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Checklist of General Writing Criteria

 

This checklist reflects what good writers regard as the hallmarks of good academic and expository writing. However, you'll find that different audiences—including professors—value some of these writing qualities more than others. And in some cases, you may decide that your writing goals are different from your professor's. You may, for example, want to write error-free prose because your workplace requires it; your professor may place more emphasis on organization.

  • Does your paper address the assignment? The consultant will need a copy of the assignment to evaluate this question. Because writing consultants are not experts in your subject area, they cannot evaluate the "rightness" or "wrongness" of your answer.
  • Does the paper have a clear thesis statement?
  • Is the paper logically organized?
  • Does it have well-developed paragraphs?
  • Are sentences clear?
  • Is the paper relatively free from errors in punctuation, grammar, mechanics, and usage?
  • Where needed, does the paper correctly use an appropriate documentation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Turabian)?

In addition, your instructor may want your paper to fulfill requirements that are not listed above. (Typically, these are spelled out in the assignment.) If these requirements are writing-related, you may want to ask your consultant whether your paper meets these requirements.