WRT 120: Effective Writing I

Sections 5 and 80
Fall 2005

Paper Assignment #2:  Commentary

Your second formal paper assignment is the “Writing Commentary” assignment described on 323-24 of Trimbur's The Call to Write.  Review it carefully before beginning.

Here are a few more specifications:

Here are some specific things I'll be looking for on this assignment (in addition to those elements of good writing described in the evaluative standards for revised work in the class):

To get a sense of how commentaries work, you should read some, and plenty are available.  Any newspaper, from The New York Times to The Quad, offers editorials and op-eds pieces that fit the bill (though some may lack the development I am expecting in your commentary).  The Ebscohost resources I mentioned for the Argument Analysis assignment are good places to look for commentaries/editorials.  In addition, the companion website for Trimbur’s book offers a list of websites for publications with opinion pieces.  The Trimbur site also offers a page of links to different perspectives on current news stories.  Another great source for finding and informing yourself about social and legal controversies is the “Justice Talking” website, which archives the NPR radio program.  Looking at recent examples of commentary may not just give you models to work with, but may also provide inspiration.  You may find your topic by coming across a commentary that calls for a response from you.


Note of caution:  I encourage you to do some reading on the topic of your commentary to make your argument an informed one, but do be aware of the requirement that you document your sources anytime you quote or paraphrase.  Do not copy and paste text from a source into your text without putting it in quotation marks!

Please feel welcome to come and speak with me about the assignment at any time (but, of course, the sooner the better!).  Do keep in mind that I will be out of town this Thursday and Friday and next week we have fall break on Monday and Tuesday.  However, I will always respond to email, usually within 24 hours.