This assignment is based on the assumption that correctly identifying a problem is a large part of the solution to the problem. Therefore, here is an opportunity for you to examine your writing habits to identify existing writing problems and then to plan strategies designed to repair those problems.
You will examine the compositions you have written so far in this class in order to identify and then analyze patters of errors. For this assignment, error covers three general categories:
- any incidence in your work in which your teacher noted grammatical/mechanical problem (fragment, run-on, comma splice, agreement, dangling modifier, etc.)
- any comment of marking from a peer reviewer or teacher during conferences; and
- your own assessment of patterns you are already aware of and that you make conscious efforts to address (clarity, word choice, intro/conclusion paragraph issues, etc.)
First, prepare a list of errors. List at least two different writing issues from any three of your documents. You need a total of 10 errors on this list. Each of the 10 items will contain the following information:
- source text title (error in journal/fact sheet/vocabulary/etc.);
- the handbook reference for the error;
- a label for the error (e.g. comma splice, subject-verb agreement, faulty parallel construction, spelling error, tense shift, tone/language, fragment, etc.);
- original source text that clearly shows the error; and
- the corrected text
Second, prepare a memo for your teacher summarizing your list. In the memo, you will identify and analyze the patterns that you found; please use the language from the handbook. In the memo, you will provide three examples from your list that reveal a pattern of errors. In addition, reflect on the strategies you have already put into place or plan to implement in order to effectively address your writing problems in subsequent compositions.
This material will count as one essay grade, so treat it as such.
Format for the list:
A. Composition 1
- handbook reference number (i.e. Faigley, page number)
- a label for the error (i.e. spelling: there/their)
- text from the journal which indicates the error
- the correct text
B. Composition 2
- etc. until you reach 10 errors
Format for the memo:
Date: 8 November 2006
To: Your Teacher
English 104, Section 14
From: Your Name
Re: Error map assignment
While completing this assignment, I noticed that I make quite a lot of comma errors. Etc.(Then show examples.)
While searching through my past assignments, I realized that I have a large amount of misspelled words. A lot of the spelling errors were homonyms that spellcheck didn't catch. I find it very difficult to proofread my own papers because I know what I wanted to type, so I don't always read what I actually typed. One error was the word "there," of the posessive form of the word "their" that I wanted to use in the sentence. "Many people that get charged high risk insurance just because they have had a few unlucky accidents that may or may not have been there fault." The sentence now correctly reads, "Many people that get charged high risk insurance just because they have had a few unlucky accidents that may or may not have been their fault." When I proofread quickly I don't always catch words spelled wrong that sound the same.
Another error that I found in my interview paper is subject/verb agreement error. In the sentence "RoundUp is one fo the safest chemicals that are used to kill weeds." I used the word "are" instead of the word "is." The word "is," which is a singular verb, needs to be used in this sentence because the subject is "RoundUp" which is also singular. I used the word "are" because I thought that "chemicals" was the subject of the sentence. The verb does not relate to the word "chemicals" because it is part of a prepositional phrase. The sentence now correctly reads "RoundUp is one of the safest chemicals that is used to kill weeds." This error is very difficult to find if you don't spend a lot of time looking at the different parts of the sentence> The grammar check on my computer also told me that I should have used the word "are."
Through this assignment I have realized that I have to pay more attention while I proofread my assignments. I have also realized that it is better to proofread a day after writing the assignment.
Adapted from Alzire Messenger