Let's decide on error categories for writing, in all of our languages

We are now able to change the error categories for writing correction. Many of the present categories are not suitable for our different languages.

It does not matter whether you are a learner or a student, please let us know what error categories would most meaningful for you for the languages you are learning or tutoring.

Once we have a complete list of suggestions we can discuss together which ones we want to keep. Remember that we do not need too many categories, since the note description can refine the problem. So “verb” can be a category, and the note can focus on which tense is involved.

Since most of our learners are either learning English, or speak English, we will use English only to describe these categories for now.

I miss most the following error types for German:

  • Misspelling / Rechtschreibfehler
  • Case / Fall
  • Tense / Zeit

also for German: Satzstellung

Thanks Vera.

We will certainly add Case for languages where Cases exist like German and Russian.

Do we want to have one category for Verbs and let the tutor explain or should we have

Verb tense
Verb agreement (for number, person, gender)
Verb aspect (Russian)

or should Agreement be a category in languages where that applies.

Anyway, let’s keep the discussion going.

With regard to spelling, we have had a policy of not correcting spelling since there is a spell checker and the tutor should not have to correct spelling. However, if a majority of people would like to see spelling in as a category we can also do so.

Note that we can have different categories for each language, so that nothing prevents us from having the definition of the error in both English and the target language, as Vera has done here, if that is what a majority of people would like to see.

In case some of you may not have noticed, we would like all the categories to be in English for now.

We can also consider adding the translation into the target language, in other words a double barreled category, if we think it is a good idea.

Satzstellung = Word Order. Das gibt es schon, Jolanda. Es geht um Kategorie, die fehlen.
Satzstellung = Word Order still exists. Steve is looking for categories that are missing.

Steve, In the writings that I’ve corrected were a lot of misspellings. Sometimes there is another word with a slightly different spelling, but often the spell checker doesn’t work or people don’t use it. I had used the spell checker for some of my writings but there were still some misspellings that the spell checker didn’t announced.

I know that there are learners of German who speak no English. Therefore I think it would be fine to have the error in English and the target language.

Vera:Danke!Das wusste ich nicht.
Steve: sorry

Misspelling (I see a few of these, so the spell checker may not work as it should or they don’t use it, like Vera says)
feminine/masculine (I think this is a must in spanish and french)

It’s probably like the Word spell checker, if the word form exists the spell checker won’t notify it. Especially with verb forms in some languages.

In the rare occasions when I correct misspellings, I point out that I don’t want to, but that I’m doing it for the sake of providing a “correct” text (which the student may want to import).

My list for Russian is:

  • Case
  • Gender
  • Preposition
  • Word order
  • Verb aspect
  • Verb agreement
  • Tense
  • Choice of words
  • Punctuation
  • Misspelling
  • Unnatural usage
  • Singular/Plural

I suppose the more error categories the better, especially for languages where endings of nouns depend on case&number, endings of adjectives depend on case&gender&number, and endings of verbs depend on tense&number&person&gender. Learners of such languages do a lot of grammar mistakes, and explaining every mistake takes time. But if there is error category for every possible grammar error, a tutor can just select error type and leave the comment field empty. It will save tutor’s time.

12 looks OK. It is also true that the fewer categories, the easier it is to quickly find the one you want. Thanks for the list. Await more.

Choice of words and unnatural usage could probably fall under the same category right?

Not necessarily, it may to do with word order or something else. I prefer to have both.

Or it may be a calque from learner’s mother tongue.


I can assure that not one English person in ten thousand knows what a calque is. I prefer not to use specialized terminology that nobody has heard of.

If a person uses a direct word for word translation from their own language that could be unnatural usage,but might also be choice of words, since apparently similar words of the same origin, can have different meanings in different languages.

it seems my usage of “calque” was a calque itself, as in Russian we use “калька” (as “word by word translation”) quite often. :)))


Natural Usage (undefinable, should include a note)
Word Form (covers capitalisation, wrong part of speech, singular-plural , verb forms etc)
Word Order
Word Choice
Articles (This category, in particular the use of {no article} + {plural noun } for general statements eg. “I like dogs.” is one of the most pervasive errors I see.)


"Articles (This category, in particular the use of {no article} + {plural noun } for general statements eg. “I like dogs.” is one of the most pervasive error TYPES I see.) "

Ed, these are essentially the categories we have now. Do you see the need for changes, additions, deletions?