The same symbols are used in electronic and paper documents.
In electronic documents, the symbols begin with "**" and end with "*" for easy navigation via the Search function of your word processor. Unless otherwise indicated, the comments are placed in front of the words to which they apply.
**BBBA* --- This stands for "Blow-by-blow account." It means you have not provided transitions that are connected to the logic of your argument. Rather, your transitions are in terms of chronology. That is, you say, "First," "Next," and "Finally," without showing why the first point is first, the next point is next, etc.
**blank (n)* ---n describes how many of the following words are involved. Blank means euphemism you could probably leave this word or words out. They add nothing to your point.
**BW? (n)* ---n describes how many of the following words are involved. “BW?” is shorthand for “Better word?” This means that I believe the word(s) you used does not/do not have quite the right connotation to express what you mean. There is a better word you could use to express what you are trying to say.
**CF* --- This stands for "comma fault." This does not mean to delete the comma! It means you are punctuating your sentences incorrectly. For tips on correcting this problem, see How Sentences Work.
**DM* ---dangling modifier. This usually refers to an "ing" word usually that is a verb form. If you look at the rest of the sentence, you may notice that the person doing the "ing" thing has been left out of the sentence. The subject of the sentence may be "it" or "this" and needs to be changed to the person doing the action of the "ing" word. Otherwise, the thing the word marked "DM" is modifying is missing from the sentence.
**frag* --- This is used to tag a sentence fragment: a subject without a main verb, or a main verb without a subject. You probably thought it was a complete sentence, but it isn’t. For tips on correcting this problem, see How Sentences Work.
**euph (n)* ---n describes how many of the following words are involved. euph means euphemism. This means there is a simpler way of saying the idea you have expressed, one with fewer words and maybe a strong verb.
**MM* ---misplaced modifier. This usually refers to a word or other group of words modifying another word. If you look at the rest of the sentence, you may notice that word being modified is very far from the phrase that goes with it. Move them closer together.
**PP1*...**PP2* ---These always go together. The two words so marked do not fit together in some way. Maybe one is present tense, one past, or one is singular, one plural.
**poor* ---refers usually to a group or words with "with." Replace them with a clause that starts with "which" "that" "after" "when" or some other subordinate clause.
**punct* ---The upcoming phrase or sentence contains incorrect punctuation, OR, the upcoming phrase or sentence lacks punctuation which is needed. For tips on correcting this problem, see How Sentences Work
**SI (n)* ---n describes how many of the following words are involved. SI means "split infinitive": to talk, is, for instance, an infinitive. You split one when you put a word between the "to" and the "talk," as in “to simply talk.” This is thought to be bad usage.
**So what?* ---How do the previously mentioned points contribute to your growing argument in the paper?
**SP* ---Spelling error.
**SVA* ---subject-verb agreement. You have a plural subject with a singular verb or a singular subject with a plural verb.
**Vague thesis* ---This is more like a topic than a thesis. It is important that a paper have a thesis that explains right away what you are going to show in it. Don't be afraid to "give away" your thesis right away, even if you have not shown your evidence for it yet. If you put it up here, your reader will understand that you will show it later in the paper, and your paper will have what is called "focus," so you reader will understand what to expect as she or he reads on.
**V (n)* ---n describes how many of the following words are involved. V means vague.
**WF* ---wrong form. This form (or tense of a verb) does exist or does not fit with one or more of the words in the sentence.
Or: this tense of a verb does not fit with the idea you are describing. When you describe two times in the past, the one further in the past has to be expressed as past perfect. For example: "Yesterday I read the book I had gotten from the library the day before." "Had gotten" is past perfect and it means I got the book before I read it.
When you describe something that did not happen in the past but could have you need a special form known as "contrary to fact." Example: If I had bought a pink hat (I didn't), I would now be ready for the party.
**wordy (n)* ---n describes how many of the following words are involved. This means there is a simpler way of saying the idea you have expressed, one with fewer words and maybe a strong verb.
**WW* --wrong word. This word does not mean what you think it does. Or it does not fit with one or more of the words in the sentence.