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Meaning of annotation in English

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  • The new translation of the Latin work includes extensive annotation by scholars .
  • It's a book that cries out for annotation.
  • The program is designed for annotation of images .
  • There is an easy-to-use facility in the program for adding annotations to your document .
  • creative writing
  • intertextual
  • intertextuality
  • intertextually
  • self-portrait
  • uncaptioned
  • versification

You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics:

Translations of annotation

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on the horizon

likely to happen or exist soon

Tucking in and pigging out (Eating phrasal verbs)

Tucking in and pigging out (Eating phrasal verbs)

annotation english grammar definition

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Definition of 'annotation'

IPA Pronunciation Guide

annotation in British English

Annotation in american english, examples of 'annotation' in a sentence annotation, trends of annotation.

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Browse alphabetically annotation

  • annotate text
  • All ENGLISH words that begin with 'A'

Related terms of annotation

  • gene annotation
  • genome annotation
  • functional annotation

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  • How to Annotate

Looking over the shoulder of someone writing on a notepad

Where to Make Notes

First, determine how you will annotate the text you are about to read. 

If it is a printed article, you may be able to just write in the margins. A colored pen might make it easier to see than black or even blue. 

If it is an article posted on the web, you could also you Diigo , which is a highlighting and annotating tool that you can use on the website and even share your notes with your instructor. Other note-taking plug-ins for web browsers might serve a similar function. 

If it is a textbook that you do not own (or wish to sell back), use post it notes to annotate in the margins.

You can also use a notebook to keep written commentary as you read in any platform, digital or print. If you do this, be sure to leave enough information about the specific text you’re responding to that you can find it later if you need to. (Make notes about page number, which paragraph it is, or even short quotes to help you locate the passage again.)

What Notes to Make

Now you will annotate the document by adding your own words, phrases, and summaries to the written text. For the following examples, the article “ Guinea Worm Facts ” was used.

  • Scan the document you are annotating. Some obvious clues will be apparent before you read it, such as titles or headers for sections. Read the first paragraph. Somewhere in the first (or possibly the second) paragraph should be a BIG IDEA about what the article is going to be about. In the margins, near the top, write down the big idea of the article in your own words. This shouldn’t be more than a phrase or a sentence. This big idea is likely the article’s thesis.
  • Underline topic sentences or phrases that express the main idea for that paragraph or section. You should never underline more than 5 words, though for large paragraphs or blocks of text, you can use brackets. (Underlining long stretches gets messy, and makes it hard to review the text later.) Write in the margin next to what you’ve underlined a summary of the paragraph or the idea being expressed.

Two circled textboxes. Left reads "Traditional removal of a Guinea worm consists of winding the worm -- up to 3 feet (1 meter) long -- around a small stick and manually extracting it..." Right reads "The best way to stop Guinea worm disease is to prevent people from entering sources of drinking water with an active infection..." A blue arrow moves from left to right, with blue text reading "Better to prevent than treat later!"

  • “Depending on the outcome of the assessment, the commission recommends to WHO which formerly endemic countries should be declared free of transmission, i.e., certified as free of the disease.” –> ?? What does this mean? Who is WHO?
  • “Guinea worm disease incapacitates victims for extended periods of time making them unable to work or grow enough food to feed their families or attend school.” –> My dad was sick for a while and couldn’t work. This was hard on our family.
  • “Guinea worm disease is set to become the second human disease in history, after smallpox, to be eradicated.” –> Eradicated = to put an end to, destroy

To summarize how you will annotate text:

1. Identify the BIG IDEA 2. Underline topic sentences or main ideas 3. Connect ideas with arrows 4. Ask questions 5. Add personal notes 6. Define technical words

Like many skills, annotating takes practice. Remember that the main goal for doing this is to give you a strategy for reading text that may be more complicated and technical than what you are used to.

  • Revision and Adaptation. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY-NC: Attribution-NonCommercial
  • How to Annotate Text. Provided by : Biology Corner. Located at : . License : CC BY-NC: Attribution-NonCommercial
  • Image of taking notes. Authored by : Security & Defence Agenda. Located at : . License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Table of Contents

Instructor Resources (available upon sign-in)

  • Overview of Instructor Resources
  • Quiz Survey

Reading: Types of Reading Material

  • Introduction to Reading
  • Outcome: Types of Reading Material
  • Characteristics of Texts, Part 1
  • Characteristics of Texts, Part 2
  • Characteristics of Texts, Part 3
  • Characteristics of Texts, Conclusion
  • Self Check: Types of Writing

Reading: Reading Strategies

  • Outcome: Reading Strategies
  • The Rhetorical Situation
  • Academic Reading Strategies
  • Self Check: Reading Strategies

Reading: Specialized Reading Strategies

  • Outcome: Specialized Reading Strategies
  • Online Reading Comprehension
  • How to Read Effectively in Math
  • How to Read Effectively in the Social Sciences
  • How to Read Effectively in the Sciences
  • 5 Step Approach for Reading Charts and Graphs
  • Self Check: Specialized Reading Strategies

Reading: Vocabulary

  • Outcome: Vocabulary
  • Strategies to Improve Your Vocabulary
  • Using Context Clues
  • The Relationship Between Reading and Vocabulary
  • Self Check: Vocabulary

Reading: Thesis

  • Outcome: Thesis
  • Locating and Evaluating Thesis Statements
  • The Organizational Statement
  • Self Check: Thesis

Reading: Supporting Claims

  • Outcome: Supporting Claims
  • Types of Support
  • Supporting Claims
  • Self Check: Supporting Claims

Reading: Logic and Structure

  • Outcome: Logic and Structure
  • Rhetorical Modes
  • Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
  • Diagramming and Evaluating Arguments
  • Logical Fallacies
  • Evaluating Appeals to Ethos, Logos, and Pathos
  • Self Check: Logic and Structure

Reading: Summary Skills

  • Outcome: Summary Skills
  • Paraphrasing
  • Quote Bombs
  • Summary Writing
  • Self Check: Summary Skills
  • Conclusion to Reading

Writing Process: Topic Selection

  • Introduction to Writing Process
  • Outcome: Topic Selection
  • Starting a Paper
  • Choosing and Developing Topics
  • Back to the Future of Topics
  • Developing Your Topic
  • Self Check: Topic Selection

Writing Process: Prewriting

  • Outcome: Prewriting
  • Prewriting Strategies for Diverse Learners
  • Rhetorical Context
  • Working Thesis Statements
  • Self Check: Prewriting

Writing Process: Finding Evidence

  • Outcome: Finding Evidence
  • Using Personal Examples
  • Performing Background Research
  • Listening to Sources, Talking to Sources
  • Self Check: Finding Evidence

Writing Process: Organizing

  • Outcome: Organizing
  • Moving Beyond the Five-Paragraph Theme
  • Introduction to Argument
  • The Three-Story Thesis
  • Organically Structured Arguments
  • Logic and Structure
  • The Perfect Paragraph
  • Introductions and Conclusions
  • Self Check: Organizing

Writing Process: Drafting

  • Outcome: Drafting
  • From Outlining to Drafting
  • Flash Drafts
  • Self Check: Drafting

Writing Process: Revising

  • Outcome: Revising
  • Seeking Input from Others
  • Responding to Input from Others
  • The Art of Re-Seeing
  • Higher Order Concerns
  • Self Check: Revising

Writing Process: Proofreading

  • Outcome: Proofreading
  • Lower Order Concerns
  • Proofreading Advice
  • "Correctness" in Writing
  • The Importance of Spelling
  • Punctuation Concerns
  • Self Check: Proofreading
  • Conclusion to Writing Process

Research Process: Finding Sources

  • Introduction to Research Process
  • Outcome: Finding Sources
  • The Research Process
  • Finding Sources
  • What are Scholarly Articles?
  • Finding Scholarly Articles and Using Databases
  • Database Searching
  • Advanced Search Strategies
  • Preliminary Research Strategies
  • Reading and Using Scholarly Sources
  • Self Check: Finding Sources

Research Process: Source Analysis

  • Outcome: Source Analysis
  • Evaluating Sources
  • CRAAP Analysis
  • Evaluating Websites
  • Synthesizing Sources
  • Self Check: Source Analysis

Research Process: Writing Ethically

  • Outcome: Writing Ethically
  • Academic Integrity
  • Defining Plagiarism
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Using Sources in Your Writing
  • Self Check: Writing Ethically

Research Process: MLA Documentation

  • Introduction to MLA Documentation
  • Outcome: MLA Documentation
  • MLA Document Formatting
  • MLA Works Cited
  • Creating MLA Citations
  • MLA In-Text Citations
  • Self Check: MLA Documentation
  • Conclusion to Research Process

Grammar: Nouns and Pronouns

  • Introduction to Grammar
  • Outcome: Nouns and Pronouns
  • Pronoun Cases and Types
  • Pronoun Antecedents
  • Try It: Nouns and Pronouns
  • Self Check: Nouns and Pronouns

Grammar: Verbs

  • Outcome: Verbs
  • Verb Tenses and Agreement
  • Non-Finite Verbs
  • Complex Verb Tenses
  • Try It: Verbs
  • Self Check: Verbs

Grammar: Other Parts of Speech

  • Outcome: Other Parts of Speech
  • Comparing Adjectives and Adverbs
  • Adjectives and Adverbs
  • Conjunctions
  • Prepositions
  • Try It: Other Parts of Speech
  • Self Check: Other Parts of Speech

Grammar: Punctuation

  • Outcome: Punctuation
  • End Punctuation
  • Hyphens and Dashes
  • Apostrophes and Quotation Marks
  • Brackets, Parentheses, and Ellipses
  • Semicolons and Colons
  • Try It: Punctuation
  • Self Check: Punctuation

Grammar: Sentence Structure

  • Outcome: Sentence Structure
  • Parts of a Sentence
  • Common Sentence Structures
  • Run-on Sentences
  • Sentence Fragments
  • Parallel Structure
  • Try It: Sentence Structure
  • Self Check: Sentence Structure

Grammar: Voice

  • Outcome: Voice
  • Active and Passive Voice
  • Using the Passive Voice
  • Conclusion to Grammar
  • Try It: Voice
  • Self Check: Voice

Success Skills

  • Introduction to Success Skills
  • Habits for Success
  • Critical Thinking
  • Time Management
  • Writing in College
  • Computer-Based Writing
  • Conclusion to Success Skills

What Is an Annotation in Reading, Research, and Linguistics?

 Deux / Getty Images

  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

An annotation is a note, comment, or  concise statement of the key ideas in a text or a portion of a text and is commonly used in reading instruction and in research . In corpus linguistics , an annotation is a coded note or comment that identifies specific linguistic features of a word or sentence.

One of the most common uses of annotations is in essay composition, wherein a student might annotate a larger work he or she is referencing, pulling and compiling a list of quotes to form an argument. Long-form essays and term papers, as a result, often come with an annotated bibliography , which includes a list of references as well as brief summaries of the sources.

There are many ways to annotate a given text, identifying key components of the material by underlining, writing in the margins, listing cause-effect relationships, and noting confusing ideas with question marks beside the statement in the text.

Identifying Key Components of a Text

When conducting research, the process of annotation is almost essential to retaining the knowledge necessary to understand a text's key points and features and can be achieved through a number of means.

Jodi Patrick Holschuh and Lori Price Aultman describe a student's goal for annotating text in "Comprehension Development," wherein the students "are responsible for pulling out not only the main points of the text but also the other key information (e.g., examples and details) that they will need to rehearse for exams."

Holschuh and Aultman go on to describe the many ways a student may isolate key information from a given text, including writing brief summaries in the student's own words, listing out characteristics and cause-and-effect relations in the text, putting key information in graphics and charts, marking possible test questions, and underlining keywords or phrases or putting a question mark next to confusing concepts.

REAP: A Whole-Language Strategy

According to Eanet & Manzo's 1976 "Read-Encode-Annotate-Ponder" strategy for teaching students language and reading comprehension , annotation is a vital part of a students' ability to understand any given text comprehensively.

The process involves the following four steps: Read to discern the intent of the text or the writer's message; Encode the message into a form of self-expression, or write it out in student's own words; Analyze by writing this concept in a note; and Ponder or reflect on the note, either through introspection or discussing with peers.

Anthony V. Manzo and Ula Casale Manzo describe the notion in "Content Area Reading: A Heuristic Approach" as among the earliest strategies developed to stress the use of writing as a means of improving thinking and reading," wherein these annotations "serve as alternative perspectives from which to consider and evaluate information and ideas."

  • 10 Strategies to Increase Student Reading Comprehension
  • What Is a Written Summary?
  • 5 Tips to Improve Reading Comprehension
  • Abstracting & Transcribing Genealogical Documents
  • How to Read a Lot of Dry Text Quickly
  • How to Set Measurable, Achievable IEP Goals for Reading Comprehension
  • How and When to Paraphrase Quotations
  • 7 Active Reading Strategies for Students
  • Thinking About Reading
  • Top Book Recommendations for Boys From Librarians
  • How to Keep a Reading Log or Book Journal
  • How to Find the Stated Main Idea
  • How to Write a Great Book Report
  • Tricks, Tips, and the Benefits of Pre-Reading Text
  • Abstract Writing for Sociology
  • 10 Ways to Maximize Your Study Time

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a critical or explanatory note or body of notes added to a text.

the act of annotating .

note (def. 1) . Abbreviation : annot.

Origin of annotation

Other words from annotation.

  • re·an·no·ta·tion, noun

Words Nearby annotation

  • annona family
  • announcement
  • anno urbis conditae Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use annotation in a sentence

Announced in July, along with new Smart Shopping display ad formats and shipping annotations, the new customer acquisition goal allows marketers to set a separate conversion value on new customers to inform Google’s automated bidding.

They can now go from the simplified viewing and remote collaboration to this bigger file sharing and increased preview mode and annotations.

Ordinary website users do this annotation too, when they complete a reCAPTCHA.

A few early versions of what became the final design, with placeholder data and annotations.

Make an annotation in your analytics noting that organic search reporting should be ignored for that whole time period.

The term Abernaquis, is also a French mode of annotation for the same word, but is rather applied at this time to a specific band.

Modern editors of what they call the "Roman Elegies" bring abundant annotation , and often detail Goethe's own emendations.

Footnote tags that were missing in the original are underlined without further annotation .

In olden times the place was unknown, but can be doubtfully identified with A-nok-ta-shan in the annotation of Shui-ching.

Sippi, agreeably to the early French annotation of the word, signifies a river.

British Dictionary definitions for annotation

/ ( ˌænəʊˈteɪʃən , ˌænə- ) /

the act of annotating

a note added in explanation, etc, esp of some literary work

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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Annotation Tips

Getting started, highlighting.

  • Green for definitions
  • Yellow for the paragraph's main idea
  • Pink for possible exam questions
  • Orange for equations (if it is a math or science)

Writing Questions or Notes

Using symbols.

annotation english grammar definition

Beginners ESL

Reading skills, major exams, writing & vocab.

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Definition of annotation noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  • It will be published with annotations and an index.
  • The new edition is based on previously unpublished manuscripts with full annotation.
  • The software allows annotation of photos for telling stories.

Join our community to access the latest language learning and assessment tips from Oxford University Press!

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    ANNOTATION definition: 1. a short explanation or note added to a text or image, or the act of adding short explanations or…. Learn more.

  5. ANNOTATION definition and meaning

    An annotation is a note that is added to a text or diagram, often in order to explain it. He supplied annotations to nearly 15,000 musical works.

  6. How to Annotate

    An active reading strategy for articles or textbooks is annotation. Think for a moment about what that word means. It means to add notes (an-NOTE-tate) to

  7. Annotate

    English Courses / Literary Analysis: Lesson Plans & Activities Course

  8. Annotations in Reading, Research, and Linguistics

    An annotation is a note, comment, or concise statement of the key ideas in a text or a portion of a text and is commonly used in reading

  9. ANNOTATION Definition & Usage Examples

    annotation · a critical or explanatory note or body of notes added to a text. · the act of annotating.

  10. Annotation Examples Simply Explained

    These notes can be added by the reader or printed by the author or publisher. Another common use of annotations is in an annotated bibliography

  11. Annotation Definition & Meaning

    Grammar · Wordplay · Word Finder · Thesaurus · Join MWU. Shop; Books · Merch. Settings ... Britannica English: Translation of annotation for

  12. Annotation

    Journal of English

  13. Annotation Tips

    Annotation is the systematic marking of a text. It allows you to absorb more information from reading and reviewing in less time.

  14. annotation noun

    Definition of annotation noun in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes