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Glossary of Terminology


A B C D E F H I M N O P R S T V W

A

Analytic scoring

This is a rigorous method of rating a piece of writing, which scores according to a number of separate criteria which are each given an individual score. This helps readers to consider things they might otherwise miss or fail to appreciate.

Appeals to emotion

Writing is constructed to appeal to emotions and/or manipulated them for a given purpose. Is distinct to logical appeal (see appeals to reason/logic).

Appeals to reason/logic

Writing is constructed to appeal to logic, reason and cognitive intelligence. Is distinct to emotional appeal (see appeals to emotion). Common examples include facts, citations and testimonies, cause and effect, problem and solution, inductive and deductive reason.

Audience

In the case of writing, the audience is the (intended) readers of the writing.

Audience awareness

The degree to which the audience is aware of particular information that relates to the story.

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B

Balance

The content, style and tone of writing is arranged such that different information, ideas and concepts are addressed with equality.

Bias

The content, style and tone of writing is knowingly arranged such that different information, ideas and concepts are addressed with unfairness and imbalance, often due to preference, inclination or prejudice.

Body

The main section of a piece of writing, consisting of multiple paragraphs and perhaps multiple sections. Contains the core content of the piece, and includes the most important information such as facts, examples, statistics, evidence, methods etc. to support the ideas and theme of the piece.

Brainstorming

see prewriting.

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C

Conclusion

The ending section of a piece of writing (essay), which highlights and concludes the most important information expressed and realized in the main body and often conforms to the typical paradigms that show at the end of all writing, film etc. - for example, a memorable closing statement.

Context

The setting, background and conditions which create the environment in which something exists or occurs.

Conventions

Otherwise known as writing norms, writing conventions are the 'correct' guidelines to structure and write a piece of writing. Examples of conventions are spelling, grammar, punctuation, paragraphing and Proper nouns. Conventions are subject to the writer's motivation and agenda.

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D

Development

The progression of a piece of work, using evidence, details etc. to develop and deepen the reader's knowledge, insight and understanding. For example, in character development, new aspects of the character's personality etc. are revealed to the reader to develop the reader's understanding, empathy etc. Development commonly makes use of new information, examples, analogies, contrasts and divisions, classifications and processes.

Diction

Writing (or speaking) that is carefully considered, in the interests of effective communication or achieving a desired tone, audience response etc.

Draft

The preliminary version (often the first version) of a piece of writing, which will usually require addition additions, revisions and editing.

Drafting

A beginning stage of writing where the writer commits the ideas from the brainstorming stage into prose.

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E

Editing (proofreading)

The correction of a piece of writing to ensure that spelling, punctuation and grammar are correct, as well as other aspects such as content and flow. See also revising.

Equitable language

Conscientious, fair and rational language.

Expository writing

Writing which explains a concept, process or situation. Usually aimed at clarifying a difficult or complex topic.

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F

Figurative language

Language which makes use of figures of speech (alliteration, assonance...).

Focus

The relevance of information to the primary theme, concept or idea of the piece of writing.

Formulaic writing

A highly structured form of writing which often makes use of templates to organize writing in a pre-described manner.

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H

Holistic scoring

A method of scoring which focuses on 'the bigger picture' rather than the small details such as spelling, organization, diction etc. Marks are given for the overall impression of the piece.

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I

Ideas and content

Content is the main component which forms the writing, which may be evidence, anecdotes, narrative, or almost anything, either taken from other sources or not. Ideas are original thoughts from the writer, and thus cannot be taken from other sources. Both ideas and content are the heart of the writing, so it must be interesting and informative.

Imagery

The creation of visual images in the mind due to language.

Insight

The depth of knowledge, apprehension and intuition of a given thing.

Introduction

The starting section of an essay or piece of writing. Designed to be interesting and to capture the attention of the reader and provide motivation to keep on reading. Formal conventions are followed for formal writing assignments, such as the 'thesis'.

Inventing (invention)

Creation of new ideas and concepts. Used in the first stages of the brainstorming phase of writing, where the writer uses his or her brain to generate ideas. See also shaping (planning).

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M

Mode

A given category of writing, selected according to the aims and purpose of the writer. The Kansas curriculum standards for writing and reading include four main writing modes: persuasive mode, expository mode, narrative mode and technical mode.

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N

Narrative writing

Fictional or non-fictional story writing, centered around events.

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O

Organization

The structure and pattern of a writing assignment. With good and well-thought out organization, writing is easy to understand and convey, clear, meaningful and fulfilling. Content is more efficiently read and easier to assimilate. This helps to ensure that the reader stays interested and engaged.

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P

Pacing

The 'speed' at which the writing is presented by the writer and processed by the reader, manipulated by conventions and figures of speech.

Persuasive writing

Writing that tries to persuade the reader to adopt the point of view of the writer, and/or persuade the reader to take a certain action.

Polishing

A stage near the end of the writing process (comes before final editing and proofing) which improves, fine-tunes and finalizes every aspect of the writing to ensure it is as good as possible. Namely, is organized and structured correctly, meets all relevant criteria, is factually correct, includes all the required information, and is clear and effective.

Presentation copy

Also known as 'final copy', this is the very final version of the writing, ready to be submitted for final grading, publication etc.

Prewriting (brainstorming)

This is a stage which precedes the first draft, where the writer plans, frames ideas, gathers evidence and information, and considers how this information should be structured and organized. See also inventing and shaping.

Prompt

This is a brief explanation of what the writer must do for the writing task. The prompt identifies the major points of the assignment, its purpose, the intended audience etc.

Publishing

This is the public submission of a professional piece of writing, which occurs after the final copy has been produced.

Purpose

The reason for the writing in question. There are 11 major writing purposes - to solve a problem, to evaluate, to persuade, to argue, to inform/educate, to entertain, to explain, to mediate, to describe, to express, to explore. Most pieces of writing have a combination of purposes.

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R

Recursive process

The repetition of planning, drafting and revising to improve the outcome of a piece of writing.

Refutation

The disproving of an opposing argument.

Response

Writing that is conducted after the prompt.

Revising

Checking a piece of writing, and making small changes to structure and content. See also editing.

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S

Scoring rubric

Information which describes the assessment criteria, allowing the writer to understand what it takes to create a good assignment.

Sensory detail

Described details in relation to the senses of tough, taste, smell, sound and sight.

Sentence fluency

The flow, pace, rhythm and verbalization of the writing, controlled by the structure, style and content of the writing. Good sentence fluency provides impact and helps the reader engage, while awkward and clunky sentence fluency gets in the way of the reader's experience. Sentence pace and rhythm should be shaped according to the content.

Sequencing

The order of the writing content. Common examples of sequencing include developmental, hierarchical, chronological, thematic, easy to difficult or part to whole.

Shaping (planning)

Second part of the brainstorming stage, where the writer organizes, develops and solidifies the ideas generated previously. Ideas are often organized according to theme so that they fit into specific writing sections.

Show don't tell

A writing style where description is limited to the things that happen, and not explanations. This style promotes descriptive language and helps the reader to sensualize.

Structure

The assembly and arrangement of content within a piece of writing, from the small scale to the large scale.

Support

Information, evidence, examples or description which is used to back-up arguments, attack arguments, or increase the quality of the work.

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T

Thesis statement

A clear, logical and central statement which explains the central idea to be addressed in the writing. The thesis statement acts as the focal point for the writing, and is often an original idea or theme, or a prelude to the conclusion made in the writing.

Tone

An indirect method of showing opinion, attitude or stance on a certain topic, with use of every literary convention, aspect or figure of speech.

Topic

The subject matter of the piece of writing which the writing is centered upon.

Transitions

The change from one literary construct to another, often aided with the use of a preposition or phrase such as accordingly, afterwards, on the other hand, in contrast, next etc.

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V

Voice

The writer's personality and character identifiable through the words written, often to promote a connection with the reader. This is often done with personal, informal and/or colloquial language and the second person ('Me' and 'You'), providing a sense of individuality.

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W

Word choice

The careful selection of appropriate language to make the writing better and to achieve the desired effect. With good word choice, every aspect of the reader's experience can be enhanced, for example, understanding of a given subject or concept, enjoyment and emotional investment. Effective writing requires a good vocabulary, but even more importantly, knowing which words to choose for what situations and knowing which words have what effects.

Writing process

The many facets of the complicated and highly individual process of writing. This includes every aspect of creating a piece of writing, including conceptualization, planning, prewriting, drafting, revisions, polishing, editing, proofing and publishing.

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