Mark-Up Symbols

Sometimes a reviewer completes the final revision of your composition. In some cases he or she is your peer or your instructor. In other cases the reviewer may be an editor of a professional journal. In order to communicate textual changes between you and the reviewer, the use of standardized mark-up symbols is helpful. The actual marks made on the document indicate the changes that the reviewer wants you to make. Knowing what the symbols mean and how to interpret them is a useful skill.

Mark-up or proofreading symbols can be found in documentation style manuals and at:


Common Markup Symbols
Symbol Meaning Example
Insert a comma symbol - A caret over a comma. insert a comma The mayors brother (insert comma) I tell you (insert comma) is a crook.
Apostrophe symbol - an apostrophe over a V. apostrophe or single
quotation mark
I wouldnt (insert apostrophe) know where to put this vase.
An insert symbol - An upside down V. insert something I know it (insert symbol) in fact everyone knows it. (Insert a semicolon.)
Double quotes symbol - Two double quote marks side by side. Each has an upside down V beneath it. use double quotation marks My favorite poem is (insert double quote) Design (insert double quote) .
Period symbol. A period with a circle around it. use a period here This is a declarative sentence (insert period).
Delete symbol - Looks like a cursive lower-case e. delete The elephants trunk is is (delete the second is) really its nose.
Transpose symbol - Looks like a tilde character. transpose elements He only picked (transpose only and picked to make picked only) the one he likes.
Close up symbol - Looks like frowning mouth over top a smiling mouth, or a circle cut open along the horziontal axis. close up this space Jordan lost his favorite basket ball (close up basket and ball to make a single word).
Space symbol - looks like the number symbol you get by pressing shift 3 on a keyboard. a space needed here I have only three friendsTed (insert a space between friends and Tad, Raoul, and Alice.
Paragraph symbol - A circle with two parallel vertical lines drawn through the right half of the circle, extending down below the circle. begin new paragraph I knew it, I said. (insert paragraph) I thought so, she replied.
No paragraph symbol - The word no with a paragraph symbol directly to the right of the word no. no paragraph no good.


Tip: Common Writing Errors and Issues

Many people find that they tend to repeat the same kinds of errors in their writing. One way to avoid making the same mistakes is to make a list of them. Use a word processing program to keep a log of the mistakes you make most often. When you revise your compositions, use this list to help you eliminate the more common errors.

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Improving a Draft: Suggested Analysis