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List of Writing Rules

September 4, 2011

According to Rose, Writing rules, and strategies does not help the composing process. Also, things like making an outline, or a plan, may not be as helpful as I thought it was.

Some writing rules:

  • Make an outline before you write the first draft (middle school)
  • Never start a sentence with “And” (lower school)
  • Always put two spaces after every period (lower school)
  • Never have a page with less than two lines on it (middle school)
  • Cite everything you didn’t write from your own brain (middle school)
  • Capitalize the first letter of every sentence (lower)
  • The thesis is the most important sentence of your essay (high)
  • Capitalize proper nouns (lower)
  • Write “They are”, instead of “They’re” (middle)
  • Put a “?” at the end of a sentence that is supposed to be a question (lower)
  • if something is exciting put a “!” (lower)
  • be concise (high)
  • in some essays use only past tense, in some use only present tense (high)
  • write out numbers if they require more than two words (just found that out a couple minutes ago)
  • Works cited should be in alphabetical order (middle)
  • Have an outline, rough draft, then a final copy (middle)
  • Don’t use too many adjectives (learned from a reading Dr. Holic provided)
  • Write how you talk! (learned from a reading Dr. Holic provided)
  • Don’t make a “set” that constricts your ability to think ( Rose, learned today)
  • Writing rules can be ignored if it makes more logical sense (today, from Rose)
  • Indent the first sentence of every paragraph
  • Have size and font consistent across the paper
  • Have someone else but yourself proof-read the paper
  • …and the list goes on and on
Whenever I am writing, i never actually pay attention to writing rules.  If I am writing correctly, that simply means that the rules i am following are engraved in my brain.  For example, i never start a sentence with “And”, even though i was told that it is ok.  That particular rule(heuristic) was told to me when i was very young, and it is engraved in my brain, i cannot start a sentence with “And”.  It is very hard for me to write how I talk simply because I am writing, not talking.  This, as well as a bunch of other rules are hard for me to follow.  Never being able to start a sentence with “there is/was/are” is proper english, but sometimes that just seems to flow.  I honestly do not pay attention to writing rules, I just write how i was taught, and I try to write how i talk, even though it can be very difficult at times.  As far as writing rules that are too rigid and stifling, I do not really know many.  I feel like contractions, even though they are not proper, sound better in some instances.  Like I said earlier, I have no problem with writing rules, and i will follow all of them just as long as they don’t make my paper sound bad.

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  1. nholic permalink

    This is a nice discussion, Ryan. I think your mention of the “Don’t start a sentence with And” is something that a lot of students relate to. But at the same time, isn’t this something that prevents you from achieving true “conversational” rhythm in your prose? I do it all the time. And I’m not ashamed, either! The trick is to figure out when it is appropriate (for rhythm’s sake), and when it simply draws attention to itself and hurts your credibility.

    Good work. Just remember to capitalize the personal pronoun “I.” WordPress doesn’t auto-correct that.


    • Sorry, I will try to make sure they are all capitalized. Now that I think about it, you are right, it does prevent true “conversational” rhythm. And i liked the way you used “And” on purpose.

      Ryan Speier

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