Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

Annotating a text

Important note: Only annotate your own copy of a text. You must not mark library texts in any way.

If you do not have your own personal system of annotation, you can use the general system which is given below. The main thing to remember is to be selective; do not highlight/annotate too much.

  • Highlight or mark with a line in the margin the author’s explanation of the main point(s).
  • Underline each major new claim that the author makes in developing the text and write ‘claim 1’, ‘claim 2’, and so on in the margin.
  • Put an asterisk against important data/statistics.
  • Write ‘concl.’ in the margin at points where the writer draws major conclusions.
  • Put a question mark in the margin next to points that are unclear, and note whether you need more information or the author has been unclear, or whether the passage just sounds unreasonable or out-of-place.
  • Put an exclamation mark next to passages that you agree or disagree with, or that you find interesting and write agree/disagree/interesting in the margin.
  • Write in the margin any comments or questions you have.