This paper identifies and examines the key principles underlying building a state-of-the-art grammatical error correction system. We do this by analyzing the Illinois system that placed first among seventeen teams in the recent CoNLL-2013 shared task on grammatical error correction.

The system focuses on five different types of errors common among non-native English writers. We describe four design principles that are relevant for correcting all of these errors, analyze the system along these dimensions, and show how each of these dimensions contributes to the performance.

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