A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.

Welcome to Writing Commons,

Writing Commons, https://writingcommons.org, helps students improve their writing, critical thinking, and information literacy. Founded in 2008 by Joseph M. Moxley, Writing Commons is a viable alternative to expensive writing textbooks. Faculty may assign Writing Commons for their composition, business, technical, and creative writing courses. We are currently crowdsourcing submissions via an academic, peer-review process (see Contribute).

How much time, if any, do first-year writing instructors spend in class discussing the importance of titles on their students’ papers? Without looking at a mountain of lesson plans or interviewing a plethora of instructors from across the country, it is impossible to know what is and what isn’t commonly taught in first-year composition courses. Admittedly, introductory writing and research classes can vary greatly from institution to institution and even from instructor to instructor within the same department.

As a college librarian, Patricia Knapp worked with many students who were new to academic research and writing. She observed that beginning students often “have a basic misconception of the function” of research: “they look for and expect to find ‘the answer to the question’ instead of evidence to be examined” (as quoted in Kuhlthau, 10).

Research we do on the web and through library databases often leads us to content from newspapers, magazines, and news agencies (such as Reuters and the Associated Press). What all news content has in common is that it connects in some way to something that is in the news.

News content can be roughly divided into the categories of news and opinion. News articles attempt to provide information on a current event, while opinion pieces attempt to persuade readers to adopt a particular position on that event.

As a citizen and a scholar, I use rhetorical analysis to sort out questions about politics and relationships. In everyday life, rhetorical analysis is a valuable tool for understanding and preparing to engage in the world.

I hadn’t thought much about the word “help” until the summer day I strolled along the beach with my boyfriend. A young man on the boardwalk struggled with something—tying a kite maybe? collapsing a stroller?

For many novice academic writers, the decision of whether to use first-person or third-person voice is determined by several factors. First and third-person refers to the point of view the author adopts, where first-person uses the singular and plural pronouns “I,” “we,” “me,” and “us,” as in “I argue that,” and third-person uses “she,” “he,” “it,” or “they.” Often times, academic writers will identify the subject in the third-person, as in “Stone argues that,” or “The researchers suggest.”

Many beginning screenwriters (or even experienced ones, for that matter) have made the mistake of inserting camera instructions in their scripts. At various points, they have included directions to ZOOM IN, ZOOM OUT, ANGLE ON, PAN TO, TRACK, EXTREME CLOSE UP, or TILT, or have even tried to dictate where the camera should be placed. Though there might be some exceptions, directors generally despise this. In fact Ken Russell, in his book Directing Film: From Pitch to Premiere, discusses how he uses his “five-page test”

Parentheses (also called brackets in British English) are a punctuation mark used to contain text that is not part of the main sentence, but that is too important to either leave out entirely or to put in a footnote or an endnote. Since there are many reasons to use parentheses, be sure that the function of parentheses is always made clear to your readers.

In January 2012, I sat in a second-floor classroom that rounded into a castle-like turret: Graves Hall at Hope College. It was my first creative writing class. Outside, snow was falling and inside my peers and I leaned forward in our rolly chairs. Dr. Heather Sellers stood in front of the whiteboard. She put her hands together in a bowl. She extended her arms toward my peers and me. “You’ve got to offer your readers your best whiskey.”

Along with sound and witty advice about how to write well in the workplace, the Third Edition of Business Writing: What Works, What Won’t busts a few myths about social media . . .

MYTH: Social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) have contributed to the erosion of writing skills today—in schools and in the workplace.

How to Use Writing Commons

Welcome to Writing Commons, the open-education home for writers. Writing Commons helps students improve their writing, critical thinking, and information literacy. Founded in 2008 by Joseph M. Moxley, Writing Commons is a viable alternative to expensive writing textbooks. Faculty may assign Writing Commons for their composition, business, STEM/Technical Writing, and creative writing courses.

Writing Commons houses eleven main sections: The Writing Process | Style | Academic Writing | Rhetoric | Information Literacy | Evidence and Documentation | Research Methods and Methodologies | New Media Communication | Professional and Technical Communication | Creative Writing | Reviews

The two best ways to navigate through Writing Commons are using the top menu navigation, called Chapters, or the left-hand navigation menu system.

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