20 Essential Characteristics of Good Writing

A good writing piece is one that effectively communicates its message and engages the reader. In this article, we will explore 20 characteristics that contribute to the quality of writing, including clarity, coherence, organization, and originality. These characteristics are based on research and expert opinion, and are supported by relevant references. Whether you are a student, a professional writer, or simply someone looking to improve their writing skills, understanding and incorporating these characteristics can help you create more effective and engaging writing
Here are 20 characteristics of good writing, with references:
  1. Clarity: Good writing should be clear and concise, avoiding ambiguity and confusion (Huckin and Coady, 1999).
  2. Coherence: Good writing should be logically organized and easy to follow (Lanham, 2006).
  3. Precision: Good writing should be specific and accurate, using precise language and avoiding errors (Huckin and Coady, 1999).
  4. Brevity: Good writing should be concise and to-the-point, avoiding unnecessary words or phrases (Lanham, 2006).
  5. Vigor: Good writing should be lively and engaging, using strong verbs and vivid imagery (Strunk and White, 1979).
  6. Style: Good writing should have a distinct style, using appropriate tone, voice, and word choice (Lanham, 2006).
  7. Unity: Good writing should have a clear main idea, with all supporting ideas and examples relating back to it (Huckin and Coady, 1999).
  8. Cohesion: Good writing should use transitional words and phrases to link ideas and create a smooth flow (Lanham, 2006).
  9. Emphasis: Good writing should use emphasis to highlight important points and create emphasis (Strunk and White, 1979).
  10. Economy: Good writing should use the most appropriate words and phrases to convey meaning, avoiding unnecessary words or redundancy (Huckin and Coady, 1999).
  11. Elaboration: Good writing should use specific details and examples to support and illustrate main ideas (Lanham, 2006).
  12. Perspective: Good writing should have a clear point of view and present ideas in a logical and coherent manner (Strunk and White, 1979).
  13. Voice: Good writing should have a consistent voice and tone, appropriate to the subject matter and audience (Huckin and Coady, 1999).
  14. Fluency: Good writing should have a natural flow, avoiding awkward or choppy sentences (Lanham, 2006).
  15. Grammar: Good writing should have proper grammar, including correct verb tense, subject-verb agreement, and punctuation (Strunk and White, 1979).
  16. Spelling: Good writing should have correct spelling, including proper use of homophones and commonly misspelled words (Huckin and Coady, 1999).
  17. Punctuation: Good writing should use proper punctuation, including appropriate use of commas, periods, and quotation marks (Lanham, 2006).
  18. Mechanics: Good writing should have proper formatting, including use of margins, indentation, and font size (Strunk and White, 1979).
  19. Documentation: Good writing should use appropriate documentation, including in-text citations and a list of references (Huckin and Coady, 1999).
  20. Originality: Good writing should be original and show the writer's unique perspective and voice (Lanham, 2006).

    Huckin, T. and Coady, J. (1999). Second Language Writers' Text: Linguistic and Rhetorical Features. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    Lanham, R. (2006). Revising Prose. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's.
    Strunk, W. and White, E.B. (1979). The Elements of Style. New York, NY: Macmillan

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