Guilford College Writing Manual

This is the official Guilford College Writing Manual. A collaboration between the English Department and the Hege Library.

Specific Expectations of Papers

It's fair to say that professors, like readers in general, assume that high-quality writing will feature achievement in five separate composition-related areas. What these are is suggested by the grid that appears in the top half of the response sheet I return with student papers in English 102 (I use check marks to indicate whether a paper is "strong," "ok," or "needing more work" in each of the five categories):

     PURPOSE: thesis, originality, approach (level of insight)

     CONTENT: invention, details, concrete development, imagery

     ARRANGEMENT: structure, focus, guiding the reader

     STYLE: varied & artful sentences, word choice, clarity, voice, economy

     MECHANICS: spelling, grammar, documentation, proofreading

These five categories should be self-explanatory to anyone who has taken writing courses before coming to Guilford. If any of the areas are weak, the entire paper is compromised. The implications? (1) Revision is vital (it's difficult to make a paper strong in all five categories with a single draft). (2) If you have trouble with one or more of these areas, you need to deal with them directly, either in a writing course, on your own, or with the help of the The Learning Commons.