A: I often use the following highlight colors to indicate certain writing issues
ORANGE = wdy = wordy, verbose
- wordy: too many words express a desired thought or concept; try to shorten or condense the phrasing or simply omit unnecessary words; also repetitive and/or run-on sentences
- Please read these tips to make your writing concise and powerful http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp/2012/04/wordy.html
YELLOW = grammar issues, including misplaced modifiers, usage, spelling, articles, agreement, capitalization
- agr = agreement, either subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent
- art = articles: Should I use an indefinite article (a/an) or a definite article (the)? http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp/2011/04/articles.html
- cs = comma splice
- dm = dangling modifier
- frag = [sentence] fragment, incomplete sentence: There is part of a sentence, but not enough to make a complete one.
- cap = capitalize, use uppercase letters (please read this post http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp/2011/03/acronyms.html)
- lc = use lowercase letter (please read this post http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp/2011/03/acronyms.html)
- no = number: A number is used incorrectly in text. A common error is beginning a sentence with a number in numerical form. Although sentences may begin with numbers in spelled-out form, numbers in numerical form are not used to begin sentences. The second most common error is failing to spell out numbers less than ten. (http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp/2011/03/writingnumbers.html)
- sp = spelling error or "spell out": This signal indicates a spelling mistake, a typographical error, the improper use of an abbreviation instead of the complete word or words, or the failure to spell out numbers less than ten.
- spchk = use spellcheck (Please learn to avoid these common spelling and grammar errors (not picked up by spell checkers) http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp/2013/09/common-spelling-and-grammar-errors-not.html
- v = verb form or forms are incorrect. The most common error of this type is disagreement between the number of the subject of the sentence and the number of the verb ("she see" or "they talks"). Another common problem occurs in series of nouns with "and" or "or;" in "or" series the number of the verb should agree with the noun that is closest to the verb in the sentence. Correct: "A lapse, an error, or omissions in text make it difficult to read." (In this sentence, the plural verb form "make" is correct because the plural noun "omissions" is closest to the verb.)
- ww = wrong word
- tr = transpose letters or words
- # = add space
GREEN = vague, illogical, imprecise or misleading
- Vague: add prepositional phrases and details to fix the context and define the issues
- va = vague: A paragraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word is vague, nonspecific, imprecise, or misleading. The most common error is failure to include short prepositional phrases that tie things down. Vague (depending on context): "The court refused to decide the issue." Precise: "The court refused to decide the issue of proximate cause."
- Solution: show, don't tell (http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp/2011/03/sdt.html)
- This... what? Professor John Cochrane at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business says, you should clothe the naked “this.” “This” should always have something following it. “This example shows that....” is fine. More generally, this rule helps you to avoid an unclear antecedent to the “this.” Often there are three or more things in recent memory that “this” could point to. http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp/2014/07/this-what.html
BLUE = logic or transition issues
- not believable, not credible (esp. in recommendation letters)
- The greatest mistake that I see applicants make when drafting bullet points for letters of recommendation: they cross the credibility line by referencing information the recommender is unlikely to know. Recommenders can only mention what you said and did, not what you thought and felt. How can a recommender know your inner motivations unless you told him? And even if you told him, why would he feel the need to mention such information in a letter of recommendation? Bottom line: He should discuss what you said (add real dialogue) and did (actions and results) instead of what you thought or felt.
- trans = transition problem: A transition between paragraphs, arguments, or sections of the writing is nonexistent, abrupt, weak, lame or misleading. Think about the logical relationship between the parts that need connecting and try to write a smooth and helpful transition. Good transitions are based upon ideas and their logical relationship, not just clever or stock phrases.
- Please read these tips to improve your transitions http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp/2012/04/transitions.html
PINK = awkward or passive
- awkward phrasing, although not grammatically incorrect. Most common: words with slightly inapposite meaning, too many words to express a particular concept, or awkward (but not technically incorrect) grammatical construction
- pv = passive voice: Passive constructions ("the case was decided" or "it was determined that...") are grammatically correct but weak and often confusing. They are useful only when the subject of the verb is unknown or indefinite or the writer wishes to conceal the subject.
- Otherwise, passive voice—particularly if used repeatedly—is a sign of wooden and heavy writing.
- Solution: There are five reasons to use passive voice. Please learn them! http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp/2011/04/passive-voice.html