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The following represent the minimum criteria for passing a freshman level college writing course, and the criteria upper division students should already meet. Students who habitually fail to meet them may be required to repeat the earlier composition course.

Those having difficulty with one or more of these items should consult with their instructor who will suggest methods of help, such as exercises from the text, conferences with the instructor, or work with the staff at the The UMD Tutoring Center, Solon Campus Center 40.

  • The Tutoring Center is located in Solon Campus Center 40, by "The Wedge."

  • They offer one-on-one peer tutoring services at no cost to the student.

  • They normally post their operating hours early in the semester, but they are usually open 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. MTWTh, and 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Fridays.

  • For more information phone 726-6428, or stop by Solon Campus Center 40.


I. Mechanics

    The writing must be free of the following errors:

      1. Gross misspelling
      2. Missing, inappropriate, or unnecessary punctuation,including  .  ,  ;  :  ?  "  '
      3. Missing, inappropriate, or unnecessary capitalization

II. Diction

The writer must:

      1. Use words with accuracy and precision
      2. Avoid confusing words as to, its, it's, there, their, they're
      3. Employ concrete, vivid language
      4. Use vocabulary appropriate to purpose, subject, and audience
      5. Avoid clichés
      6. Avoid jargon, or, when it's needed, define it
      7. Avoid sexist language
      8. Unless your aim and purpose is to offend, or to accurately portray legitimate dialogue, avoid generally offensive language

III. Sentence Structure

The writing must be free of the following major sentence faults:

      1. Inappropriate fragments
      2. Run-on sentences, comma splices, fused sentences
      3. Overdependence on a few sentence types
      4. Dangling and misplaced modifiers
      5. Inappropriate verb forms and tenses
      6. Nonagreement of subject and verb, pronoun and antecedent
      7. Nonagreement of cases
      8. Inconsistent point of view
      9. Faulty parallelism
      10. Wordiness
      11. Needless repetition

IV. Organization

The writing must:

      1. Have a carefully limited subject
      2. Have a clearly stated, unifying thesis
      3. Follow the overall strategy assigned by the instructor. If none was specified, the strategy adopted must be logically derived from the thesis and followed consistently throughout
      4. have a consistent tone and point of view
      5. Give emphasis to ideas in keeping with their importance to the thesis
      6. Be comprised of paragraphs, each unified around a topic sentence and free of material irrelevant to it
      7. Link sentences and paragraphs with appropriate transitions

V. Development

The writing must:

Support all claim and generalizations with specific evidence such as facts, examples, or the judgment of authorities. Evidence must be verifiable, ample, and suited to the writer's audience and purpose.

  • be sure to include in your "Works Cited" or "References" (i.e., in your "bibliography")

VI. Citations

The writer must:


KCR/jb 10/07/83
TR 11/02/06
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