Limiting Commentary Topics


Numerous comments on a broad range of topics not only have the potential to cause a major blow to writers' self-confidence in their writing abilities, but they overwhelm writers so that the task of revising seems hopeless. Also, on a paper a hierarchy of importance is absent. So if pressed for time to turn in the rewrite students may address only the grammatical errors, while the paper indeed suffers more from global problems such as lack of organization and poor development. While teachers read and write commentary on papers they are able to mentally rank the importance of the problems; however, when students are faced with a paper that contains marginal notes every other sentence ranging from errors in mechanics to gaps in logic, they are given no evidence regarding which errors are more crucial to the strength of their writing. Therefore, it benefits writers to concentrate commentary on the two or three most important problematic areas or errors.



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