The Number One Tip to Fix your Writing Mistakes


Today I’ve decided to focus on* one thing that could be messing up* your English writing, again and again without you even noticing it!


  • The system to start correcting your own writing mistakes.
  • The Answer to the Batman story prepositions from the last blog article.
  • A quick English quiz.
  • Vocabulary reference notes in purple throughout.

Stop making the same mistakes every time you write!


Speaking as a teacher, I hate seeing the same mistakes in every piece of writing from each student every week. Having to write the correction which I already corrected and gave back to them week after week is useless if they never look at the paper again.  Because of this, a few years ago I started a system and it has worked well for my students. Even they say it has really helped.

This system tries to make the student more aware* of their habitual*mistakes, make them notice their mistakes, make them autocorrect themselves and hopefully not even write down that mistake because they are autocorrecting themselves as they are thinking about what to write.


How I correct your homework

When your teacher reads through your essays and writing pieces, whatever your level, they look for various different things.

  • Is it is understandable with a clear message?
  • Is it legible*?
  • Is it well structured*?
  • Is it answering the purpose requested*? By your boss, or the exam question…
  • Are there repetitions of the same word many times?
  • Is it written in the correct degree of formality? Or informality?
  • Are there mistakes in the English. E.g. grammar, spelling, conjunctions*,  punctuation, correct tenses, correct use of vocabulary, and more.

The mistakes we are working on with this system are usually in the final point of this list, but it could work with all types.

Let’s look at the correcting process and then how it can be used with this system.


A student’s writing (this is an example written by me).

Check you can understand the basic ideas they want to express.

Student story example, kimgriffithsenglish


Underline the mistakes and note where the missing words are.

Correcting writing, underlining, kimgriffithsenglish


Try to categorize the errors using initials or symbols.

Correction symbols kimgriffithsenglish

Correction symbols

Here are some of the symbols and initials I use:

Basi Writing Correction symbols, kimgriffithsenglish

There are official proof-reading* symbols that book editors and proof-readers use.

Click here if you would like to read more about book/newspaper proofreading.

If your teacher just writes the correct word or tense on your writing you can write the type of error on your paper yourself after.

The Corrections

Corrected writing exercise, kimgriffithsenglish

Now it is your turn.

The system

My Writing Mistakes Sheet or Sheets

First you need to set up a few of these papers and keep them together.

My writing mistakes sheet, kimgriffithsenglish


1) Transfer your error, types and correction to your Writing Mistakes Sheet, with the date and name of the piece of writing.

My writing mistake sheet filled in, kimgriffithsenglish

2) Paper clip all your writing papers together and attach the Writing Mistake sheets to them. I know it is tempting to just throw those corrected papers away but don’t!  Always keep them together. They are great for reference. You will also be able to see how much your writing has improved.

3)   Identify your types of error and whether you are making the same type of mistake again and again.

4)  Next time you are going to start writing in English, take out your Writing mistake sheets and read through your errors before you start writing. Now do your writing. After writing look back at your Writing Mistake sheet and check you haven’t make any of those mistakes again. If you have then correct yourself.

5) Repeat the whole process with your next piece of corrected writing. Add the mistakes onto the same Writing mistakes sheet or on the back or onto the next one attached with a staple. Review your new mistakes and see if you have repeated any of the same ones as before. If you have then circle those repeated mistakes in red or highlight them.

This process of up-dating your Writing mistakes sheets, reading though it before you start reading and then using it to correct your future piece of writing can sound time consuming* but you will find it becomes a habit and you will start to autocorrect yourself on your usual mistake quite quickly. I mean within 6 months – it isn’t a miracle tip! But it definitely does work!


Vocabulary notes:

  • focus on = pay more attention to.
  • mess up = to spoil, make it bad.
  • to be aware of something = to know it exists.
  • habitual = usual, by habit.
  • legible =readable.
  • well structures = in sentences, paragraphs, in a logical order.
  • the purpose requested = the reason you were asked to write it.
  • conjunctions = joining words.
  • proof-reading = checking for errors in written material before it is published.
  • Time-consuming = it takes a lot of time to do.
  • Caption = add a relevant comment or a subheading to



The answers to last weeks Batman and Catwoman prepositions story.

Click here to go to the original article and quiz.

Preposition Batman Quiz answers


Have a great week and if you feel like looking at more English go see my:

Twitter  KimGriffths English,

Facebook kimgriffithenglish

Instagram   kimgriffithsenglish

YouTube kimgriffithsmontero.

Pinterest Kim Griffiths English

And of course if you like them you could follow or subscribe to  me!


❓This week’s Quiz❓

1. Prepositions.
Congratulations ___your wedding!

2. Punctuation.
What is the name of this symbol :

3. Opposites.
What is the opposite of messy?

4. General knowledge.
Did England’s King Henry VIII have all his wives killed?

5. Correct the mistake.
Yes, I’m agree.

6. Phrasal verb.
What phrasal verb means to change into clothes in a clothes shop changing room to find out if they fit you?

7. Caption* this gif. in English! The funnier the better! Put your captions for the gif in the comments below!


Are you going to set up your Writing mistakes pages? It takes a little time to keep up-to-date but the results I’ve seen are very very good!

Remember to subscribe here to get regular English tips and lessons for free.

Have fun this week and try to practice your English!










About Kim Griffiths

Hello, I'm Kim. I'm a qualified English ESL teacher with a CELTA A qualification and I have over 25 years of experience teaching English to non-native speakers. I love teaching! I also write about English, sing jazz, paint and make things.

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