Editing Marks

After nearly a decade as a high school English teacher, I have developed my own editing code of symbols. If you’ve ever worked as an editor in any field, then you understand what I am talking about. Some codes have lingered from our high school days and will probably always be there, such as the symbol for paragraphs. Others are more personal while others are more focused towards the type of writing. I have found over the years that it is usually necessary to give my students a cheat sheet to help them understand my editing marks and, in some cases, my abbreviated handwriting. In this case, this post is directed towards the students in Samra Bufkins’ 4460 Public Relations Communications class at UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism.

  • AWK  =  Awkward, as in something is awkwardly phrased and should be rephrased.
  • Frag  =  Fragment sentence. Make complete.
  • WV  =  Word Vomit. This means that what you wrote is either incomprehensible, too wordy or too cliched. 
  • VT  =  Verb Tense. You used past tense when you should’ve used present tense, for example.
  • AP  =  AP Style correction required. Consult the latest AP Stylebook.
  • POV  =  The point of view (1st, 2nd, 3rd) is confusing or needs to be changed. 
  • Sp  =  Spelling mistake.
  • GSP  =  Lots of grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes – more than I want to deal with. 
  • X  =  Get rid of this. You have written something I hate. Usually this is reserved for the 2nd person point of view or some colloquialism that I can’t stand. 
  • Pl.  =  Plural form is incorrect.
  • Huh?  =  Same as the first part above.
  • WTF?  =  It means exactly what you think it means. This rarely used gem means that what you wrote is so stupid, so ridiculous or so incoherent that this is the only thing running through my head.
  • underline  =  For the blogs, this means that I need to see a hyperlink for this word. 
  • circled punctuation  =  The punctuation mark you used is wrong. Take it out or replace it with the proper punctuation.
  • I  =  This means that you need a space between two words.
  • ¶  =  Paragraph symbol means start a new paragraph
  • [   ]  =  Anything in brackets usually means that the sentence needs to be rewritten in some way.
  • ?  =  Usually this means I am unsure what you are talking about in your writing and something needs to be clarified. Sometimes though, it just means that you need to use a question mark in which case it will be written where the question mark should’ve been.
  • /  =  A struck line through a letter can mean either that you used a letter that didn’t belong or you capitalized a letter that shouldn’t have been capitalized.
  • arrow to the left  =  Indention not needed.
  • arrow to the right  =  Indent the line.
If I use something else that you don’t understand, feel free to message me on Twitter @AM_Freeland 


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