|Instructions for Essay Corrections
Important: Make all corrections in ink on the original essay. With the exception of run-ons, all corrections should be made next to the errors, either above or below them.
If you are correcting an essay with a failing grammar grade, your corrections must be returned to me within one week of the day I return your essay. All essays with passing grades will be corrected in class.
A Lack of Parallelism
If the non-parallel items are joined by a coordinating conjunction, label their parts
speech and correct.
Example: We are asking for your support and to lend us your voice. (incorrect)
prep. phrase infinitive phrase
We are asking you to support us and lend us your voice.
If the sentence lacks parallelism due to a misplaced correlative conjunction,
circle both conjunctions and correct.
Example: Not only is Bob a positive person but he is also diligent. (incorrect)
Bob is not only a positive person but also a diligent worker.
B Incorrect Pronoun Case
Subjects and predicate nominatives take subject pronouns (I, we, he, she, they, who.)
Direct objects and objects of the preposition take object pronouns (me, us, him, her,
To help yourself understand why the pronoun is in the wrong case, label the parts of
your sentence before correcting.
OP V S
Example: Who are you talking about? (Whom are you talking about?)
C Subject/verb Agreement
Circle the subject before correcting!
Example: Each of the children are excited about the party.
D Pronoun/antecedent Agreement
Circle the antecedent of your pronoun; then correct.
Example: Each girl should bring their own sleeping bag.
E Dangling Element
Correct so that the subject is being described by the verbal phrase. You may also make
the verbal phrase a clause.
Example: Walking down the street, my shoelace came untied, and I tripped. (incorrect)
Walking down the street, I tripped over my shoelace.
As I was walking down the street, my shoelace came untied, and I tripped.
G Double Negative
Can’t help but/can’t hardly – both expressions are incorrect.
Example: I can’t help but feel sorry for him. (incorrect)
I can’t help feeling sorry for him.
H Incorrect Verb Tense
Many times this is a problem with literary present tense. Write about literature in the
present tense unless you are discussing an action that occurred before the book began.
Example: Atticus Finch was a lawyer.
I Sentence Fragment
Turn the sentence into a complete sentence.
Example: Talking loudly in front of many people. (incorrect)
I was talking loudly in front of many people.
J Faulty Pronoun Reference
You have either an incorrect personal pronoun or an incorrect usage of which. (Which
must modify the noun directly preceding it.)
Examples: Jack wants John to repair the toy that his son broke.
I do not enjoy birthdays, which is quite strange. (incorrect)
Strangely, I do not enjoy birthdays.
K Restrictive and Non-restrictive Elements
This letter pertains to commas. Add or take out a comma.
Helpful hints on this type of error can be found at the bottom of the second page of the
L Run-on Sentence
On the back of the page preceding the run-on, correct it three times:
- with a period
- with a semi-colon
- with a conjunction
Examples: I am exhausted. I stayed up all night writing my paper.
I am exhausted; I stayed up all night writing my paper.
I am exhausted, for I stayed up all night writing my paper.
M Misplaced Modifier
Move the misplaced word or phrase to another place in the sentence. In the case of
“only,” this word generally modifies nouns, not verbs.
Example: I only eat meatless dishes. (incorrect)
I eat only meatless dishes.
N Words Commonly Confused
Choose the correct spelling of the word (affect vs. effect, etc.)
You have been verbose. Cross out unnecessary words.
P Faulty Comparison
This letter usually concerns as or than.
Example: Joe’s grades are better than Susie.
Correct the misspelled word.
You Substitute another word, such as someone, a person, an individual.
This is two words unless used as an adjective.
Examples: I walk to school every day.
Walking to school is an everyday occurrence.
“”, or “”.
Commas and periods go inside the quotations marks unless you are citing.
Helpful hints on K – restrictive and non-restrictive errors
Usually, when a proper noun is modified by an adjective clause or phrase, the clause
or phrase will be enclosed in commas.
Clauses beginning with that are always restrictive, meaning they don’t require commas.
Clauses beginning with which are non-restrictive, so they do require commas. However,
sometimes people use which when they should be using that. Always substitute that in.
place of which. If it makes sense, keep it and leave out the commas.
Words whose purpose is to make the sentence flow more smoothly – however, therefore,
too, on the other hand – are followed by or enclosed in commas as long as they are not
joining two independent clauses.