English 1301 ONL / Skrabanek


When a paper is graded, I will mark it OK, Revise, or Rewrite.

If your paper is not OK, look for editing marks at the end of each word, sentence, or paragraph. Grading marks will usually be enclosed in brackets. Problem areas of your essay may be underlined or marked in dark print.

If I notice that you have too many errors in the first two paragraphs, I will return your essay ungraded and tell you to fix the problems before resubmitting the work. In this course, grammar and content have equal weight. To progress in the course, you must be able to eliminate noted grammar errors from your writing. If the same errors recur in your writing, you are not progressing, and you will need to revise your work again and again. However, you do not have the opportunity to revise the exams, so if the recurrent errors appear on your C exam or other exams, they may be rejected because of the grammar problems.

I have added an Online Grammar Handbook to the course documents. It includes a review of basic grammar concepts such as parts of speech, sentence structure, and paragraph structure. This handbook also explains the major grammatical errors I mark on student papers. I recommend you review the handbook, especially if I point out grammar errors in your writing. The handbook is available at the following link:

Skrabanek's Online Grammar Handbook

You can also find numerous Grammar and Writing Links on the Handy Links page.

Grading Mark

Definition or Explanation




The subject and verb disagree in number (plural or singular).


You are not using a consistent verb tense form in this sentence or paragraph, OR you are not moving from one tense to another smoothly.


This is a fused sentence, also called a run-on sentence. You have attempted to join two independent clauses with no mark of punctuation. Separate the two independent clauses with a semicolon, a coordinating conjunction, or a period. You can also write a complex sentence by subordinating one sentence to the other.


This is a comma splice. You have attempted to join two independent clauses with a comma, which in this case is an inadequate mark of punctuation. Replace the comma with a semicolon, add a coordinating conjunction, write a complex sentence, or create two sentences by replacing the comma with a period.


This indicates a sentence fragment. A fragment does not have grammatical stability. You must change it into a complete sentence or connect it to a nearby independent clause. For example, "Where the boys are." and "The problem being that the book costs too much." are both fragments.


A paragraph break is needed.



Indent beginning of paragraph five spaces.


Awkward. Rearrange or rephrase.


Disagreement in number between a pronoun and its antecedent.


Dangling modifier. A modifier, usually at the beginning of a sentence, has nothing in the main idea of the sentence to modify, so the modifier is said to dangle. A modifier in the beginning of the sentence must modify a noun or pronoun immediately following. For example, "Looking through the binoculars, the ship sank." contains a dangling modifier.


Delete the indicated letter, sentence, word, or paragraph.


A misspelled word, often only underlined or in dark print. If there are no other clarifying marks, assume the noted word is misspelled.

Use lower case or upper case, respectively.


Vague pronoun reference.


Wordiness: you are using too many words to express yourself. Be more concise.


Redundant, repetitious, excessive. You are repeating yourself unnecessarily.


Diction or poor word choice: you have either used the wrong word, or you need to use a word that is more effective.


Transpose. A word, phrase, or mark of punctuation is out of place. Switch positions.


A logically incomplete comparison, usually using so or such. For example: "It was such a good movie." That what? "It was such a good movie that I want to see it again."


The elements in the indicated grammatical construction are not parallel. For example, "He liked hunting, fishing, and to find buried treasure." is not parallel in construction.


Something is missing here.


Separate these words.


What are you talking about? Logical problem. What you have written is illogical, out of sequence, or obscure--clarify.


Wow! What you have written is either profound or really dumb.

Site maintained by D. W. Skrabanek
English/Austin Community College
Last update: 10 February 2011