In its treatment of subject, the A paper:
- makes an unusually perceptive response to the assignment, teaching the reader something of value
- engages its topic in a comprehensive, original, and probing way
- may display passionate curiosity.
- features thinking characterized by mature complexity and by awareness of the larger significance of ideas (key words here include "implication," "ramification," "interrelationship," "metaphor").
In its organization, the A paper:
- has a fresh, original organizing principle that sparks the entire paper
- has a clear and well supported thesis
- is clearly focused throughout, with all pieces fitting smoothly
- progresses clearly (e.g., logically or intuitively or with cumulative force)
- flows seamlessly by virtue of paragraph unity and unobtrusive transitions
- imparts an overall feeling of wholeness and unusual clarity.
In its content, the A paper:
- brings the main point to life with arresting examples and details
- provides solid, convincing, unbiased evidence
- weaves expert opinion, where required, seamlessly into the writer's own text.
In its style, the A paper:
- features vigorous, concise, graceful language, reflecting nuance and passion
- contains inventive, sometimes memorable word choice
- uses mature, lively, emphatic and varied sentences, clearly linked
- has appropriate, effective rhythm
- compels the reader with its authentic, sure voice
- possesses an appropriate, engaging tone that enhances the writer's purpose
- has strong, effective energy.
In terms of rules and conventions, the A paper:
- shows mastery of most of the grammar and usage conventions of standard American English (i.e., the paper is free of fragments, comma splices, run-ons, errors in agreement, and the like)
- is free of spelling errors
- properly uses the MLA guidelines for bibliography and in-text citation.