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Grammar and Style » Error Analyzer » Instructions



by Gerry Dalgish

Background. Using Error Analyzer allows you to create a running tally of the number of different errors your students make when writing essays. You can construct a list of errors and the sentences in which they occurred; you can create individual tables listing the errors in descending order; you can create a graph (bar or pie) of the errors; you can show your students their errors-to-sentences ratio and errors-to-words ratio. You can search for all instances of a particular error and focus on them. From the errors you can create special "teacher-prepared files" that can be used in another program called Vocabulary and Idiom Editing. When a student runs that program, and if s/he loads one of your teacher prepared files, s/he will in effect be running a personalized program containing practice on his/her own errors.

This isn't a slick program with lots of bells and whistles, but it usually works. It does require the teacher to have "corrected" students' essays, but this correction or marking of errors is no more or less than one would normally do on paper. At the very least, it's useful as a diagnostic tool and as an indicator of student progress. And it's amazing how readily students will believe the so-called "computer analysis" of their essays; in many cases, more readily than they believe their own teachers! So as a wake-up call the program results can be very useful.

Preparing Your Students' Essays for Error Analyzer. You have to do some work on your students' essays before running an analysis. First, let us assume that they have written an essay on the computer. They should save their work and give you their disk, or e-mail the essay to you.

If they have used disks, it would be helpful for you if each student saved his/her file as "essay1" or some such easily recognizable name, but of course, any name the computer will accept is fine.

Choices. You now have a choice. If the student essay text can be read by your word processor, or if it is already a "text" type file, you can use EZ-Editor to do the editing, and then bring that text into Error Analyzer. Or, you can use your favorite word processor to do the editing of the student text, save it, then run Error Analyzer and analyze the student text. Similarly, you can use your word processor to do the editing, then copy and paste that edited text into Error Analyzer for analysis.

Because marking the student text can be tedious and lead to typos when correcting, I recommend using EZ-Editor and then Error Analyzer. EZ-Editor has a number of features designed especially for use with Error Analyzer's tabulation procedures.

If you wish to use EZ-Editor, continue reading below. If you want to use your word processor instead, skip below to Using your Word Processor.

Starting Screen. To run the program, you launch it from Windows by clicking on the icon of a wrench with the caption "Error Analyzer." You will see a screen captioned "Starter for Error Analysis."

It will ask you to click on either EZ-Editor or Error Analyzer. You then click on the bottom button to "Go Ahead."


Using EZ-Editor with Error Analyzer.
If you click "EZ Editor," the next screen you will see is the EZ-Editor screen. It has the usual menu choices on the top, directions in a yellow box, a white text area and sets of buttons to the right:


EZ Editor
You now need to bring in the student's text into EZ- Editor. How you do this is up to you. If you already have your unedited student text in your word processor, you can use the word processor's Edit...Copy function to highlight the text, copy it (to the Windows clipboard), and then re-enter EZ-Editor and paste the text right into this program. If, on the other hand, your student's work is a text file that has already been saved on disk (but not yet edited), you can load it directly into EZ-Editor.

In other words, you can choose 1 or 2 below:
  1. To copy the student text from your word processor, start from your word processor and highlight the text from the beginning to the end of the essay. Then, use the word processor's Edit..Copy function (hit CTRL-C) to copy the text. Switch back into EZ-Editor and select from the menu the Edit..Paste choice (press CTRL-V) to paste the text into EZ-Editor.
  2. To load the text file from disk, click on the menu item File..Open and select the student text file. click on OK.


At this point, the unedited text appears in the white text area for you to edit. Assume that the text is essentially similar to that below.

Parents should always tell the truth to their childrens, even about frightening things. When they are young, children are being taught and educated to tell the truth and the parents have the responsibility to give them a good example. Lies will make the childrens unable to deal with frightening events. Besides, Children might figure that not telling the truth is the best way to solve problems.

As they learn how to talk, childrens are being told by the parents, friends and teachers that it is wrong to lie. Perents should give their children a good example by telling them the truth even if it might hurt them.

Lies never last forever. When the children finds out the truth he might feel confused and betrailed and he wont know how to deal with the reality. Children who are being lied to, to many times, might figure out that not telling the truth is the easiest way to solve problems and they would start lying about everything.

Marking the Student Essay. It is now your job to "mark" the essay. You can use any symbols you like for a particular error type, but as a rule, the simpler the better. There are two prohibitions: you cannot use the forward slash mark ("/") or the backward slash mark ("\") in the name of any error, and you cannot use the open or close brackets "[" and "]" in the name of any error. Also, you should avoid any special characters that cannot be read into ASCII or Text files. The names for the errors can be as long or as short as you like, just so your students can "decipher" them easily. I use error names like ART for article usage errors; TENSE for verb tense errors, SENT for sentence boundary errors, NUM for number confusion errors, etc., but colleagues have used A, T, S and # respectively; the computer doesn't mind. Again, keep your system simple so your students, you, and the computer can deal with it.

The next thing you need to know is that when you encounter an error in a sentence, you need to delimit the "boundaries" of the error. Usually this means one boundary is the beginning of the sentence with the error, and the "ending" boundary is the end of the sentence. I like to give students enough context to help them work on the error, so sufficient beginning and ending boundaries are useful. Once you have figured out the beginning boundary, put an open bracket there: [ For the ending boundary, you'll use a close bracket, ] .

You next need to put in the particular error type. The only rule you need here is that you must put the error type somewhere after the opening boundary open bracket [ Immediately before the name of the error, you need to use a forward slash / as a separator. Immediately after the name of the error, you need the backward slash \ as the closing delimiter or separator. At the end of the sentence, you need to put a close bracket ] .

Let's take the first sentence of the first paragraph as an example:

Parents should always tell the truth to their childrens, even about frightening things.

The error in this sentence is the word "childrens." Let's assume you consider this an error in number confusion, and you call this error type NUM. You put an open bracket before Parents and you move to the end of the sentence and put a close bracket ] . You decide to put NUM, the error type, immediately before the word childrens. Type a forward slash / then the word NUM, and then the back slash \ Now, the sentence looks like this:

[Parents should always tell the truth to their /NUM\childrens, even about frightening things.]

If a sentence has more than one error, that is not a problem. Consider the second sentence from above, reproduced below:

When they are young, children are being taught and educated to tell the truth and the parents have the responsibility to give them a good example.

The errors here are in "being taught", a verb tense mistake, or TENSE, and "the" before "parents," where I think "their" is more appropriate; I call this a determiner mistake, or DET. As before, you use an open bracket [, at the beginning of the context. Then, move to the position before or after the first error, and type a forward slash / followed by the error name TENSE followed by a backward slash mark \. Continue along the sentence until you find the place for the next error type, DET. Type a forward slash / followed by the name of the error DET and then the backward slash \ . Be sure that at the end of the sentence, you put the close bracket ] . (Note: don't leave a space between the name of the error and the slash; the computer will think you mean TENSE_ (+ space) or DET_ (+ space) is the name of the error.) The two sentences now look like this:

[/NUM\Parents should always tell the truth to their childrens, even about frightening things.][When they are young, children /TENSE\ are being taught and educated to tell the truth and /DET\ the parents have the responsibility to give them a good example.] Lies will make the childrens unable to deal with frightening events...

You continue this way through the essay. Be sure that for every error you have an open bracket, a slash mark after it, and a close bracket for the end of the context.

EZ-Editor's Shortcut Features. You could manually type in pairs of brackets for each boundary/context of the essay, and manually type in each error category, preceded by forward and backward slashes, or you could use EZ-Editor's shortcut buttons. These are the set of buttons to the right of the white typing area:



There are two types of buttons: one for the context/boundary (with the blue caption "[ (selected text) ]") and several for grammar category errors (with red captions like SENT, MUS, PUNC, ORTHO, etc.) You can change the error category for any button, so you do not have to be stuck using the categories the program starts with. Using the buttons is described below.

Using the "[ (selected text) ]" button. This button allows you to automatically bracket the text that is the context of the error. As mentioned above, you would probably want to give enough context, usually a sentence, for the student to see the necessary surroundings of the error. Let's use the first sentence again as our example:

Parents should always tell the truth to their childrens, even about frightening things.

Simply move the cursor to the "P" on "Parents.." and start to highlight (press and hold the left button of the mouse), and drag it forward in the text. Bring the selection to the period after "things." Release the mouse button and click on the "[ (selected text) ]" button. The sentence now has an opening bracket at the beginning and a close bracket at the end:

[Parents should always tell the truth to their childrens, even about frightening things.]

Using the Error Category Buttons. You can next use the red buttons to the right of the text to simplify/reduce your typing of error names or categories. You simply move the cursor to the point where the error occurs, then click the button for that category. The error category appears at that point preceded by a forward slash ("/") and followed by the backward slash: ("\"). In this case, we move to the point before "childrens" and then click on the error category button "NUM." The resulting text is as below:

[Parents should always tell the truth to their /NUM\ childrens, even about frightening things.]

You can more quickly move through the document, highlight the sentence, click on the "[ (selected text) ]" button, move the mouse to where an error is, click on its button, and go on. With this method you will be consistent in the names of the errors and reduce typos as well as your typing time.

Changing the Error category for a button. What if you do not wish to use the pre- defined error types or categories on each button? You can change any button's category name very simply. Just move the mouse to the button you wish to change, hold down the Shift key, and click on the button. You will be prompted for another category name; simply type it in. From then on, that error category name will appear when you click on that button.

You can change the button captions and save them for your next use. After you have used the Shift and click method to change the buttons, click on the menu item Buttons, then on Save. Use the name mine.sym for the filename. Whenever EZ-Editor begins, those buttons should be the default. If you want to use my ESL categories, select Buttons.., then ESL. To use the buttons specific to the CUNY OWL project, select that menu choice.

Comments button. If you like, you can add comments to the student text, beyond the simple error categories. Move the cursor to the position in the text where you wish to make a comment. click on the green font button {Comments} and you will be prompted for a comment. Type in your remarks, and click on ?OK.' Your comments will appear in the text, in green color and in italics, surrounded by braces.

Changing the fonts and colors. You can change the color and fonts of the Error Category buttons and the Comments. From the menu in EZ-Editor, select Buttons..then Font/Color Choice for Error Categories or Font/Color Choice for Comments. You will be prompted to change the font size and colors, depending on what your computer screen and printer are set for. (Note: you may have to re-set these when you re-start EZ-Editor).

Finished Editing. When you have finished editing the text, either by hand or by shortcut keys, you can either:

Save the edited text to a disk.

To save, click on File, then Save and type a name for the file.

or:



Copy the text in order to bring it directly into Error Analyzer for tabulation and analysis.

To copy, click on the menu items File... then Return (please follow TWO steps below). First, choose the first menu item, which says: Return to Starter/Error Analyzer (keeps edited text for Error Analyzer, Step 1).

When you make this selection, a message box appears telling you that because of a glitch in the programming language, you must manually copy the text by highlighting and then pressing CTRL-C --Windows' standard way of copying text. (This message also warns you to perform the next step, to be described below). After you read the message box, you click on the OK button and you will see that the entire edited text has been highlighted. At this point you should manually press CTRL-C. This will allow you to copy the colors and fonts into Error Analyzer.



You must then click on the menu item File..then Return (please follow two steps below) and then Finish Return (Step 2). As a safeguard, the computer will ask you if you want to save the file; you do not need to do so, but you can.

clicking on ?No' then takes you into the Starting screen described earlier. From here you select the Error Analyzer choice, and then Go Ahead. After returning to Error Analyzer, you will be able to paste the text directly there so that it becomes the text to be analyzed by Error Analyzer.

Moving From EZ-Editor to Error Analyzer. Assuming that you have successfully done the copying function described above, you can move into Error Analyzer. You have just clicked on Finish Return (Step 2) described above, clicked on No in the message box, and you now see the Starter box, with the radio button choices. Choose Error Analyzer and then Go Ahead. You should now see the Error Analyzer screen.

To paste the text from EZ-Editor, follow these steps to maintain the colors and fonts:

(1) click on File..then on Paste edited text from EZ-Editor (please follow two steps). click on Paste Edited Text from EZ-Editor, Step 1.

You will see a message box that instructs you to "place your cursor into the grey text box and then manually type CTRL-V" -- Windows' default procedure for pasting text. The box also reminds you that there will be a step 2 to perform, which I describe next. click on ?OK' to continue.

(2) Now, move the cursor into the grey typing box, and manually press CTRL-V. This should paste your text from EZ-Editor into the grey box, complete with colors and fonts.

(3) You must now click on File..then on Paste edited text from EZ-Editor (please follow two steps) and then on Paste Edited Text from EZ-Editor, Step 2 (the menu choice below Paste Edited text..Step 1.) Please do not omit this step; it starts the tabulation process.

At this point you have successfully pasted your text into Error Analyzer, just as if it had come from a student disk file. Follow the steps below to analyze the text.

You should now skip down to The Analysis below to continue with instructions for analyzing the text.

Using your Word Processor. You can use a word processor that can read your students' essays, so that you can open and read each one, and prepare it for Error Analyzer. Let us assume that you have opened one student's file and you have it before you on the screen. Parts of it look like what is below:

Parents should always tell the truth to their childrens, even about frightening things. When they are young, children are being taught and educated to tell the truth and the parents have the responsibility to give them a good example. Lies will make the childrens unable to deal with frightening events. Besides, Children might figure that not telling the truth is the best way to solve problems.

As they learn how to talk, childrens are being told by the parents, friends and teachers that it is wrong to lie. Perents should give their children a good example by telling them the truth even if it might hurt them.

Lies never last forever. When the children finds out the truth he might feel confused and betrailed and he wont know how to deal with the reality. Children who are being lied to, to many times, might figure out that not telling the truth is the easiest way to solve problems and they would start lying about everything.

Marking the Student Essay. It is now the teacher's job to "mark" the essay. You can use any symbols you like for a particular error type, but as a rule, the simpler the better. There are two prohibitions: you cannot use the forward slash mark ("/") or the backward slash mark ("\") in the name of any error, and you cannot use the open or close brackets "[" and "]" in the name of any error. Also, you should avoid any special characters that cannot be read into ASCII or Text files. The names for the errors can be as long or as short as you like, just so your students can "decipher" them easily. I use error names like ART for article usage errors; TENSE for verb tense errors, SENT for sentence boundary errors, NUM for number confusion errors, etc., but colleagues have used A, T, S and # respectively; the computer doesn't mind. Again, keep your system simple so your students, you, and the computer can deal with it.

The next thing you need to know is that when you encounter an error in a sentence, you need to delimit the "boundaries" of the error. Usually this means one boundary is the beginning of the sentence with the error, and the "ending" boundary is the end of the sentence. I like to give students enough context to help them work on the error, so sufficient beginning and ending boundaries are useful. Once you have figured out the beginning boundary, put an open bracket there: [ For the ending boundary, you'll use a close bracket, ] .

You next need to put in the particular error type. The only rule you need here is that you must put the error type somewhere after the opening boundary open bracket [ Immediately before the name of the error, you need to use a forward slash / as a separator. Immediately after the name of the error, you need the backward slash \ as the closing delimiter or separator. At the end of the sentence, you need to put a close bracket ] .

Let's take the first sentence of the first paragraph as an example:

Parents should always tell the truth to their childrens, even about frightening things.

The error in this sentence is the word "childrens." Let's assume you consider this an error in number confusion, and you call this error type NUM. You put an open bracket before Parents and you move to the end of the sentence and put a close bracket ] . You decide to put NUM, the error type, immediately before the word childrens. Type a forward slash / then the word NUM, and then the back slash \ Now, the sentence looks like this:

[Parents should always tell the truth to their /NUM\childrens, even about frightening things.]

If a sentence has more than one error, that is not a problem. Consider the second sentence from above, reproduced below:

When they are young, children are being taught and educated to tell the truth and the parents have the responsibility to give them a good example.

The errors here are in "being taught", a verb tense mistake, or TENSE, and "the" before "parents," where I think "their" is more appropriate; I call this a determiner mistake, or DET. As before, you use an open bracket [, at the beginning of the context. Then, move to the position before or after the first error, and type a forward slash / followed by the error name TENSE followed by a backward slash mark \. Continue along the sentence until you find the place for the next error type, DET. Type a forward slash / followed by the name of the error DET and then the backward slash \ . Be sure that at the end of the sentence, you put the close bracket ] . (Note: don't leave a space between the name of the error and the slash; the computer will think you mean TENSE_ (+ space) or DET_ (+ space) is the name of the error.) The two sentences now look like this:

[/NUM\Parents should always tell the truth to their childrens, even about frightening things.][When they are young, children /TENSE\ are being taught and educated to tell the truth and /DET\ the parents have the responsibility to give them a good example.] Lies will make the childrens unable to deal with frightening events...

You continue this way through the essay. Be sure that for every error you have an open bracket, a slash mark after it, and a close bracket for the end of the context.

Saving the Student's Essay. When you have finished marking the student's essay, you need to save it so Error Analyzer can work on it. At the time of this writing, Error Analyzer can "digest" files that have been saved as Word Perfect 5.1 files. Even if you use Word Perfect 5.1, but especially if you use some other word processor (even Word Perfect 6 or later), you must now save your student's file as something variously called a "Text File," or an "ASCII file," or an "ASCII Delimited Text File," or a "DOS Text" file. From most processors, you select the "File" option, then the "Save As" option. I suggest you call the file essay1.txt or something simple like that, to distinguish it from your student's original file name. The important things are to save it as a text-type file (whatever your word processor calls this), and to give the file a name different from the original.

The next step will seem counter-intuitive, but the reason for it will be clear later on. You should now save the file again, with yet another name, and in the format your word processor normally "understands." So, assuming you use Word Perfect for the moment, you select File, then Save As" again, and this time change the name to essay1.cor (for "essay1 corrected"), and then under the choice for file types, you select "Word Perfect 6.0/6.1 *.wpd...", or whatever. Since you are in the Windows environment, you will be able to safely leave this file "floating" while you go off and use Error Analyzer to analyze the "text-type" file, essay1.txt, and, you will see, you will be able to paste information from Error Analyzer into this one (essay1.cor) for the student to read.

Running Error Analyzer.You are now ready to run Error Analyzer. If you have not already launced it, click on the icon of a wrench with the caption "Error Analyzer." You will see a screen similar to the one here, asking you if you want to use EZ-Editor or Error Analyzer. Choose Error Analyzer and click on Go Ahead.



The opening screen of Error Analyzer allows you to click on the menu item File and If you used a word processor to edit your student text.. You then click on either Open Student Text File previously Edited and Saved or Paste edited text Copied from Student file (with word processor).

If you choose Open Student Text File...you then will see a screen similar to that in the nearby figure. Here you will have to select the file that Error Analyzer will work on for you. To do this in our example, you need to make sure the correct disk drive is selected (usually this drive a:, where your student's floppy disk should be); so click on the appropriate drive under the label "Drive:" Next, select the name of the file, which in this case is essay1.txt. You then tell Error Analyzer that the file is "Text Type," which is how it was saved. You then click on "OK to Choose this File", wait a moment, then click on the button "Continue with Program." Error Analyzer then returns you to the opening screen, but now you have the file contents in the yellow box. You are also prompted at this point for the student's name: type it in the box and click on "OK".



The Analysis. The next step is to begin the analysis, now that Error Analyzer has "digested" your file. From the main Error Analyzer screen, you select the menu choice Error Analysis and then List the Errors and Sentences (the other choices under Error Analysis are temporarily "greyed out" and unavailable for now). The figure nearby shows you what the screen should look like: a smaller screen with the caption "List of Sentences and Errors" appears, with a box of the error-filled sentences that have been extracted from the essay. The menu choices in this form include the choice Copy.. you can select Copy, then Copy All to copy the results into the Windows clipboard (a temporary storage place). This is a good idea if you still have the file we called essay1.cor in your word processor "floating" in the Windows background. What you can do is copy these sentences (as we just described), then temporarily visit your word processor (press the Alt-Tab key combination, then Tab until it is on the screen), move the cursor to the end of the document, then select Edit and Paste (or whatever your word processor uses) to paste these sentences into the essay1.cor file. You can then use the Alt-Tab key combination to get back to Error Analyzer. From there, select the menu item Return to go back to the main Error Analyzer screen.

Tabulation of Errors. Now that you are back in the main Error Analyzer screen, you can select the menu item Error Analysis.. and then Tabulate Errors, a choice that was not previously available but that now is. You will now see a screen similar to that in the nearby figure: it is a tabulation or table of the errors, with a list in descending order, and summaries at the top and the bottom. The table also tells you how many error types there were, how many total errors, how many errors per word, how many errors per sentence, when the file was examined, etc. As before, you can use Copy from the menu of this screen, then Copy All to copy this information to the Windows clipboard; use the steps described above to paste this information into essay1.cor for the student's information (i.e., temporarily visit your word processor by pressing the Alt-Tab key combination and then Tab until it is on the screen, move the cursor to the end of the document, then select Edit and Paste or whatever your word processor uses to paste these sentences into the essay1.cor file. You can then use the Alt-Tab key combination to get back to Error Analyzer.)

Graphing the Errors. The screen displayed in the nearby figure has another choice available to you: the menu choice Graph. clicking this choice produces the screen depicted in the nearby figure: a large graph of the errors and the error types, with three smaller graphs on the side. Usually you only need the large graph on the right; it's a bar graph by default but you can change it to a pie graph if you like. The graph displays the error types on the X-axis and the number of errors on the Y-axis; there is a title with the student's name. From this screen, you can change the type of graph, copy it, or print it. If you select Copy the graph will be copied to the Windows clipboard; re-enter your word processor and select Edit and Paste to put it into the file essay1.cor, as we did for the other text. (Note: if you use Word Perfect 6.1 as your word processor, I suggest you use the menu choice Edit then Paste Special instead of Paste. You then click on OK when prompted. For some reason, a straight "Paste" choice sometimes cannot be handled by this poorly designed word processor and WP bombs. Or maybe it's just my tired computer, but it's happened so often..) If you want, you can print the graph directly by selecting the Print Image directly choice from the menu, but I like to insert it into essay1.cor and then print the whole file, data and graph, at once. When you are finished, you should click on the menu choice Return and then Return again to go back to the main Error Analyzer screen.

Particular Error Types. From the main Error Analyzer screen you can now select the Error Analysis.. menu choice, then Select Error Type, which means you will be able to choose a particular error type to focus in on. After you click on that choice, you will see a screen similar to that in the nearby figure. The error types from that file are listed in a red box; you select a particular error by clicking on that type in the list. When you do so, the sentences with that error appear in the larger red box to the bottom.

This procedure is useful if you have noticed that a student has a large number of one certain error. You can select that error type, have Error Analyzer pull out only those sentences, and display them in that box. Then, you can choose the menu item Copy.. and Copy All Text and copy those sentences to the Windows clipboard. Once again, you can re-enter your word processor and paste these sentences into essay1.cor so that the student can work particularly hard on those errors.

To go back to the main Error Analyzer screen, you would select the menu item Return.

Finished. You might now want to save the file essay1.cor to your student's disk. It now has your marking of the errors (the brackets and slashes), a list of the sentences with errors, a table of the errors, and a graph. Use Alt-Tab until you are back to your word processor, and save that file. You can go on to the next student's essay, and repeat the procedure of marking his/her essay, saving it as a text file, then saving it as your word processor's "regular" file, then using Error Analyzer on it. You don't have to exit Error Analyzer and then restart it; just select the menu choice File from the main Error Analyzer screen and continue as above.

Other Features.At this point you have certainly done a great deal of work and have accumulated a lot of information for the student. Error Analyzer allows you to do a little more, if you are so inclined. This involves creating a file that can be used by another program called Vocabulary and Idiom Editing; the file can be unique to the student's own errors.

The Vocabulary and Idiom Editing Program: This program tests the student on his/her ability to edit sentences containing Vocabulary and Idiom errors. Based on errors collected from students in previous courses, the program presents the student with a sentence in which an incorrect word or phrase is highlighted, and asks him/her to type in the correction. The computer informs the student if his/her revision is correct, and lets him/her discover possible alternative corrections, and gives him/her an explanation. S/he can copy the sentence (and the explanation) to a word processor when each sentence is finished.

The "raw data" for this program comes from two sources: one is file created by me with numerous past errors. The second source is from so-called "teacher-prepared files," files that can be prepared by you from Error Analyzer. The advantage here is that the student works with errors from a narrower range, either his own or his classmates', but not from the large pool of errors of all students.

Creating "teacher-prepared files." Let us assume you are still working with Error Analyzer and have finished your analysis from the student file essay1.txt If you wish to create a "teacher- prepared file" (henceforth, a "*.tpf" file), you would first return to the main Error Analyzer screen. From the menu, select File.. then "Create Teacher-Prepared File.

The first thing you do is select a particular sentence with an error in it that you wish to prepare for your student's use. The topmost, lefthand box contains a list of the sentences extracted from essay1.txt that have an error or errors in them. You have to tell Error Analyzer where the error is, what the correction should be, and what the explanation is.

After you have selected one sentence by clicking on the first box at the down arrow and clicking on a sentence, that sentence is reproduced in the next box "down" the page. You are instructed to get rid of anything you don't want in that sentence. In other words, you may have more than one error in this sentence, but you need to test the student on only one of these errors at a time, so you need to clean up any other errors that are not the focus of the one you want to do. Imagine for a moment that you have chosen the following sentence, which had two errors, Verb Tense (TENSE) and Determiner (DET). It would appear in the box as below:

When they are young, children are being taught and educated to tell the truth and the parents have the responsibility to give them a good example.

If you only want to focus on DET as the error here, you have to fix the Verb Tense mistake since it is extraneous to the lesson. Thus, in that box you would probably delete the incorrect being, so that the box would look like this:

When they are young, children are taught and educated to tell the truth and the parents have the responsibility to give them a good example.

You then click on the OK button to the right to continue. When you do, the larger box to the right shows the "status" of your work so far. It repeats what has happened, which is that the word being has been deleted from the sentence (the DET error is still there).

Next, you move down to the next lower box on the left which prompts you for a "key word." This is anything you like; you can use "possessor before parents" or anything that lets you identify this error. After you type something suitable, you click on the OK button to the right of this box, and again the larger box on the right is updated to show what's happening so far.

The next box asks you to "Add `/' and `\' to surround error; then click on OK." What this means is that you move the cursor to the beginning of the error (the word the before the word parents) and type a forward slash / there. Then, move to the end of the word the and type a backslash \ there. Now the box looks like the one below:

possessor before parents&When they are young, children are taught and educated to tell the truth and /the\ parents have the responsibility to give them a good example.

You have "surrounded" the error so that Error Analyzer can recognize what's wrong in the sentence. You then click on OK.

The next box asks you to type in the correct word or phrase. The word their seems to be correct, so that is what you type. You then click on OK again. If you have an alternate answer, you would type it in the box to the right, then click on OK.

Finally, you are asked for an explanation. You type in what the student needs to know, perhaps something like the following:

With the word "parents," a possessive pronoun like "their" is usually expected.

Again, you click on OK to continue.

When you are finished, you click on the button Finished with this Sentence. Error Analyzer temporarily stores that sentence with all the information you gave it, and lets you select another from the list at the top. You repeat this process for as many sentences as you like.

When you have enough sentences, you need to save your work in a file. To do this, select the menu item File, then Save the sentences in a file.

You then type in a name for this file, perhaps essay1.tpf The computer will expect you to be saving this file on the floppy disk of the student, so be prepared and have his/her disk in drive A:. The computer will whir for a moment, and then save your file for the student.

click on the menu item "Return" to get back to the Error Analyzer main screen.

« Back to Error Analyzer Introduction


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