Hirsch Proofreading Glossary

Abbreviations. These refer to text identified by a vertical line in the margin, an underline, or a circled region.

Definition / Explanation Example


Awkward sentence


missing, misplaced, or unmatched comma. use paired commas to set off phrases, such as this one, within your sentences. Use a comma to separate two clauses. And, in spite of what you may have been taught, using the comma before "and" in a list is clearer than omitting it.

cap Odd capitalization the rock contained Quartz and Plagioclase, both Anhedral.


Language is too casual for formal writing.


Citation style is inconsistent, unconventional, or doesn't follow assigned style.


A figure would have helped here.

frag This is a sentence fragment, or a fragmentary phrase.
n Problem with number. ...polymerized network of silica tetrahedron.
ns Nonsensical statement chemical composition of major elements
obf Obfuscatory sentence or phrase


Sentence structure is not parallel.

The area contains basalt, diorite, and it was metamorphosed to greenschist conditions.
pro Pronoun problem with number or gender. An analysis of rock in Utah to establish their origins.


Redundant; you've said this elsewhere in the paper.

rep Repetitive; try not to use the same word or phrase too often. The magma chamber is a shallow magma chamber.


Reference citation is needed here.


Run-on sentence or sentence is too complex. To fix, either make each clause a separate sentence, or separate related clauses with a semicolon.


Use of apostrophe is incorrect. Apostrophes belong in contractions (isn't) and possessives other than pronouns (the clast's composition), but not in possessive pronouns (his, hers, its). However, you should not use contractions in formal writing.


Spelling error; use a spell checker! Misspelled words leave a bad impression.

stet The reviewer made an error, or changed his mind. The original version is fine.


No topic sentence. The first sentence in a paragraph should tell the reader what in general is coming or should otherwise set up the rest of the paragraph.


Unclear phrase or sentence.


Ungrammatical for multiple or complex reasons. Rephrase and/or rewrite.


Verb doesn't match number of subject.

vt Verb tense is wrong or odd. In the Cretaceous, the dinosaurs will be wiped out.


Write out: numbers in text ("these three units") should be written out in formal text, and acronyms and abbreviations should be written out the first time they are used, with the acronym/abbreviation noted parenthetically.

ww or wc

Wrong word: word choice is odd or incorrect.



Delete the text in square brackets.

Delete the text crossed through with the curlicue.

Close up (remove the extra space or spaces).

Insert text (two styles)

Insert space (two styles)

Make into subscript or superscript. (In MS Word, these can be found in Format > Font). (On the Mac, superscript is [Command]-[Shift]-+, and subscript is [Command]-=. There are probably similar keystrokes on Windows).

Capitalize word. Place names, official names of formations, periods, and systems.

Letter should be lower case. Directions (north, northwest), everyday mineral and rock names, terranes, and faults are typically not capitalized.

Begin a new paragraph here

Reverse the enclosed text.

Good job! Well phrased or written.