble writing accurate sentences because you are addling too much. Focus on accurate sentences. Have a clear subject and clear predicate.

MC Main Clause
Subject + verb = complete thought
ex: Robert left school.
    subject  verb
MET Metaphor (see figurative language)
MI Main Idea: click link for info


Misplaced Modifier

A group of modifying words not clearly related to that that which is supposed to be modified.


ex: Smashed against the pole, I saw my shiny new car.

      (I am not smashed against the pole, the car is)

Better: I saw my shiny new car smashed against the pole

Better: Smashed against the pole my shiny new car was visible.


ex: Because he studied hard, John got nearly an A on the exam.

                                                  (he didn't nearly an A)

Better: Because he studied hard, John nearly got an A on the exam


ex: I saw a large bear looking through my binoculars.

                                 (bears do not look through binoculars)

Better: Looking through my binoculars, I saw a large bear.

MW Missing Word: there is a word missing. It could be an article or preposition which usually precedes a noun.
incorrect: The second story explains the relationship siblings (missing a preposition)
   correct: The second story explains the relationship of siblings
incorrect: My cousin went to library to study. (missing an article)
   correct: My cousin went to the library
NMI This is not a Main Idea - it should be one.
See: MI for help.
NOT Not on Topic
This writing (or part of it) does seem to address the topic choices you were offered.  Focus more on a topic that responds to the writing prompt. More specifically addressing the topic results in better grades and easier writing experiences.
NSR No Score Recorded
No score has been put in the grade book for probably one of 3 reasons:
1.The assignment was not correctly labeled - I do not know who wrote it, or I cannot tell what it is I am reading.
   (The assignment must be labeled as instructed, or  I will not know how to grade it or where to put the grade!)
2. A name on the assignment does not appear n my roster.
   (Your name, the one you registered with, is on my roster, must appear on the top of all work.)
3. The assignment was not done as instructed.
   (wrong pages read, incorrect writing, etc.....)
If there is another reason, it will usually be noted on the assignment
The student who did it receives a "0"because no grade has been given. Campus Cruiser automatically converts a "0" to an "F

To correct this problem & possibly get a grade
Notify me (Prof. B) immediately with the following information.
Name, Section, Assignment, NSR#
Name:  Mary Smith
Section: IN1
Assignment: Shorter Writing 1

I will get to it when I have time - keep checking your grades to be sure it appears.

An NSR designated assignment must be addressed in a timely manner, or it may not be accepted.
Because of the timely nature and content of some assignments, some NSR assignments may not be accepted.
* If this problem persists, except that I will stop accepting this type of incorrectly labeled or done work


No Such Word

The word you are using is not a word in the English language.

The underlined "words" below in the examples are not real words at all. Below are probably what you mean..


ex: I have alot of work to do, so I am kinda busy today.

                 a lot                                     kind of

I'm gonna go to college after I finish highschool.

      going to                                     high school

He is the kinda student that gets good grades and shoulda passed the test.

               kind of                                                 should have

non seq

Non Sequitar

A statement or conclusion that does not follow. How did you go form one sentence to the next? How did you go from one paragraph to the next?

NP New Paragraph needed


Either missing or needs much work. Check it for comments.

O-O-I Oreder of Ideas



Use punctuation correctly.

Statement . = A well punctuated sentence is understandable.

Question  ? =  How am I supposed to remember all these rules of grammar?

Exclamation ! = Look out for that car!

Command .  = Get good seats for the play.

Quotation " " = Bob said, "I really enjoyed that play."

PL Plural
You either need a plural or you used a plural where one is not appropriate.





Shows ownership. You must place an apostrophe before the S to show ownership, or it just becomes plural.

Singular possessive = John's

ex: I borrowed John's pencil for the test. (note: without this apostrophe, you are saying 2 Johns)

Plural possessive = the girls'

ex: The girls' team won the game.


Pronoun usage

Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns.

 Pronouns Subjective
I me my
you you your
he/she/it him/her/it his/her/its
(more than one)
we us our
you you your
they them their


They must agree with the antecedent (the noun they are replacing) as explained below


        Gender: a male noun must be replaced with a male pronoun

               ex: Jason was really impressed with  Mary, so later in the day he asked her for a date.

                (Jason = male noun)                  (Mary = female)                   (male pro)    (female pro)

Number: a singular noun must be replaced with a singular pronoun

                      a plural noun must be replaced with a plural pronoun

             Incorrect: I must go to the mall early Saturday because they are having a sale.
                                             (one mall = singular noun)            (they = plural pronoun)
            Correct: I must go to the mall early this Saturday because it is having a sale on camping equipment.

                                              (one mall = singular noun)               (it = singular pronoun)


              Incorrect: The team practiced diligently and won their game.

                                     (one team = singular noun)             (their = plural  pronoun)

               Correct: The team practiced diligently and won its game.

                                   (one team = singular noun)           (its = singular pronoun)


              Incorrect: Someone is on the phone, and they want to to talk to you.
                              (someone= singular noun)     (they = plural pronoun)

              Correct: Someone is on the phone, and she wants to to talk to you.
                           (someone= singular noun)     (she = singular pronoun)


               Incorrect: It is important to teach a child manners so that they will grow up tobe polite.

                                                                   (a child = singular noun)   (they = plural pronoun)

               Correct: It is important to teach children manners so that they will grow up to be polite.

                                                               (children = plural noun)            (plural pronoun)  


               Incorrect: A parent is important because they instill values and morals in their children.
                              (a parent = singular noun)       (plural pronoun)                           (plural pronoun)
               Correct: Parents is important because they instill values and morals in their children.
                              (parents = plural noun)      (plural pronoun)                            (plural pronoun)

          Case: subjective pronouns are used as subjects
                     objective pronouns are objects (they are not subjects)
                     possessive pronouns show ownership

               ex: Conrad and she went to the movies.

                     subject +  she = subject of the sentence)


                ex: Because it  is hot outside, she stayed in doors by the air conditioner. 

                                                                    (she = subject of the Main Clause)


                ex: Kenny and I had a great time at the movies.

                 (subject of the sentence)   


                ex: Bob went on a diet with my cousin and me.

                   (subject)                                                   (me =  object, not the subject of the sentence)   


                ex: Sam gave his baseball tickets to us because he couldn't attend the game.

                  (sentence subject)                     (us = object, not a the subject)


                ex: Larry sat next to Nancy and me at the presentation.

                  (sentence subject)                              me = object, not the subject)  


                ex: The girls were late for their manicure appointment.
                           (plural subject)
      (plural possessive - of the appointment)  


                ex: Mary was late for her manicure appointment.
                    (singular subject)
  (singular  possessive - of the appointment)  




PW Prewrite


You are repeating yourself. Don't do it.

Ex: My goal is to be successful. I want to achieve all I can. I will reach my highest goal.

              be successful                          be successful                            be successful

Ex: My girlfriend Melinda is my best friend. She is always there for me.

       I rely on her to help me when I need a shoulder to cry on. I like to be with her. She is

       really dependable, and I go to her for help. My life is so much more difficult without her

                      This all says the same thing. She is dependable and my best friend.


The relevance of what you are saying is not clear (how does it relate?)

How does this sentence(s) within this paragraph support the topic sentence of the paragraph?

How does this paragraph (or topic sentence-MI of the paragraph) support the Thesis?




Run on or Comma Spliced sentence
2 or more Main clauses in the same sentence without proper punctuation or coordination.


Ex: John loves Stephanie he thinks she is a wonderful woman. (Run On) Incorrect

                  MC                                         MC

Ex: John loves Stephanie, he thinks she is a wonderful woman (Comma Spliced (CSP)) Incorrect

                   MC               ,                         MC


Below are corrections for RO & CSP and how to use clauses correctly  (note proper punctuation) 
*MC = Main Clause, DC = Dependant Clauses

* cc = coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, and, yet, so)
* sc = subordinating conjunction (however, therefore, etc.)

MC,cc MC. =  John loves Stephanie , but she doesn't love him.

                                  MC            ,   cc              MC

MC . MC. = Jon loves Stephanie. She doesn't love him.

                                    MC          .            MC

DC , MC. = Because John loves Stephanie, she is flattered.

                                                             DC , MC

MC DC = John loves Stephanie because she is a wonderful woman.

                                             MC DC.

MC ; MC = John loves Stephanie; he is going to ask for her hand in marriage.

                                              MC ; MC.

MC;sc.MC. = John loves Stephanie; however, she doesn't love him.

                                                  MC;     sc,             MC.

SD Sensory Detail
Appealing to the senses (see, hear, feel, touch, taste)

Sexist Language

Using masculine pronouns when speaking of men and women, and visa-versa.

Ex: You must teach a child manners so as an adult he will be polite.             

                                                               (only refers to males)

Better: You must teach children manners so as adults they will be polite.



This is not formal and/or often acceptable language. It may detract form your meaning.

Ex: This test sucks.

                 better=Is difficult and bothersome.

Ex: She lost her temper and yelled at her kids.

                                                                (kids are baby goats) children = better


Singular -Plural

You have a singular noun linked to a plural verb or pronoun or visa-versa.

Ex: Donations of food and clothing helps the less fortunate.


Ex: The store is having a sale, and they are practically giving things away.

             (singular)                             it     is


Sentence Sense

This sentence doesnít have any sense to it. The subject and verb are not clear, or confused, or mixed up with modifiers, or a variety of errors exist that make no meaning.


Subject Verb Agreement

Subjects and verbs must agree.

  • A singular subject must agree with a singular verb - usually one or the other has an S

              Singular subjects  have no s go with singular verbs have an  s.

                                            ex: Bob                                        ex: jumps

               ex: My baby cousin Tommy is a difficult child because he cries a lot.

                        singular subject ( no s)                                       singular verb (s)


  • A Plural subjects must agree with  plural verbs usually one or the other has an S

               Plural subjects  have an  s go with plural verbs have no  s.

                                            ex: Girls                              ex:  jump

        ex: My twin cousins, Gail and Fay, are difficult children because they cry a lot.

                 plural subject                                                                          plural verb




Syntax  = sentence order is confused.

This is basically the same as a MPM (Misplaced modifier)


ex: Syntax error: Frank could see the Garden State Parkway flying in the plane.

      Better: Flaying in the plane, Frank could see the Garden State Parkway.


Thesis writing a thesis: click link for info
TP transitional phrase: click link for info
TS topic sentence: click link for info
Unity making writing unified: click link for more info



Verb Error  (either shifting verbs or using an I incorrect tense)


Verb Shift

Verbs for the most part must remain n the same tense. Mixing (shifting)  tenses confuses a reader.

In the examples below the verbs should both be in the same tense. They are not.


Shifting Tenses : The boys want ice cream, and the girls wanted popcorn.

                                           present                                      past

                Better:  The boys want ice cream, and the girls want popcorn.   

                                             present                                  present

                Better:  The boys wanted ice cream, and the girls wanted popcorn.   

                                              past                                             past



Shifting Tense: She would water the plants and gave them food yesterday.

                                   past perfect                        past

                 Better: She watered the plants and gave them food yesterday.

                                        past                            past

                 Better: She would water the plants and would give them food.

                                   past perfect                           past perfect



Shifting Tense:  I run about five miles every day, and then I ate a big meal.

                            present                                                         past

               Better: I run about five miles every day, and then I eat a big meal

                          present                                                         present

                Better: I ran about five mile yesterday and ate a bit meal.

                             past                                                 past


Verb Tense

Verbs for the most part must remain in the same tense. Work on your verbs; you are confusing tenses.




                           Past                                         Present                                  Future


Simple               work                                     worked                                    will work


Perfect             had worked                           have been working                   will have been working

                         (before something else)         (may/may not continue)          (will occur before some other  event)


Progressive      was working                           am working                              will be working  

                         (continuing)                             (continuing)                                (continuing)





Active = Subject performs action ( direct - usually most effective way write)

Es: The committee reached a decision.

                 sub          predicate

Passive = Subject receives action (indirect - usually less effective)

Ex: The decision was reached by the committee.

                 sub       predicate





























Wordiness \ Trite worn out phrases \ Redundancy \ Over used language



Don't be unnecessarily wordy. When the meaning is obvious, don't say it.

ex of Wordiness: I was driving my car on the road. Suddenly my passenger next to me got sick.

                                                            where else?                        passenger is already in the car

                Better: I was driving, and my passenger got sick.


ex of Wordiness: The sun brightly shone in the sky, and I got tan all over my body.

                                                       it is always in the sky                 where else?

                 Better: Because the sun was shining, I got tan.


Don't Advertise what you are going to do; just do it

ex: of Advertising:   In conclusion, it seems apparent that cats make good pets..

                                  advertising          wordy

                    Better: Cats make good pets.


More examples of wordiness to avoid

In my opinion

In my honest opinion

In my life

At this time

In this society

In this crazy world

In this crazy world we live

In the real world

In the present day and age

In order to make it in the real world

In the real world

We as people

We as students

In this changing world

Its purpose and aim

Personally, I think

The world that we live in today

I guess what I'm saying

What I am trying to say

As I said earlier

Food to eat on the table


Due to the fact

I think


Redundant phrases to avoid - (donít repeat)

capitol building

circle around

baby calf

slippery slime

hollow tube

illegal poaching

old adage

NFL football team

merge together

sandwiched between

reflect back

very unique

strangled to death

successful escape

3 a.m. in the morning

old fossil

fellow countrymen

old geezer

new beginning

illegal scam

awkward predicament

appreciated in value

disappear from view

total extinction

violent explosion

knots per hour

temporary reprieve


hoist up

free of charge

recur again

enclosed herewith

excessive over harvesting

swivel around

new recruits

fellow colleagues

first priority

invited guests

completely satisfied

sink down

cluster together



Trite, Boring, Overused, Tedious phrase to Avoid

add insult to injury

better late than never

cool, calm, and collected

crushing blow

cut as a button

easier said than done

face the music

few and far between

green with envy

hard as a rock


hard header

heavy as lead

hit the nail on the head

hour of need

moving experience

a needle in a haystack

point of pride

ripe old age

rude awakening

sadder but wiser


shoulder the burden

shoulder to cry on

sneaky suspicion

stand in awe

stand in my way

strong as an ox

thin as a rail

tried but true

wise old owl

click link for more info


Word Choice

Incorrect words are being use

Ex of incorrect word choice: I would of entered the race if only I could a got off from work. 

                                    Better I would have entered the race if only I could of got off from work.          

Ex of incorrect word choice: There parents past the exit on the highway.

                                   Better: Their parents passed the exit on the highway.


Ex of incorrect word choice: My pen is brand knew, and it costs only seventy five sense.  

                                   Better: My pen is brand new, and it costs only seventy five cents.  


Ex of incorrect word choice: I have to right a term paper for my Science class

                                   Better: I have to write a term paper for my Science class


You improper use of 2nd person: writing a thesis: click link for info

not parallel sentence

usually verb inconsistencies

Many people get up early to jog, to observe nature, or watch the sun come up.

                                                                                               to watch