What is good writing? This is not an easy question to answer. Many very different kinds of writing are considered “good” and for many different reasons. There is no formula or program for writing well. However, there are certain qualities that most examples of good writing share. The following is a brief description of five qualities of good writing: focus, development, unity, coherence, and correctness. The qualities described here are especially important for academic and expository writing.
FIVE QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITING
FOCUS An essay should have a single clear central idea. Each paragraph should have a clear main point or topic sentence.
DEVELOPMENT Each paragraph should support or expand the central idea of the paper. The idea of each paragraph should be explained and illustrated through examples, details, and descriptions.
UNITY Every paragraph in an essay should be related to the main idea. Each paragraph should stick to its main point.
COHERENCE An essay or paper should be organized logically, flow smoothly, and “stick” together. In other words, everything in the writing should make sense to a reader.
CORRECTNESS A paper should be written in generally correct standard English, with complete sentences, and be relatively error-free.
One additional quality, not part of this list, but nevertheless, very important, is creativity. The best writing carries some of the personality and individuality of its author. Follow the above guidelines, but always work to make your writing uniquely your own.