Welcome to the revision process for The FAVORS Glossary: Guide to Using Margin Comments for Revising Academic Essays, A Writing Textbook Companion, 2011. This page is a work in progress. Last rev. 11/4/2019, 12/30/2020
I wrote the initial content for The FAVORS Glossary out of a desire to make sense of margin comments professors red-inked on my papers. I wrote the book with the purpose to provide an explanation for those margin comments. I had only taught for one year as a graduate student and tutored for multiple years. My explanations are, at best, my well-intentioned strategy for helping students work through the writing processes, using revision as a target.
However, as I have been teaching English as a college instructor consistently at Richland College, every semester, and teaching first-year composition, I have learned that The FAVORS Glossary needs much revision. It lacks the scholarship necessary to ground many of the ideas housed within the book. It is also not practical.
One of the questions I asked myself, or I pretended that I was a learning center coordinator or instructor, helped me to realize that I needed to take it off the market and rethink my strategy. I was afraid of teachers, instructors, and writing center coordinators asking this one question:
Once I understood this question, I understood that there was much more work to be done. Though I self-published the book and its corresponding editions, I pulled it from the market some time in 2013. It is now, in 2019, that I am ready to reconsider the text, i.e., rewrite it.
However, rewriting and revising The FAVORS Glossary will require extended teaching of revision in the first-year composition classroom to learn, to teach, and to practice. Teaching revision, now incorporating it into the composition classroom, along with other subject matter and writing processes, is now a significant focus for bringing the book to where it needs to be as a wholly commercial, publishable, marketable, and employable text, workbook, and/or companion.
The current research project How Do You Learn? under the English tab will inform much of the research I will use for the new book. However, this project for The FAVORS Glossary should embrace scholarship to substantiate and validate claims surrounding the necessity of revision writing.
The accompanying resource, FAVORS Encyclopedia of Writing (FEW), is currently in progress and will serve as an online companion to the book. FEW will house revision topics and audio/visual lectures on writing and revising academic essays. It will also house general lectures for English. The development of FEW is in progress.
The following sections are excerpts from the front matter of The FAVORS Glossary and it is content that is up for study and revision.
This page is a work in progress.
Last rev. 11/4/2019
Copyright (c) 2011-2019 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.
The FAVORS Glossary grows from my concern for college students who struggle with revising academic papers, developing an editing plan, and applying the professor’s margin comments throughout the revision process. Professors red-ink a student’s paper with such comments as “be specific” or “explain this more.” Students receive the papers, but don’t know where to begin. They don’t know how to approach revising the thesis, topic sentences, supporting evidence, analysis, and other essay sections.
As a former student, graduate TA, drop-in writing tutor, and English adjunct instructor, I have witnessed first-hand the college student’s difficulty with test (essay) prompts and take-home final exams. I have witnessed also their struggles with creating an essay that fully reflects the professor’s instructions. For example, professors require students to analyze a literary work, but students develop plot summary.
They don’t know the difference between analyzing and retelling the story. In my own struggles as a college student, I could never understand what my professors were telling me when they said “much more could be said here” and “discuss this.” The whole academic writing process became more and more frustrating as the years came and went.
It wasn’t until I served as a student drop-in writing tutor for the Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies at San Diego State University that I came to understand why students have trouble with writing and revising the academic essay.
My service as a drop-in writing tutor was great training ground. My role was instrumental in my decision to write this textbook and also to create the learning center. The FAVORS Glossary serves as the first foundational resource for The Regina Y. Favors Learning Center (d.b.a., Favors Learning Center). It was in writing this text that I realized college students need a centralized tutoring location to receive assistance with revising their essays.
English campus departments and tutorial writing centers often cannot provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so I wanted to develop a resource that students could use while they were at home. In addition, not every student wants to get dressed to go to a tutorial center for help, even if the center is available for use all night. Instead, pulling a resource off the shelf that provides information about margin comments is ideal for college students with multiple classes and off-campus responsibilities.
The FAVORS Glossary is the ideal reference source for students of English and writing, and for all students who struggle with revising their papers. This is our company’s first edition. We are excited about the textbook and we hope you love it too. Thank you for purchasing a copy and happy reading!
Copyright (c) 2011-2019 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.
The glossary defines more than 170 comments.
To come up with the definitions for these comments, we sifted through old academic papers the author wrote for many English classes, from junior college to graduate study. Over the course of a seven-year academic career, Ms. Favors had written at least 100 papers, including one-page response papers, take-home final exams, in-class final exams, short essays, and the like. She was grateful to have professors who were taskmasters. Their feedback provided the comments necessary to form the basis of the textbook.
We have provided definitions for the margin comments, based upon Ms. Favors’s understanding and review of the essays as a teacher. Among the most common terms are the following: “2.47. Analyze This,” “1.9. Audience,” “2.48. Avoid Plot Summary,” “1.12. Awkward,” “1.15. Cliché,” “1.41. Delete,” “1.34. Examine Evidence from the Text,” “2.18. Lacks a Clear Argument,” and “2.41. Misquoting the Evidence,” to name a few.
From many of the common terms, she developed additional terms that students and instructors will find helpful. These terms include the following: “1.43. Doesn’t Respond to Question,” “1.24. I Don’t Understand What You Are Trying to Say Here,” “7.12. This Doesn’t Occur,” “7.9. Solid Effort,” and “8.13. Winnow, Winnow, Winnow.”
The glossary has a conversational, student-friendly, and encouraging tone. It functions similarly to a drop-in writing tutor. Therefore, the language is purposely simple.
The examples help students visualize and conceptualize the words on the page. From the beginning, each student has learned from pictures. A student looks at a picture of a sock and knows immediately where it is supposed to go. The same line of thinking is present within each definition of a comment. If we say that each sock has a match, then what will happen if we say that a student’s topic sentence must match the meaning of the quote?
For example, a student can’t incorporate a quote that is contradictory to the purpose and direction of the essay. All socks must match. Therefore, all quotes, and topic sentences for that matter, must match the thesis (in meaning). Any quote that doesn’t match the thesis is an enemy, so to speak, and the student must present this fact when introducing reference sources.
The examples and case studies (in the forms of figures) we provide within the textbook are appropriate and relevant.
For example, we incorporate a discussion on “JIFFY” corn bread mix for the comment “Well Done” to show students how first to understand the importance of following instructions; and second, to show students how to use the professor’s instructions as a pre-writing to-do list and a post-writing checklist. We instruct students to hold the professor’s instructions in one hand and their papers in another and go down each line of both lists to make sure they have followed all of the professor’s instructions and then to make sure that the paper is fully cooked (done).
Students will particularly understand from the examples that if they incorporate (BLEND) eight reference sources in their papers when the instructor calls for ten, the paper is not done; if their papers are supposed to be 15 pages (FILL) long and the papers are only 10 pages long, then the paper is not done; and if a student writes a 15-page paper in one day (BAKE), then the paper is not done.
This is just one example of many throughout the glossary that we use to help the student reader visualize the words on the page and then transform the words into written form for the paper.
The glossary is primarily designed to be a post-writing, evaluation checklist.
The glossary does not and should not take the place of the professor’s primary instructions, unless the professor uses the glossary as part of a lecture discussion. Each instructor is different. How a teacher presents a set of instructions on the page will be different from another professor’s essay prompt.
However, collectively, professors follow the rules of the canon and the guiding principles of their respective disciplines, so to use the glossary as a substitute when it doesn’t serve as the primary text is to ignore the foundation your professor has built for the classroom.
In many cases, students in the middle of the writing process may refer to the glossary to help them understand how to express ideas and how to present information within their papers accurately. In addition, students may use the glossary to help them visualize how they might start the introduction paragraph, to develop a thesis, or to present a clear argument where the reader knows who the players are within the work. The glossary is useful for all of these activities, but keep in mind that the glossary supports and balances the learning process; it does not substitute for the role of the instructor.
The glossary is a handy reference source and an instructor’s bible. It serves as a uniform code of comments.
The glossary primarily serves the academic writing community—i.e. students who write English academic essays; students in developmental writing classes who have failed an entrance writing exam; the ESL student community; graduate students; and professors and TA’s of English and Rhetoric & Writing Studies disciplines. In general, all students who write academic papers may also use the glossary.
The glossary is a tool that aims to promote consistency within the academic writing community, for students and professors alike. For example, in the same way that one dictionary presents the singular spelling of the word “glossary” with a “y” and not “ie,” all dictionaries must also follow this pattern. Different dictionaries might provide multiple examples as supplementary to primary definitions, but the majority of all dictionaries will not deviate from the primary spelling of a word and the primary definition of a word. In other words, additional wording and phrasing are always supplementary to the standard.
Although it functions as a writing companion, the glossary is designed to represent the standard. It uniquely closes the communication gap between the professor and the student in that it provides a uniform code of comments to help the student understand what the professor means concerning a particular comment written within the margin of a certain paragraph.
Professors and instructors alike can use this glossary as a guiding principle for writing comments on their students’ papers. When students receive their papers with comments written in the margins, they, in turn, can refer to the definition of a comment, read it, and understand what a professor means by, for example, “Be Specific.”
The glossary promotes uniformity among the English academic community and related writing disciplines.
Copyright (c) 2011-2019 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.
Part One: Sample Student Paper provides a sample paper on John Steinbeck’s short story, “Chrysanthemums.” The student writer of the paper is the author, Regina Y. Favors. Ms. Favors wrote the essay for a second-year English literature class. The purpose of including the paper within the glossary is to provide a sample to students of how easy it is to create an essay that doesn’t reflect the true intention of the author of the work.
In the paper are present assumptions and opinions that have no correlation to the author’s purpose. With this in mind, the sample paper is primarily used in Chapter 9: Revising the Analysis, where we address problems with the student’s thesis, topic sentences, supporting evidence, and use of quotes.
Part Two: Understanding the Drafting Processes comprises three major chapters, which include references to margin comments. Chapter 1: The First Draft introduces the term “revision plan.” The first draft of a paper tends to be illogical; so much work is needed to prepare it for the second round of the revision process.
With this in mind, Chapter 1 begins with a 1) sample essay prompt and an 2) example of an introduction paragraph response to the prompt. Throughout this chapter, students learn about the problems associated with developing ambiguous and ambitious thesis statements, using themes out of context, and revising sentences for clarity at the first draft level.
Margin comments include “1.7. Read Aloud,” 1.11. Needs Clarification,” “1.12. Awkward,” “1.16. Confusing,” “1.18. Contradictory,” “1.19. Convoluted Sense,” and “1.23. Explain Exactly What You Mean Here.”
Chapter 2: The Second Draft introduces “development editing,” which is a popular publishing term that refers to the process of restructuring content for clarity and effectiveness. At the second draft level, students confront the task of revising for argument, chronology, coherence, continuity, organization, logic and deductive reasoning, and expressions.
In Chapter 2, we place the margin comments under essay section categories for easy reading. For example, we place margin comments under these category titles: Introduction, Thesis, Topic Sentences, Supporting Evidence, and Conclusion. Under Supporting Evidence, there are further sub-categories that include the following section headings: Examples, Quotes, Analysis vs. Plot Summary, and Transitions. Margin comments include “2.30. Not Clearly Expressed,” “2.6. Good,” “2.7. Makes No Sense,” “2.8. Not a Clear Distinction,” “2.9. Be Specific,” and “2.18. Lacks a Clear Argument. Chapter 2 is the longest chapter of the book.
Chapter 3: The Third Draft represents the grammar chapter. It is shorter than the previous two. At the third draft level are primarily issues with passive construction (passive voice), quote integration, and various proofreading problems. The professor typically uses punctuation marks to highlight a particular issue with a paragraph and/or line.
For example, if a professor questions your use of a quote, then the professor will use a question mark (?). Next to the question mark or at the end of the essay the professor will offer a brief explanation in the form of a question or general comment.
The third draft is by no means the last part of the revision process, but it is a draft that provides information about particular grammar issues you may be having with your paper. Margin comments include “3.4. Must Be a Sentence,” “3.5. No Caps,” “3.6. Proofreading,” and “3.7. Punctuation.” Chapter 3 also provides a sample proofreading checklist.
Part Three: Understanding the Revision Processes comprises five chapters, which also include references to margin comments. Part Three represents theoretically and collectively the fourth draft level. This level requires attention to details in the introduction, thesis, topic sentences, supporting evidence, transitions, and organization. At this level, students move beyond proofreading to actually revising the work structurally. In other words, the developmental editing process is extended to the revision processes of this third part of the book.
Chapter 4: Revising the Introduction is a very short chapter that houses two major comments: “4.2. Strong Introduction” and “4.3. What Author/What Authors.” The purpose of Chapter 4 is to provide brief encouragement concerning the importance of developing a strong introduction. In addition, the second comment is important to consider for papers where professors require students to introduce a reference source in the essay. How you introduce an author will have a significant impact on the rest of your analysis.
Chapter 5: Revising the Thesis extends the “ambiguous” conversation discussed in Chapter 1. Chapter 5 explores the role of ambiguity within the thesis and within your presentation of the author’s ideas. The chapter offers an example of an ambiguous thesis based in a reference to a sample passage of King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The chapter provides methods for revising ambiguity in the thesis, topic sentence, and supporting evidence. Margin comments for the chapter include “5.2. Ambiguous,” “5.3. Theme?”, “5.4. Too Broad,” and “5.5. Vague.”
Chapter 6: Revising Topic Sentences provides sample excerpts that highlight the students’ need to mark a straight path for the type of essay they will revise. This path includes reconstructing sentences so that they do not misrepresent the author’s ideas. In addition, students learn in this chapter how to stay on topic and remove generality. Margin comments include “6.3. Right/On the Right Path,” “6.4. Stick With the Topic,” and “6.5. Vague Generality.”
Chapter 7: Revising Supporting Evidence is longer than the previous chapters. In Chapter 7, students learn how to remove redundant phrasing, revise for relevance, rephrase unclear sentences, and develop sentences that are sound and solid. At this draft level, students must be able to recognize repetition and revise for contradiction. Margin comments include “7.2. Redundant/Redundant Phrasing,” “7.3. Relevance,” “7.4. Rephrase,” “7.6. Repetition/Repetitious,” “7.13. This Doesn’t Occur/Contradiction,” and “7.14. This Quote is out of Context.”
In Chapter 8: Revising for Transition, Unity, and Organization (Body Paragraphs), students learn the importance of revising body paragraphs. The body paragraphs support the topic sentences, which support the thesis. Students learn the role of the body paragraph and how important it is to the logic and coherence of the essay. Margin comments include “8.2. Rough,” “8.3. Sense,” “8.5. Sentence Unfocused,” “8.6. Sequence,” “8.8. Syntax,” “8.11. Unclear What You Mean By,” and “8.13. Winnow, Winnow, Winnow.” This chapter is especially unique because it provides tools for students who struggle with revising sentence structure.
Part Four: The Post-Writing Evaluation Process comprises the two last chapters of the glossary. Although Part Four includes a chapter on the conclusion paragraph, it is the section of the book primarily dedicated to providing revision techniques for the analysis part of the paper.
While Chapter 2 represents the longest chapter, Chapter 9: Revising the Analysis is the longest comment of The FAVORS Glossary. Over 100 pages, Chapter 9 provides tools and solutions for identifying, repairing, and correcting the analysis sections of the paper. The chapter represents the fifth and last draft level and it introduces key terms used for developing an analysis.
For example, in order to develop an analysis, you basically have to know what you are doing. If your professor requires you to define and evaluate a certain topic using reference sources, you must understand what “define” and “evaluate” mean. Therefore, Chapter 9 introduces the importance of understanding those terms the professor uses in standard essay prompts. You have to know what “persuade” means in order to provide persuasive analysis content. In addition,
Chapter 9 introduces step-by-step FAVORS principles for revising analysis. For example, The FAVORS Body Paragraph Analysis Structure provides definitions for the different types of analyses your professor will require you to develop. Examples include the following: Comparison and Contrast Analysis, Description Analysis, Process Analysis, Cause-and-Effect Analysis, Evaluation Analysis, and Quote Analysis. This is a brief list, but the information is useful for helping students develop a structure for their papers.
Chapter 9 also introduces the acronym for ANALYSIS, which stands for Account, Number, Abbreviate, Level, Yank, Sample, Integrate, and Sand. Under each category, students learn useful tips for repairing content discrepancies, examining the chronology of character actions, correcting mismatched chronology, abbreviating plot summary and irrelevant quotes, balancing viewpoints by squaring the analysis, yanking sometimes relevant supporting evidence, and understanding the thesis as the vision of the paper.
Chapter 9 doesn’t use margin comments. Instead, “analysis” is the comment that professors may use to refer to a section that either needs analysis or is inundated with plot summary.
Chapter 9 is a teaching tool and it is the only comment converted into a full chapter.
Chapter 10: Revising the Conclusion is the last chapter of the glossary. It is the chapter that best represents a culmination of all of the ideas expressed within the glossary. For example, by the end of the writing and revision processes, your paper should represent a complete product. What this means is if you leave out any key ingredient required by the original instruction (essay prompt), then your paper doesn’t fully reflect the instruction.
That’s why we include a reference to a popular cornbread recipe from “Jiffy” Corn Muffin Mix. The chapter highlights the importance of reading and executing the instructions so that at the end you have a fully baked, well-researched product.
Chapter 10 only uses two margin comments to illustrate these points: “10.2. Well Done” and “10.3. Well Written and Researched.”
Copyright (c) 2011-2019 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.
The Favors Glossary is undergoing a major shift in its mission and purpose, which will require extensive development of an annotated bibliography on first-year composition feedback and assessment.
Gathering the instructional documents and lectures I have created during my teaching responsibilities from 2013 to the present is necessary to gain some insight into how to reframe the book.
In addition, it might be useful to create audio Power Point lectures to "teach the topic" before I fully commit to rewriting. Teaching usually affords me a better understanding of how the lecture is supposed to be framed. Then I can take that information and reframe the book.
Connecting and coordinating the rewriting of the book with the How Do You Learn? Research Project and the Favors Encyclopedia of Writing website might also be helpful.
The Favors Glossary is a glossary of margin comments I have received during the course of my time as a student majoring in English, but I do not think it is comprehensive enough. It does not have the necessary composition and assessment theories to frame the overall discussion and form and support a viable thesis. It does not have the requisite foundation to support the mission of writing tutorial faculty, writing faculty, English faculty, and related programs.
When I wrote the book initially, I only gathered my old papers, reviewed the comments professors wrote in the margins of my papers, and basically interpreted those comments in light of a tutoring framework. I have tutored in writing at multiple levels and as a brief entrepeneur, but I still do not even have the foundation of student tutoring theory. I need that!!!!! Before I republish the book, I need to do the following:
Research tutoring and writing tutorial center theories and practices.
This will require me to move my understanding from tutoring as a student tutor--undergraduate and graduate--and tutoring as a college instructor to scholar-in-training as well as a future practitioner.
Create an annotated bibliograhpy of feedback and assessment theories and practices.
Grading papers with an instructor's mindset and based on the objective of the assignment is a start because it provides insight into assessment and feedback practices. However, i am not grounded in a specific theory. In other words, I do not know which theory works for my research objective. The annotated bibliography would inform me of theories and practices in the field of first-year composition.
Research first-year composition theories and practices, especially in the vein of metacognition.
Understanding the theories and practicies would help me to coordinate these topics with the How Do You Learn? Research Project to gain insight into possibly how feedback and assessment contributes to sustained learning. That might be a thesis or research question. I do not know yet.
Work backward by creating Power Point audio lectures and uploading them to YouTube.
I could create the lessons and focus primarily on revision strategies and techniques and teaching those strategies through audio. This, too, could give me ideas while I continue to read and review the literature. We shall see.
This is merely an update to my offline research and progress. This project is in development and ongoing.
Last revision. 12/30/2020