Sample Comment Bank

Comment Bank: Samples of Direct Feedback for Students

Typically, international students need direct, simple feedback at the point of correction. Here are some example statements of direct feedback demonstrating the content and language that is most helpful to students.

Main Point
*What’s the most important thing you want to say here?  
*I’m having problems finding your main point.
*You need a thesis statement in the introduction.
*Put your key point(s) first in the paragraph or section and then give your evidence.

Clarity and Development
*Why do you think XX is true?  Give us more information (support, evidence, proof).
*Why do you say X does Y?  It may make more sense/be better to say…
*I think you need to say more about… or Can you give us an example here?
*This is a key idea but you only wrote one sentence. You need to say more.
*What were you thinking when you decided to mention this point? Why do you think it is important?
*Please explain this more.
*What do you mean by… I had trouble understanding this part.
*This is not clear for me.  Can you give me some other words?
*This seems like a very important idea but it isn’t very clear.  
* I think you mean XX, but I am not sure. Can you clarify this?
*US readers usually need key ideas stated more directly than this.
*Put the key point first and then give the evidence.
*This idea needs an example.

*Why did you want this sentence here? It may/will work better (here).
*Why did you want say X (background) before Y (key point or topic sentence)?  US readers expect…
*Did you have a reason for following this order? or Why did you choose this order to present your ideas?
*Look at how many different ideas you have in this paragraph.  You can separate them and give more explanation for each of these points. Which one do you think is most important?
*I cannot find the topic sentence of this paragraph. or What is the topic/focus of this paragraph?
*How does this sentence/idea relate to the rest of your paragraph?

(Comment bank provided by Sheryl Holt, University of Minnesota)