Appendix 03: Glossary


Stasis that indicates disagreement over possible courses of action.   One might argue, for example, that because global warming is a pressing issue, we should enact cap-and-trade laws. 


American Psychological Association.  Governing research body in psychology and many social sciences.  Publishes the APA Manual of Style. 

Arguing by Cause & Consequence

Argumentative strategy that seeks to establish a logical cause-and-effect relationship.

Arguing by Comparison or Analogy

Argumentative strategy that seeks to establish or validate a comparison or analogy, usually in service of advancing a course of action or perspective.  "Voting for candidate X is like throwing money down the drain . . . "

Arguing by Definition

Argumentative strategy that seeks to a.) establish a category or label and b.) include its subject in or exclude its subject from that category. 

Arguing by Testimony & Authority

Argumentative strategy that uses established sources or respected authorities to solidify its points.


Mode of writing that seeks to persuade its audience of the validity of its point.


The intended hearers / readers of a piece of writing; the audience's values and concerns tailor which tone, language, approach, and techniques the writer should use.

Block Method

Writing plan for a compare-contrast that treats each subject holistically in its own section of the paper.


Method of generating ideas in which the writer lists all relevant ideas pertaining to the subject.

Branching & Clustering

Method of generating ideas that is visual; ideas and related concepts are placed  in a visual plane and linked.


Use of an initial capital letter.  Governed by a number of rules.


Stasis that indicates disagreements over causal relationships or consequences.  One might hold that the cause of phenomenon X (global warming, for example) is human carbon emissions; another might argue that the warming is non-anthropogenic in nature, i.e., not caused by human activity.


Mechanic of formally acknowledging and attributing information taken from a primary or secondary source.   Citation style refers to the particular format that the citation must take to be consistent with the standards in the research discipline.


Part of a sentence consisting of multiple words.

Clause, Dependent

Part of a sentence that cannot stand as its own complete thought; dependent clauses often lack a subject or verb or serve as objects of a preposition.   In the following example:  “When John stubbed his toe, he suffered a hairline fracture,”  “When John stubbed his toe” is the dependent clause because it  contains incomplete information—to make sense of the sentence, the reader must know what happened when John stubbed his toe. 

Clause, Independent

Part of a sentence that can stand as its own complete thought; contains a subject and verb.  In the following example, “When John stubbed his toe, he suffered a hairline fracture,” “he suffered a hairline fracture” is the independent clause because it contains a subject and verb—it can stand as its own sentence. 


A stereotypical saying or expression that has become familiar from overuse.  "He's busy as a bee," or "You win some, you lose some."  In general the use of these expressions is a signifier of amateurish writing and a lack of originality.


Also known as cohesiveness.  The way a piece of writing works together and follows logically.   Paragraphs that stay on topic and have a logical and intuitive structure are said to be coherent.


Punctuation mark that indicates a pause in a sentence.

Comma Splice

Form of run-on sentence that consists of two complete thoughts "spliced" or connected with a comma.

Common Knowledge

Information which is so generally known that (by the the general public or within practitioners of a discipline) that it does not require research or citation. Example:  it is common knowledge that  air is composed of Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Argon, and tiny amounts of other elements.

Common Topics

Set of argumentative strategies, based primarily in logos.   Consists of Arguing by Definition, Arguing by Cause & Consequence, Arguing by Comparison / Analogy, and Arguing by Testimony & Authority.


Mode of writing that focuses on examining features of two (or more) subjects side-by-side.


The act of creating clear, well-crafted, and well-thought-out pieces of writing. 


Final part of a piece of writing; summarizes the contents of the piece and re-establishes exigence.


Word that serves as a “link” between two clauses.

Coordinator of Freshman Writing

Faculty member in charge of Freshman Composition program / instruction.


Mode of writing that seeks to define or describe key terms and concepts for an audience.

Department of Humanities

The academic department in which Freshman Composition courses are taught.   Offices are located on the 5th floor of Grace Jacobs Building.


Mode of expository writing that illustrates features of its subject.


The act of gathering and presenting sufficient details and supporting information for a piece of writing.

Diagnostic Essay

Essay given at the beginning of a semester to gauge a student's existing knowledge.


see Citation

Documented Essay

An essay that makes use of primary and secondary sources and cites those sources properly according to a relevant style guide.


The act of implementing a writing plan; takes phrases and ideas and puts them into sentence and paragraph form.


A rhetorical appeal based on the writer's credibility and likeability.  Consists of "extrinsic" ethos, which is the writer's reputation or the audience's pre-existing knowledge of him / her, and "intrinsic" ethos, which is developed by the way the writer presents her writing, through sound reasoning, respect for differing opinions, and appropriate use of language and tone. 


Mode of writing that establishes a category and discusses examples of that category.


Sense of urgency or importance for a piece of writing; the pressing problem that the writing seeks to solve.   The "so what" of the piece.


Mode of writing focused on informing an audience of the background of a situation or concept.

Fact / Definition

Stasis that indicates disagreements over points of fact (whether something happened, whether something exists, etc.) or over definitions of a phenomenon.

Five-Part Structure

Writing plan that consists of an introduction, three body paragraphs / sections, and a conclusion.

Four Ds

Guideline for composing solid thesis statements:  Discernible, Detailed, Directional, and Defensible. 


Grammatical error in which a sentence lacks either a subject (noun / actor) or  predicate (verb / action).


Method of generating ideas in which the writer writes uninterrupted on the subject for set amount of time.

Freshman Composition I

(ENGL 101) The first part of a two-semester course in writing; designed for first-semester students.  Focuses on basic modes of discourse and best practices in writing.

Freshman Composition II

(ENGL 102) The second part of a two-semester course in writing; designed for second-semester students.  Focuses on academic research.

In-Text Citation

Method used in MLA and other style guides for citing within the text of a paper, the sources from which information is taken.  Standard MLA in-text citation format for a book is the following: (Author Page#).  A real example would look like this:  (Hill 293).


Initial part of a piece of writing; establishes a sense of importance / exigence for the subject and contains the thesis statement.


Shorthand for "Introduce, Quote-Paraphrase-Summarize, Comment, Cite."  Method for using evidence from sources properly.


Stasis that indicates disagreements over jurisdiction / participation in a debate.   Whether a given agent or authority has the right to act, for example, falls under questions of jurisdiction--such as whether a police officer has a right to search a place without a warrant.


A rhetorical appeal that seeks to appeal to the audience's sense of logic and intelligence.  Consists of logical lines of argument, such as Aristotle's "Common Topics"


Method of generating ideas consisting of a series of linked free-writing exercise.


Method of planning a piece of writing, focused on understanding conceptual framework of the piece

Mark Method

Method of proofreading in which the writer puts a mark underneath each word in the draft as she reads it.  Serves to slow down the reader's brain and help their attention to each detail.


The grammatical structure of a piece of writing.


Modern Language Association:  governing body for academic study of language and literature.  Publishes the MLA handbook, which sets standards for research in the discipline.

MLA Citation

Citation  of a primary or secondary source according to the Modern Language Association (MLA) standard.  This consists of the Works Cited entry and the In-Text Citation

MLA Format

Format for academic documents; accepted standard in most U.S. English departments.


Mode of writing that focuses on telling a story.


A person, place, thing, or idea.

Outline, Numbered

Writing plan that is organized with nested sets of numbers and letters.

Outline, Topic Sentence

Writing plan that uses topic sentences as guides to build cohesive paragraphs.


Detailed method of planning a piece of writing,

Paired / Assisted Reading Aloud

Method of proofreading in which a machine or other person reads a paper aloud.


A grouping of several sentences united by a topic sentence.


Concept in which elements in a list are in similar grammatical forms.  Also the use of coordinate structures at various levels of a written document.


The act of rewording a passage (to roughly equal length as the original) to achieve the same meaning in different words.  Must be cited according to the appropriate style guide procedure. 


A rhetorical appeal that makes use of the audience's emotions or self-interest.   A very powerful means of persuasion, but can often be based on irrational feelings, biases, and prejudices.


Writing plan for a compare-contrast that is organized by the feature of the things being compared.

Popular Source

Source that is intended to be consumed / read by a general audience.  Often, these sources are written by journalists and are found in high-circulation publications like magazines and newspapers.


Sampling of work done in a writing course that demonstrates basic mastery over the concepts covered in the class.


The concept that indicates ownership.


a set of practices, including reading, research, note-taking, brainstorming, thinking, and discussion, which prepares the writer for writing an effective preliminary draft.

Primary Source

Sources that are “first” sources, meaning that they are often “closest” to the subject being discussed.  These sources tend to be produced directly by those involved in the event, activity, or controversy.  These sources can be written documents, reports, objects, speeches, images or other forms of media, and they are in many cases unedited and offered without substantial interpretation or analysis. 

Process Analysis

Mode of writing that describes the steps involved in the construction, composition, or operation of its subject.


Word that stands in for a noun.


Small-scale editing, in which the writer seeks to correct any errors in sentence structure, usage, or grammar.

Quality (Stasis)

Stasis that indicates disagreement over the quality of a phenomenon or item, or its value.  There might be disagreement over whether receiving a religious education is a good thing or bad thing for students.  This stasis is often linked both to that of cause and consequence (often positive consequences of an event affect the perception of its value) and of action (i.e., concept X is good so we should do more of Y)


Method of generating ideas in which the writer formulates a list of relevant questions regarding the subject.


The act of using the source’s exact wording in support of a point.   Must be punctuated properly and cited in the appropriate style-guide procedure.

Reading Aloud

Method of proofreading in which the reader reads the piece  aloud and listens for errors.

Re-Lining a Draft

Method of proofreading in which the writer puts each sentence of the paper on its own line.


The act of gathering relevant  information, in the form of primary and secondary sources, about a topic.  Research yields the ability to develop a well-informed and contextualized position on a topic.


The act of "re-visioning" a piece of writing, to ensure that its organization, clarity, selection of evidence, voice, and other "macro" elements are appropriate for the writing task.


One who composes a rhetorical argument.


The discipline of creating and studying persuasion and argument.

Rhetorical Appeals

The three primary categories of persuasive appeals:  Ethos, pathos, logos.

Rhetorical Context

Comprised of rhetor, issue (content) , and audience.


Grammatical error in which a sentence is "fused" to another improperly.

Scholarly Source

Source that is intended to be consumed / read by an expert audience.  Often, these sources are written by scholars / academics and are found in professional journals or academic books.

Secondary Source

Sources that analyze or comment upon primary sources.


Punctuation mark (;) that serves to link independent clauses or separate complex units of a list.  

Sentence Variety

The principle of varying structure of sentences to create pleasing and effective variations of rhythm and emphasis.

Signal Phrase

Phrase that indicates that the writer is using material from a source.  Example: X writer contends that "John was seeking a confrontation when he went to the bank" (Mills 40).    The signal phrase is "X writer contends that . . . "


Informal language used within particular social groups. 

Standard English Grammar

Dialect of English that is most common.  It is the language of the professions, governments, and much of the media.

Stasis / Stases

The main "categories" or "sorting bins" of types of arguments.  The main stases are:  disagreements over fact or definition; disagreements over causality; disagreements over quality or value; disagreements over action; disagreements over jurisdiction

Style Guide

Book developed by a professional or academic association that delineates standards for research in that discipline.   Some style guides that are common in academics today are the MLA Handbook (Modern Language Association; Humanities and Modern Languages), the APA Style Guide (American Psychological Association; Social Sciences, Education, and Health Professions), and Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago; History, Social Sciences, Trade Publications)

Subject-Verb Agreement

The concept that subjects (nouns) and verbs need to agree in number; plural nouns get plural verbs, singular nouns get singular verbs.


The act of condensing and presenting the salient points of a larger document into a shorter format.  Useful for discussing the general points made by an article, chapter, or even a whole book.  Must be cited according to appropriate style-guide standards. 


A model for adapting student writing so that students can make the "moves that matter" to write more effective prose.


Mode of writing that uses external evidence or authority to support its claims.


Main idea of a given work.

Thesis Statement

Concise statement of the main idea of the work's subject and the writer's perspective on that subject.

They Say / I Say

A formula-based writing strategy, popularlized by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, which stresses the conversational nature of all good prose writing.

Three-Part Thesis

Template for a thesis statement that includes a claim and three warrants.  Example: Organic chemistry is hard [claim] because of the [warrant] massive amount of memorization required, [warrant] the density of the concepts involved, and [the difficulty of finding good teachers for the subject]. 

Topic Sentence

First sentence in a paragraph.  Provides the guiding focus of the subsequent sentences and establishes the purpose of the paragraph.  Each detail sentence must relate directly to the topic sentence for a paragraph to be coherent and unified.


Word denoting an action.

Verb Tense

Concept that places the action of a verb at a specific (or general) point in time.


The most slippery concept in writing instruction.   Either a.) what makes a person's writing a unique expression of individual style ("Shante's voice,") or b.) the quality of a writing which gives it the character of effective spoken word, so that the reader hears as well as sees it. 

What is My Intention?

The question that should guide all prose revision practice.

Works Cited

MLA term for Bibliography.  This is a list of all the primary and secondary works referenced in the paper.  

Writer's Block

A term conveying a variety of attitudes and practices which prevent effective drafting of a writing project.

Writing Process, The

Process that many writers use to approach a writing task.  Most times it consists of Generating Ideas, Organizing a Writing Plan, Drafting, Editing / Revising, Proofreading, and Sharing.