How To Recognize Good Writing

I use four levels of writing to teach how to recognize good writing. These four have worked well for me over the years, and I find these four styles to be easily recognizable by students. By examining the four styles of writing, you will come away with an understanding of how to write at the “expert” level. By duplicating this style, you will be able to satisfy any audience for which you might want to write.

Let’s begin by looking at the characteristics of these four styles of writing.

The First Style: Untrained or Rookie Writer

To recognize good writing, do you think we could begin with bad writing. All of us recognize when something is poorly written. The content would be full of grammatical errors. If you were to check poor writing with red ink, the page would look as if it had bled all over itself.

A Rookie writer would have little awareness of his purpose for writing. Whenever you begin to write, you should have a purpose for the paper you are writing. Singleness of purpose is critical to your writing well. A rookie writer’s thoughts and ideas jump from one to the next without allowing his real purpose to come through. A rookie writer needs to develop a greater sense of his audience and his purpose. Also, he needs a more insightful approach and to show evidence of voice and tone. See page _____ for a guide on purpose.

Simple Characteristics for Identifying Rookie Writers

    little purpose and awareness of audience

    few interesting ideas and details

    poor organization

    weak, short sentences

    few words

    many surface errors/hard to read/bothers comprehension


An Example of Rookie writing

Note: no mistakes or spelling have been corrected.


Last summer, I had a baby sitting job for my aunt Barb. Her little kid was named Heather she had long blond hair blue eyes, and 3 feet tall.

First I asked how munch was she going to pay me. She said “four-dollars an hour.” I said o.k. But now I wish I hadn’t.

The next morning I went over to Bars she said she was going to be gone for six hours.

At first, Heather was a good kid. But when her mom left, oh boy! Heather stated to cry so loud and wouldn’t stop. I said “heather,” she said “I want my mama!!”

“Heather” I said, “Do you want to play nintendo?” She said, “yes” “O.k. Lets go!”

I put in the game Mario “I don’t like this game,” she said. “What game do you want to play then” I asked? “Ducks Ducks Ducks” she said. “This one” I asked? She said “yes.” It was Duck Tales. She played it for one hour.

I said “Mama will be home soon” and she pulled up. I told her “I quit!” “Why?” she asked “She’s a brat” she told me to go home, and I said “fine bye.”

End of story, Heather

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