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Austin's Editing Marks

This is a guide to the symbols I use when marking up your writing assignments. Each symbol stands for a particular kind of error. By marking the types of errors you're making, my aim is to help you identify the areas on which you need to focus to improve the accuracy of your written English.

Important: When I mark up your assignments, I will not necessarily mark every single error you make. Instead, I will mark those errors that seem to occur most frequently in your writing, or those that cause the greatest difficulties for the reader.

When looking over my feedback on your writing, look for patterns. Which symbols do you see most often on your writing? Make sure you understand that particular category of error (ask me if you're unclear!) and in your future writing, focus on that specific issue.

Note: This guide is a work in progress. As I gather more examples I will add them to this guide, and add more detailed descriptions as well. If you want know more about a type of error I haven't documented very extensively, please ask me!

Standard editing marks

These are marks and symbols that are widely used in the English-speaking world when editing documents. I use them when marking up your papers, and you may well see other teachers using them as well.

Austin's special editing marks

These are symbols and abbreviations that I've invented. You won't necessarily see other people using these marks.

te (tense)

Most of you are familiar with verb tenses already, and the concept shouldn't need further explanation. In my experience, in most cases, when a student is thinking consciously about tense, they are able to figure out what tense the verb should be.


(hover your cursor over the sentences for corrections)

has arisen  wide discussion   (but "arisen" is not quite the right word)

has arisen wide discussion   (but "arisen" is not quite the right word)

it  would  be so ridiculous

it would be so ridiculous

more than 7000 languages  have emerged

more than 7000 languages have emerged

it  would   be  so ridiculous

it would be so ridiculous

Austin Woerner