• Thesis statements- unclear, wordy argument, use of pronouns
  • Over use of observation, paraphrasing and summarizing instead of critical analysis-lack of textual details, faulty assumptions
  • Summarizing vs. analyzing-use of unnecessary (plot) details/ lack of critical thinking
  • Use of qualitative observations based on generalizations vs. specificity, inability to use the text to form basis of argument or foundation of thought, oversimplification of concepts
  • Misuse of figurative language and literary terms and significant terminology
  • Failure to present opinions as claims and facts as evidence
  • Inability to relate or properly analyze literary period or historical texts
  • Ending paragraphs with questions vs. addressing issues in context of paragraph topic
  • Introducing analysis too late in the paper to develop sufficiently
  • Repetition because of “weak” vocabulary skills and limited comprehension
  • Inaccuracy in identifying poetry lines, supporting shifts in symbolism with evidence
  • Missing issues relevant to standard interpretations
  • Inappropriate use of quotations and knowing when to paraphrase
  • Plagiarism-failing to acknowledge sources accurately if at all

Examples of grammatical problems

Nouns count/noncount, sing/plural forms
Prepositions by/of, in/at, to/at
Articles the/a/an
Pronouns it/them, one/their, he/she/it- pronoun antecedents
Verbs tense, person/number subject agreement, use of contractions, passive voice
Adverbs overuse of dogmatic tone, conjunctive adverbs
Adjectives superlative/comparative, adjectival phrases/clauses/placement/structure
Conjunctions transition words

Problematic Punctuation and Mechanics

  • Active/passive voice
  • Semi-colon
  • Parenthesis, ellipsis, dashes
  • End marks inside quotations-exceptions
  • Paragraph length and topic sentences
  • Rules for quotation within quotation
  • Sentence construction
  • Correct citations

Contact Information

Barbara Britt-Hysell

Director of the English for Speakers of Other Languages Program
Buttrick Hall, Garden Level
315-859-4150 bbritthy@hamilton.edu

Office Hours

Academic Year

Aug 25 – May 14

M 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

T 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

W 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

T 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

F 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Weekend conferences by appointment.
Back to Top