Edited Standard Written English - ESWE


These notes are mainly for my Web-based Courses, but can also be adapted for my Lecture-based Courses.
See also my notes on Reading Reports and Essays.
There are also other Pages which describe the standards I use when grading Essays and Reading Reports, and a couple of Pages to show how I would prepare for the Essay on the Life of Abraham, and how I would prepare for and answer a question which asked me to "write an account of the events described in II Chronicles, chapters 34-36"

Some of the material on this Page is taken from "Effective Grading" by Barbara E. Walvoord and Virginia Johnson Anderson, and is an adaptation of Dr. Walvoord's policy for student formal papers.

"The idea is not to hand out a lot of F grades, but to teach students that, to function in the outside world, they will have to master Edited Standard Written English (ESWE) . . ."

Dr. Walvoord explains to her students her policy for the number and types of mistakes which may occur in a finished, final, formal student paper.

I will be using a less rigorous set of criteria, but you should run spell- and grammar-checks before you send your written material to your course. This includes essays, reflection papers, and discussion board posts.
I am doing this not to be mean and crabby, but to encourage you to develop your writing skills and to use them for the rest of your lives.
For help with ESWE I recommend that you use the "Handbook for Writers" by Hacker, available in the ENMU Bookstore.
If in doubt, use the ENMU Writing Lab, or the online form for sending material to the Writiing Lab. This is to check your material for grammar and style - not to write it for you.
On your Essays you may have no more than five departures from ESWE per page, in any combination of the following areas :

  • Verb forms (do not write "I done real good").
  • Verb tense : avoid shifts in verb tenses (do not write "I went to him and I tell him . . .").
  • Agreement of Subject and Verb (do not write "I is a student")
  • Use of the apostrophe s (do not write "Hes gone away.", "Its her's", "Moses's face shone", or "The dog ate it's bone".)
  • Complete sentences : no words omitted or used incorrectly. (Watch out for such things as "He went the store and utilized his money".)
  • Spelling mistakes and typos : go here for a page of common spelling mistakes and misused words.

Give yourself an informal quiz - correct the various mistakes in the examples below, then check here to see how you score.

  1. I done real good. (3 mistakes)
  2. I sended you an e-mail. (1 mistake)
  3. Moses be real mad. (3 mistakes)
  4. Sarah bared a son. (1 mistake)
  5. Abraham bored a son. (1 mistake)
  6. Moses goes to Pharaoh and said "Get lost". (1 mistake)
  7. Abraham and Sarah was very old. (1 mistake)
  8. He would of done better if he'd tried. (1 mistake)
  9. Noah build an alter. (2 mistakes)
  10. The cow licked it's calf. (1 mistake)
  11. Issac got old. (2 mistakes)
  12. God done changed Jacobs name to Isreal. (3 mistakes)
  13. Moses's journey was long. (1 mistake)
  14. i saw a cowboy on a horse smoking a cigarette. (2 mistakes)
  15. Theres mistake in here. (2 mistakes)

To sum up : Essays should be prepared with a word processor and proof-read for typos, spelling, and grammar before they are sent to me. The standards of Edited Standard Written English, ESWE, will be applied to the Essays. Essays which contain many mistakes in grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation may be downgraded by a letter grade.

Copyright © 1999 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved

Dr. Rollinson

Station 19, ENMU
Portales, NM 88130

Last Updated : June 26, 2017

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