Explanations for ESL Department Correction Symbols


1) ?This means your reader has no idea what you mean. Please explain it in a clearer, more exact way. Discuss it with your instructor if you don’t know how to explain your idea.


2) ss This means that your sentence structure is not correct. Perhaps you have omitted a subject+verb pattern, added an extra subject or created a sentence that does not express what you mean.

*Everything just not right. This sentence has a subject but no verb.

*Is intriguing to consider the dark side of human nature. This sentence has a verb, but no subject.

*One of my friends, she said that English is hard for her. This sentence has two subjects.

*Parents make their children feel humiliated and then tend to not want to communicate. In this sentence, who does not want to communicate? According to the student, the parents tend to not want ot communicate. What the student meant was: "Parents make their children feel humiliated, and those children tend to not want to communicate."


3) tr This means that you need a transition (a word, phrase or sentence) that links ideas smoothly and logically.

*I found out that Jasper rewrites his papers and has improved his writing abilities. In the beginning of the semester, he got D's on his papers. tr He just got B’s on the last two in-class writing assignments. tr I want a B too. tr I have decided to rewrite my papers.

-I found out that Jasper rewrites his papers and has improved his writing abilities. In the beginning of the semester, he got D’s on his papers, but he just got B’s on the last two in-class writing assignments. I have never rewritten a paper in my life! I want a B too, so I have decided to rewrite my papers.


4)
vt This stands for verb tense and means you have chosen the wrong tense for your verb. To correct this error, you need to know the name and the use (meaning) of each tense.

*When I arrived in the U.S., I have similar feelings to Jamaica Kincaid.

The verb "to have" should be in the simple past tense because the action (having the feelings) happened at a specific time in the past (‘when I arrived’).

*When my friend offered me a donut at ten o’clock, I didn’t take one because I already ate breakfast.

The verb "to eat" should be in the past perfect because two events that happened in the past are reported out of chronological sequence.

-When my friend offered me a donut at ten o’clock, I didn’t take one because I had already eaten breakfast.

-Or: I ate breakfast before I went to school so when my friend offered me a donut, I politely declined.


5)
vf This means you have used the wrong verb form.

*Most students hoping to learn more English.

-Most students hope to learn more English.

-Or: Most students are hoping to learn more English.

The ‘ing’ form in English is either a noun or an adjective. Combined with the verb to be, it becomes a verb.

*What is America’s real face looks like?

-What does America’s real face look like?

The first sentence contains two verbs. With a single word verb that is not to be you need to use does, do or did to create a question. If you write questions like the first one, you may want to get help from the LAC to review question grammar in English.

*Chinese shouldn’t use in class. -ESL students shouldn’t use Chinese in class.
(active voice)

-Or: Chinese shouldn’t be used in class by ESL students.
(passive voice)


6)wwThis stands for wrong word.

*Most people wear clocks in order to know what time it is.

-Most people wear watches in order to know what time it is.


7)
wfThis stands for word form.

*We both felt disappointed in reality life.

Reality is a noun. This writer needs an adjective (real) to describe the noun life.

*There were also several different between Jamaica Kincaid and me.

Different is an adjective. This writer needs a plural noun (differences) since it is a S+to be+complement pattern and comes after the adjective several, which means more than one.

*I agree with Benjamin Franklin's suggests.

Suggests is a verb. This writer needs a noun (suggestions).


8) refThis stands for reference and means that you have used a pronoun that either refers to something the reader can't understand or refers to the wrong proper noun. In English, you must first use a proper noun beforeyou can use a pronoun to refer back to this proper noun.

*People say we have to protect our natural environment. Organizations suggest thatpeople try to use fewer plastic utensils or use recycled products to stop polluting the environment. In "Waste," Wendell Berry mentions that people nowadays can't stop doing it and easily forget to do it. People can do it at the beginning but we can't do it finally. From the article, we know people complain about the polluted air, but people only say about it, he can't do it. (eight reference errors)

-People say we have to protect our natural environment. Organizations suggest that people try to use fewer plastic utensils or use recycled products to stop polluting the environment. In "Waste," Wendell Berry mentions that people nowadays can't stop polluting and easily forget to conserve natural resources. People can act conscientiously when they are reminded to recycle an empty bottle, but they can't change their lifestyles. From the article, we know people complain about the polluted air, but people only say they want things to change. They find it hard to change their habits.


9)
woThis stands for word order. These type of errors can be slight and involve only a few words or be quite serious and involve an entire sentence, or even a pair of sentences.

*The economics major went to the registrar's and asked what was her g.p.a.

-The economics major went to the registrar's and asked what her g.p.a. was. (grade point average)

*Everybody tries to keep clean and protect our earth.

This means that people try to keep themselves clean (e.g., by taking showers) and also try to protect our earth. When questioned, the writer said this is what she meant:

"Everybody tries to protect our earth and keep it clean."

This means people try to protect our earth and try to keep our earth clean.


10)
^ This means you need to insert something or you need to insert the words your teacher has indicated.

*The best place I have lived was in a medium-sized apartment in my native country^. ( name it!)

-The best place I have lived was in a medium-sized apartment in my native country, El Salvador.


11)
#This stands for number. In English, we keep numbers consistent. That is, if we use he/she/it (3rd person singular) in the present, we use the matching

verb:

*Timothy don't how to drive a stick-shift.

-Timothy doesn't know how to drive a stick-shift.

*Carla know how to drive a stick-shift, an automatic and a semi-truck with fifteen gears.

-Carla knows how to drive a stick-shift, an automatic and a semi-truck with fifteen gears.

If we use I, you, we, or they in the present, we use the matching verb:

-Timothy and Carla both know how to ride bicycles.

We also keep our subject consistent. That is, if we start with we, we continue with weuntil the end of our sentence, paragraph, or example.

*A human being has the capacity to hate and to love. We can find examples in your own life that show how a person hates those we don't know and we love people with whom we are familiar, such as a person in our family.

-A human being has the capacity to hate and to love. We can find examples in our own lives that show how we hate those we don't know and love people with whom we are familiar, such as members of our families.

Keeping numbers consistent also controls article use. To make a generalization we caneither write:

-Driving over the speed limit can cause an accident.

-Or: Driving over the speed limit can cause accidents.

•We use plural count nouns to refer to all members of a group:

*E-mail can carry documents with sound. Letter can’t do that.

-E-mail can carry documents with sound. Letters can’t do that.

-E-mail can carry documents with sound. A letter can’t do that.


12)
art This is short for article. This mark means an article is missing, should be deleted, or is the wrong one.

*Marriage is grave of love. -Marriage is the grave of love.

*The marriage is not for everyone. -Marriage is not for everyone.

*Marriage can be long-lasting and rewarding one. -A marriage can be a long-lasting and rewarding one.


13)
efThis stands for error in fact. It means you have stated an incorrect fact.

*City College is a 50 meter walk from the Balboa BART station.

-In fact, City College is approximately a 523 meter walk from the Balboa BART station.


14)
condThis is an abbreviation for conditional. If your teacher uses this mark, you need to use the conditional or check your form.

*If I had lived in China forever, I won't have touched the wheel my whole life and I won't know what the exhilarating and terrifying feeling of driving a car on the freeway was.

-If I had lived in China forever, I wouldn't have touched the wheel my whole life and I wouldn't have known what the exhilarating and terrifying feeling of driving a car on the freeway was.


15) This means delete. Remove the word or words through which this line is drawn. The loop indicates the end of the line.

*Many students enroll at CCSF because of they want to get better jobs than the ones they hold.

-Many students enroll at CCSF because they want to get better jobs than the ones they hold.


16)
//This means parallel structure. Your forms and structures should match in a parallel fashion.

*One of my ESL teachers was a good person but she had three bad traits as a teacher. She spoke to us in Spanish, taking too many lengthy breaks, and not asserting her authority in the classroom.

-One of my ESL teachers was a good person but she had three bad traits as a teacher. She spoke to us in Spanish, took too many lengthy breaks, and did not assert her authority in the classroom.


17) • This symbol tells you to separate words.

*Everyday I go to work.

-Every day I go to work.


18)This symbol tells you to join words.

*I would never wear my every day clothes to church.

-I would never wear my everyday clothes to church.


19) This symbol tells you to reverse the order of letters, words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs.

*recieve

*doctor medical


20)
frag This is short for fragment. Can you correct the following fragments?

*Although my instructor said I wouldn't die if I repeated ESL 82, no way.

*My classmate who always hums a little song of seven notes that I can barely hear.


21)
ro This stands for run-on sentences. (See also fragment and punctuation.)

*Sucessful writing students write several drafts in contrast other students just write each paper once they hope for the best of course they want to pass the class to get on with earning their degrees because time is money, in this day and age many people feel having a four-year university degree is the key to a high salary.

-Successful writing students write several drafts. Other students just write each paper once and hope for the best. Like the successful writing students, the other students want to pass their classes and earn their degrees. Their time is valuable to them. In this day and age, many people feel that having a four-year university degree is the key to a high salary.


22)
p This stands for punctuation. (Also see fragment and run-on sentences.) You need to add or delete punctuation.

*An ESL student who is dissatisfied with his/her level cannot re-take the placement test only a student who has been out of school for more than one semester is permitted to re-take the placement test.

-An ESL student who is dissatisfied with his/her level cannot re-take the placement test. Only a student who has been out of school for more than one semester is permitted to re-take the placement test.

*The popular U.S. singer-turned-actress Madonna said, that she practiced yoga every day.

-The popular U.S. singer-turned-actress Madonna said that she practiced yoga every day.


23)
This symbol represents a paragraph break and tells you either to start a new ¶ or eliminate your paragraph break.
24)
sp This stands for spelling. You know what to do.
25)
c This stands for capital letter. It means your capital letter needs to be lower case or your lower case letter needs to be a capital letter.

*THE UNITED STATES IS MY KIND OF COUNTRY.

-The United States is my kind of country.

*The united states of america is filled with arrogant, rich people.

-The United States of America is filled with arrogant, rich people.


26) • This means indent your paragraph. It's a beginning ESL level error.

           You need to tab or move your cursor five spaces (computer), tab or use your space bar five times (typewriter), or leave about a one inch space before you write the first word of each paragraph. This paragraph you're reading is indented.