Common FAE writing problems (with mentor mark code)

ACTION Failure to use action verbs

S-V Imperfect subject-verb agreement

AWK Awkward phrase or sentence   [Awkward = does not read smoothly]

CAS Casual language, not formal (not FAE).

COMB Related sentences that should be combined.

Starting a sentence with ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘so’.

GR Grammar mistake

LINK Wrong logic link, or at least not the best choice of link

WINDY Wordy sentence that can be improved by nominalization

            Nominalization is making a phrase (or something) into a noun phrase (or s.t.)

NON-STD Non-standard phrasing (often a matter of usage)

NOT TRUE Sentence or clause which, as written, is untrue.

            e.g. In this paper, 36 randomly selected subjects were interviewed.

PAR Structurally imperfect parallelism [in lists / comparisons ]

            e.g. Some people have been forced to live in cars, garages and under bridges.

CLOSENESS Chunk of text is not in close proximity to the chunk it’s strongly related to.

            Re “Closeness is strength of relation” guideline.

RED Redundant element (some information has been repeated)

            e.g. The temperature was also recorded as well.)

REF Pronoun reference / article reference problem

            (i.e. What is the referent of this pronoun / article?

            a.k.a. What does this pronoun / article refer to?)

RED Repetitive/reduncant phrasing

REPHR Clunky or hard-to-parse text that needs rephrasing.

WINDY Run-on sentence: too long to be readable / too long to hold the reader’s attention.

SP Spelling mistake

S-V distance   [The subject and verb are dangerously far apart.]

TENSE Wrong verb tense (past/present/future)   [e.g. Yesterday I have gone to Tokushima.]


The first part of a sentence (or paragraph) should contain TOPIC info, i.e. background, or back-linking information;

the last part should contain STRESS info, i.e. what you want to reveal or emphasize.


            A combination of words that is not standard/not central.

                        e.g. The country was fragmented into many domains.

                                    [Try a concordancer. Try google Ngram viewer.]

VAGUE  Phrasing is vague or ambiguous.

            e.g. The dispute weakened the position of the government.


            Using passive voice instead of active voice, or in rare cases, vice versa.

                        e.g. The ball was hit by the batter.

                        Here a ‘VOICE’ comment means: change to “The batter hit the ball.”)

WINDY          The writing is run-on; it could and should be much shorter.

WORD            Word choice is less than optimal for your meaning, or for precision.