Writing TermsWriting Terms

Writing Terms


A-F  |  G-L  |  K-Q  |  R-Z

analysis
: a type of writing that focuses on breaking down a text into its main ideas.

APA: American Psychological Association's citation and format style used primarily in sciences and social sciences.

audience: the readers for whom a writing project is intended (See writing-to-communicate).

bibliography: a formal list of references cited in a writing project (See works cited).

Chicago: a citation and format style sometimes used in humanities and cultural studies.

citation: a reference made to an idea that is not one's own in order to give credit to the original owner of the idea. Specifically, citation styles like MLA, APA, and Chicago are used to make citation format consistent (See APA, MLA, Chicago).

concept map: a diagram used to create and organize content for a writing project at the prewriting stage.

content: the ideas, information and evidence written in a writing project.

drafting: writing multiple versions of a writing project in order to revise content, organization, and style.

editing: suggests a quick look through what has already been written and making minor changes and fixing typos.

ethos: writing/communicating that is modified by the reader's perception of the writer's credibility. The writer/rhetor can attempt to modify their ethos through stating their credibility on a subject or by showing goodwill towards the audience and avoiding over-the-top persuasive appeals. However, ethos is owned by the audience, not the writer/rhetor. Statements regarding credibility and the reliability of the writer's/rhetor's sources are part of ethos. Part of Aristotle's three modes for persuasion.

feedback: verbal or written comments intended to help a writer improve and refine a writing project at the drafting stage.

flow: the result of using transitions between words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs in order to eliminate irregular choppiness.

Formal Standard Grammar: grammar commonly used in school or formal environments. SWE (Standard Written English) uses formal grammar as a rule, with a few exceptions.

free writing: writing continuously, without stopping to analyze or revise content, grammar, or spelling. This technique is used primarily as a prewriting activity aimed toward warming up or seeking possible topics for a writing project.

genre: a categorization of writing types determined by stylistic conventions.

hook: a technique used at the very beginning of an essay that draws a reader's attention. Can be a vivid description, dialogue, a non-rhetorical question, or an interesting fact.

inquiry-based responding: a method of offering writing advice that concentrates on asking questions of the reader that prompts additional thought from the writer.

journaling: a type of prewriting used to log thoughts and/or information on a regular basis.

logos: the purpose for writing/communicating. Through reasoned discourse, the writer/rhetor makes clear to the reader some idea or thought that the writer/rhetor believes is important. Facts and logical appeals are part of logos, as well as a writer's/rhetor's stated purpose for writing. Part of Aristotle's three modes for persuasion.

MLA: the Modern Language Association's citation and format style used primarily in the humanities.

narrative: an essay that focuses on plot. Uses narrative conventions to establish point of view, purpose, audience, and dialogue.

organization: the logical ordering of ideas, information and evidence in a writing project.

pathos: writing/communicating to appeal to the audience. Through emotional or imaginative appeals, the writer/rhetor makes clear to the reader some idea or thought that the writer/rhetor believes is important. Audience-based and emotional appeals are part of pathos. Part of Aristotle's three modes for persuasion.

peer review: the evaluation of a writing project, during the drafting stage, by members of the field for which the writing project is written. In composition courses, peer review is conducted by class members for one another.

plagiarism: the reference to or use of another's ideas, thoughts, or words as one's own work (See citation).

prewriting: writing activities designed to help writers identify the topic, purpose and audience of a writing project (See free-writing, brainstorming, concept map).

product: the final draft of the writing process that is deemed ready for publication.

purpose: the reason for which a body of writing is created in relation to the audience's reason for reading it.

quote: the explicit usage of a brief passage from a source, cited and bound by quotation marks.

revision: revising is a "re-vision" of what has already been written that ends in substantial changes to a draft.

adding: a type of revision. This traditional method of revision simply requires additional details and ideas.

limiting: a type of revision. Limiting focuses on a small slice of what has already been written in a draft in additional detail.

switching: a type of revision. Switching involves telling the same story or reporting the same events as the previous draft, but doing so from a different perspective.

transforming: a type of revision. The writer re-casts his or her draft into a form or genre altogether different from what it has been.


rhetoric: the art of using language to communicate effectively and persuasively.

rhetorical grammar: using grammatical devices to respond effectively and persuasively to a writing/communication situation.

Standard Written English (SWE): the English of formal writing environments, where audience may be very diverse. Conforms to a set of invented rules to make language as generic as possible.

structure: the linear ordering of ideas in a way that is easily comprehended by an audience.

style: the collection of choices made by a writer that represents his/her view of communication and the world. Such choices commonly relate to vocabulary usage, sentence structure, and tone among other characteristics of how a writer addresses his/her audience.

summary: the representation of main points in a larger work as is appropriate to the audience and purpose of one's writing.

synthesis: writing that is based in the discussion of two or more sources.

thesis: a topic.

thesis statement: a concise statement of purpose and topic that guides the reader through a body of writing.

topic: the content material upon which a writing project is focused.

transition: a word or phrase used to connect one idea to another (See flow).

voice: the way one writes to confer a sense of personality and/or persona. Writers develop different voices for different audiences and purposes.

academic voice: a voice that adheres to Standard Written English and conventions that are determined by the academic community for which a piece of writing is developed.

authentic voice: the voice that you innately have as a speaker/ writer, developed through years of practice in communicating in different forms

personal voice: an informal voice that is used in writing genres that are written without an audience beyond the writer

public voice: a voice, informal or formal, that has a real or imagined audience as its target.


works cited: the list of sources for MLA papers less than ten pages in length.


works consulted: any sources used to understand or brainstorm about a writing project but not directly cited within the final product of a writing project.

writer's anxiety/writer's block: the apprehension related to the writing process and/or product. While all writers have some level of apprehension, anxiety can cause "blocks"� in a writers progress toward a product. Freewriting and other brainstorming activities are often used to break through writer's anxiety and writer's block.

writing to communicate: writing crafted for the reader and a distant audience that is based in critical thinking and formal language. This writing has also been revised for clear, analytic thinking and to best portray the writer's knowledge in the reader's system of thinking.

writing to learn: writing crafted for the writer and trusted others that is based in discovery thinking and personal language.

Contact Us

Ms. Laura Padgett
Burton Center Director
Coordinator of Developmental Reading
padgettl@lmc.edu