List of Composition Terms

A student in one of my ENC 1101 courses asked me if there was a list of composition terms she could reference when analyzing course readings.  I told her that, no, I didn’t provide a formal list, but that she could use her class notes, the textbooks, my Essay Rubric, Checklist for Writing Essays, and the comments I’d made on her drafts as starting places to find those terms. 

We can attempt a list of composition terms here in the blog, as a small class project.

Please note that lists can pose problems, though:  they may exclude things, they may be too exhaustive, they may cause us to feel that only these terms on our list can be used to discuss the texts we read, etc. 

Therefore, if you enjoy/need/want lists, here’s a start to one possible list of composition terms.  If you dislike/avoid/feel restricted or overwhelmed by lists, you may stop reading this blog post now.

  1. author’s thesis
  2. organization schme
  3. coherence
  4. introduction strategy
  5. conclusion strategy
  6. word choice (a.k.a. diction)
  7. grammar
  8. mechanics
  9. punctuation
  10. style
  11. examples
  12. method of development
  13. length
  14. transitions
  15. description
  16. dialogue
  17. research
  18. documentation
  19. sentence variety
  20. sentence emphasis
  21. conciseness
  22. writing situation (e.g. narrowed subject, audience, purpose, etc.)
  23. sentence types
  24. sentence structures
  25. parts of speech
  26. document design
  27. conventions of the discipline
  28. parallelism
  29. active verbs
  30. tone
  31. level of formality

If you would like to see other composition terms, strategies, or techniques included on this list, please leave a comment with your suggestion.


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