Correcting your written work

When correcting your work we use a number code to indicate what might be wrong (numbers 1-24). You need to think about the corrections we have made and think about how you could correct them. This web page will help you in your thinking. Some of the codes have on-line exercises to do and they are linked to using the red buttons [example]. All of the codes have examples with explanations.

You can move around (navigate) the pages by using the usual buttons at the top of the screen.

The red writing in the examples given are incorrect English.

Page last updated 25/10/18

  1. unclear  
  2. not the best choice
  3. use of source material
  4. register/formality
  5. repetition
  6. paragraph
  7. marker/connective
  8. sentence structure
  9. sentence length
  10. punctuation
  11. word order
  12. missing word
  13. phrase/clause construction
  14. relative clauses
  15. reference
  16. number of noun
  17. determiners
  18. verb tense
  19. verb form
  20. vocabulary mistake
  21. collocation
  22. word form
  23. preposition
  24. spelling

Example of error link


The meaning of the content of what you write is not clear.
This is because they might think that an attractive face is related to the image of their companies and will be easy to have a good relationship.

Plastic surgery is hard to accept without moral consciousness.

 Control of language


not the best choice

The reader understands what the writer means. However, this is not a good way to write it. The writer  needs to change the grammar and/or the vocabulary in some way. ..they still get right to choose between live or die.

In these last years illegal music downloading and peer to peer has massively increased

Academic writing


use of source material

The paraphrasing, summarising or quotation is inadequate or inappropriate.


The use of bibliographic referencing is either missing or incorrect.
(Carla, Power, 2003. NEWSWEEK, 11th August.)
(This reference is wrongly constructed)

" Fat adults who were fat children find it more difficult to lose weight than those who were thin in their youth". (no date or author for this quotation)



The language style or choice of words is in the wrong register. This means the vocabulary is too informal or the writer may have used a contracted form. This encourages people to eat more and more poor quality food. (formality).

Couldn't you imagine the effect the UN aid programme had on water supplies. (contraction)


The writer has used the same words or phrases too closely to each other. This results in poor style. Some people think this is good for students and some people think this is bad for students.

Paragraphs >>> sentences >>> clauses



The paragraph is not well constructed . It might be too long or too short. It may have too many controlling ideas or not enough. There may be no supporting sentences, or the supporting sentences may not relate well to the controlling idea. It may also be that the ideas are not in the best order and that the paragraph does not follow the general to specific pattern. (Use the link to examine this issue more thoroughly)


The writer has used the wrong marker/connective or not used one at all. or used one when it is not necessary However, in addition, because etc

sentence structure

The writer may have:
  1. joined two sentences with a comma incorrectly when something stronger is needed like a colon (:) or a full stop (.). (comma splice).
  2. missed out dividing punctuation (run-on sentence)
  3. missed out the main verb of the sentence
  1. The president visited the city the next day, he stayed overnight. (comma splice)
  2. The president visited the city the next day he stayed overnight. (run on sentence)
  3. In addition to this, more protection for migrants against the criminals. (no verb)

sentence length

The sentence is either too long or too short. It needs to be divided into two or more shorter sentences or linked and put into one sentence. Cars provide the transport but also cause laziness, with cars people tends to sit in the car and ride, they will hesitate to walk or ride a bicycle.

We should try our best to protect the environment. We should try to plant trees and use public transport.


The writer may have missed a capital letter or full stop.  ....and the impact of them being left alone in the world brings another problem the survival. (missing colon).

word order

The writer has written a group of words in the wrong order They also are exposed to dangerous tools.

From the exports, China receives about 969.3 billion dollars per year.

missing word

The writer has missed out a word which should be there encourage them .... play sports

phrase/clause construction

The writer has used a wrong construction. The writer may have used 'to' instead of 'that' or missed a verb from a clause. It could be suggested to promote more environmentally friendly ways to travel.

The financial report of government expenditure has shown that it is needed more than 10,000 pounds for one soldier per year.


relative clauses

The writer has used the wrong relative pronoun (who, which, that, where, whose,) or used it incorrectly. The writer may not have included a relative pronoun when one is needed. This might have happened in quite a few cases, which universities do not have good education systems.

"Fat adults which were fat children find it more difficult to lose weight than those who were thin in their youth."




The writer has made a mistake in how/s/he refers to something else in the text. It might be the wrong reference word or it may not be clear what s/he is referring to. Some students open their own companies instead of finding jobs and it seems that it is becoming more popular.


number of noun

The writer has put a word in the singular when it should be in the plural - or the opposite. As a result some teachers will find their job less interesting.

Besides, changing eating habit is also a very good way to reduce the obesity problem for example adding more vegetable and less oil.


The writer has not used the following correctly:
    a, an, the, 0 article,
    this, that, these, those, their, ‘s, each, every, all, most, some, both, neither, either, none
    In addition, ... time limitation for alcohol leads to a social unfairness too.

    I knew neither of the two brothers.



    verb tense

    The writer has put the verb in the wrong tense. The cultural organization had emphasized that the most efficient way to solve child labour problem is to ensure.........

    It expanded swiftly over the past ten years.

    verb form

    The writer has used the wrong form of the verb. For example:
    1. singular instead of plural
    2. infinitive instead of the 'ing' form
    3. passive instead of active
    4. the wrong modal verb (may/might, can/could, must/have to etc)
    1. The obesity problem have to be solved.
    2. Those poor families would have no other choice but sending some of their children to work in factories.
    3. Adults should exercise daily for 30 minutes which can be included walking, cycling to work, gardening and housework.



    vocabulary mistake

    The writer has used the wrong word. These laws were not carried out (enforced) strictly.


    The writer's meaning is clear but the choice of words unusual. These words are not normally used together. This incites (encourages) people not to buy music but to download it from the internet without charge.

    Production companies have the same economic troubles (problems).

    word form

    The correct word has been used but in the wrong form. For example a noun instead of an adjective. ....the unfortunately (unfortunate) thousands of children that will be left without a job.

    More than 20 percent of the economy is industry (industrial) and less than 5 percent is agriculture (agricultural).


    The wrong preposition has been used, or it is missing or it is not required. ..which is the worst effect by (of) child labour.

    It rests on the shoulders of the whole ... our society.


    The writer has spelled the word wrongly. Althought its economy has rapidly changed, Algeria......