Writing Commons offers free access to original, peer-reviewed articles on writing and the writerly life. We are a community of teachers, scholars, and researchers in writing studies. We are passionate about helping students, aspiring writers, and professionals.

Medical personnel dialog with one another in an operating room.


Review theory and research on collaboration.  Learn about the core competencies associated with collaboration in home, school, workplace, and public contexts.

Read more
Conventionally, editing is imagined as the teacher's red pen and markup of documents.


Editing, one of the final steps in the writing process, refers to the process of rereading a text word-by-word, sentence-by-sentence, in order to identify and eliminate errors and problems with the writing style. Editing is crucial to establishing a professional tone in school and workplace contexts. Learn how to edit documents so they meet the needs and expectations of your readers.    

Read more
One sign on Golden Gate Bridge says "Bike Route" while the sign under it says "No Bicycles."

Elements of Style

The Elements of Style refers to linguistic and textual attributes that are highly associated with clarity in writing. Improve the clarity of your writing by learning about  brevity, flow, inclusivity, page/screen design & scannability, simplicity, unity, usability, and visual appeal.

Read more
Evidence & the Writing Process: NASA's model of the big bang & expansion of universe


Evidence is necessary to substantiate claims in workplace & academic writing. Learn to reason with evidence in workplace & academic writing. Review research and scholarship on the uses of evidence. Explore how evidence can help you communicate more clearly and persuasively.

Read more
tiny tin men made from old parts


Genre may reference a type of writing, art, or musical composition; socially-agreed upon expectations about how writers and speakers should respond to particular rhetorical situations; the cultural values; the epistemological assumptions about what constitutes a knowledge claim or authoritative research method; the discourse conventions of a particular discourse community. This article reviews research and theory on 6 different definitions of genre, explains how to engage in genre analysis, and explores when during the writing process authors should consider genre conventions. Develop your genre knowledge so you can discern which genres are appropriate to use—and when you need to remix genres to ensure your communications are both clear and persuasive.    

Read more
These warnings to stay on the footpath to avoid injury are intended to help hikers avoid injury. Likewise grammars are intended to help understand one another. Shared grammars, shared vocabularies, are a prerequisite to communication.


Grammar refers to the rules that inform how people and discourse communities use language (e.g., written or spoken English, body language, or visual language) to communicate. Learn about the rhetorical nature of grammar so you can identify grammatical problems with your writing and the communications of others.

Read more
Information Literacy: Travelers in line at an airport reading signs as they enter another country.

Information Literacy

Information Literacy refers to the competencies associated with locating, evaluating, using, and archiving information. In order to thrive, much less survive in a global information economy — an economy where information functions as a capital good such as money or social influence — you need to be strategic about how you consume and use information.

Read more


Invention may refer to the act of creating something novel, something that has never existed before. Or, invention may refer to solving problems in your day-to-day life. And, in school and work settings, invention may refer to a stage in the writing process. Many people feel they're not inventive--that being inventive is a competency reserved for geniuses. Yet you -- like most everyone else -- have the capacity to be inventive. With practice, sustained effort, and by learning about the invention strategies of others, you can become more inventive, whether your goal is to to develop artifacts, products, services, applications, or texts. This article provides a review of research on definitions of invention and invention processes. Expand your creative repertoire by learning about the invention processes of others.

Read more


Mindset refers to a person or community's way of feeling, thinking, and acting about a topic. The mindsets you hold, consciously or subconsciously, shape how you feel, think, and act--and what you believe is possible. When engaging composing, writing, and drafting, your mindset can be a hindrance or it can be a source of inspiration. This article summarizes different definitions of mindset. It reviews research on the importance of mindset to the writing process.

Read more

MLA Handbook, 9th Edition

Read more


Organization refers to the arrangement of content (e.g., headings/subheadings, parts/sections of a text, ideas, arguments, stories, steps, evidence) into a deliberate order in speech, writing, and visual discourse. Organization refers to a writer or speaker's efforts during composing to interpret and sort information in ways that are most likely to achieve their aims while being responsive to their audience's mindset about the topic. Learn about the organizational patterns that people use to communicate so you can discern the most appropriate way to organize your communications.

Read more

Professional Writing – Style Guide

Learn about the style of writing that characterizes the texts of professional writers in workplace writing contexts. Master the stylistic conventions of professional communities of practice.      

Read more

Publication Manual of the APA: 7th Edition

Read more


Research refers to a systematic investigation carried out to discover new knowledge, expand existing knowledge, solve practical problems, and develop new products, apps, and services. This article explores why different research communities have different ideas about what research is and how to conduct it. Learn about the different epistemological assumptions that undergird informal, qualitative, quantitative, textual, and mixed research methods.

Read more
Revision: pic of a chrysalis transforming into a butterfly


Revision -- the process of revisiting, rethinking, and refining written work to improve its content, clarity and overall effectiveness -- is such an important part of the writing process that experienced writers often say "writing is revision." This article reviews research and theory on what revision is and why it's so important to writers. Case studies, writing protocols, and interviews of writers at work have found that revision is guided by inchoate, preverbal feelings and intuition--what Sondra Perl calls "felt sense"; by reasoning and openness to strategic searching, counterarguments, audience awareness, and critique; and by knowledge of discourse conventions, such as mastery of standard written English, genre, citation, and the stylistic expectations of academic writing or professional writing. Understanding revision processes can help you become a more skilled and confident writer--and thinker.  

Read more
Rhetoric concerns perception, interpretation, and communication

Rhetoric: Exploring Its Definition And Impact On Modern Communication

Rhetoric: it's the secret code you need (1) to write with authority, clarity, and persuasiveness and (2) to interpret--to engage in reasoning, critique, and analysis. Understanding rhetoric equips writers with the power to influence, persuade, and effectively navigate the landscape of communication. By mastering concepts like rhetorical analysis, rhetorical reasoning, rhetorical situation, and rhetorical stance, you will hone your ability to analyze, adapt, and articulate. You'll recognize the importance of context, understand your audience's needs, and strategically position your message. These insights not only shape how you write but also transform your entire communication approach. This article summarizes different perspectives on rhetoric, including Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Modern, Constructionist, and Postmodern Rhetoric, tracing the importance of this concept to both writers and readers.        

Read more


Style, most simply, refers to how you say something as opposed to what you say. The style of your writing matters because audiences are unlikely to read your work or consider it seriously if they dislike its style. This article summarizes multiple definitions of style; explores the role style plays in interpretation, composing, and communication; and presents strategies you can employ to adopt an appropriate style for any rhetorical situation.

Read more

The Ultimate Style Guide for Effective Academic Writing

Academic writing refers to the writing style that researchers, educators, and students use in scholarly publications and school assignments. An academic writing style refers to the semantic and textual features that characterize academic writing and distinguish it from other discourses, such as professional writing, workplace writing, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Learn about the discourse conventions of the academic community so you can write with greater authority, clarity, and persuasiveness (and, in school settings, earn higher grades!).  

Read more

The Writing Process – Research on Composing

The writing process refers to everything you do in order to complete a writing project. Over the last six decades, researchers have studied and theorized about how writers go about their work. They've found that the writing process can be seen in three main ways: (1) a series of steps or stages; (2) a cognitive, problem-solving activity; and (3) a creative, intuitive, organic, dialogic process that writers manage by listening to their inner speech and following their felt sense. Learn about scholarship on the writing process so you can understand how to break through writing blocks and find fluency as a writer, researcher, and thought leader.  

Read more

Writing Studies

Writing studies refers to an interdisciplinary community of scholars and researchers who study writing. Writing studies also refers to a discipline, a subject of study. Students in the U.S. may earn undergraduate degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in writing studies.

Read more

Working Through Revision: Rethink, Revise, Reflect

What is revision? How can it help me improve my writing? Read about what revision is and how to solicit, interpret, and implement feedback that helps you make positive changes to your work.

Read more

You want me to do what to my paper? Interpreting your professors’ feedback

Feedback is one of the major components of effective writing. Professional technical writers may get feedback from clients or members of their target audience before producing a deliverables; creative writers may ask other writers they trust or a sample of their target demographic to provide feedback; and workplace writers may receive feedback from their boss or coworkers before releasing the final version of a draft. What these writers know is that feedback provides an invaluable opportunity to understand the needs and perceptions of their audiences, so it’s important to take that information into account to produce a rhetorically sound final product. The purpose of this article is to walk you through some common comment types, and help you respond effectively to improve your writing.

Read more
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Fake News: An Undergraduate Composition Course

Fake News is a themed undergraduate English composition course. This course aims to help students develop an understanding and practice of Empathetic Information Literacy.

Read more