As the label implies, marginal comments are those that are written in the margins and between the lines throughout the paper. Their primary purpose is to point out specific examples of effective and ineffective writing decisions emphasized in general by our overall evaluation. For this reason, itâ€™s a good idea to insert marginal comments after weâ€™ve composed the end comments described in the following sections. Rather than marking up a paper on the first read, we can better formulate focused comments by reading it at least once with our pens laid aside.
Marginal comments might also mark errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. When this becomes their primary use, however, students will be confused about where to direct their energy toward growth as writers. For further discussion of addressing mechanical issues, see the section on avoiding the editor role.