Writing Rules

Many of you in the Developmental English program at UTEP have come directly from high school.  You may have made high grades in your writing courses there, and expect to make high grades here.  However, to do so you will probably have to work much harder than you did in high school. 


(Please learn these simple rules and follow them in all your college-level writing.)



  1. Do not use any form of "you" or "yours" in any assigned writing for this course, unless instructed to do so, or unless you are directly addressing or giving instructions to the reader.

  2. No contractions (don't, isn't, won't, it's, etc.) are allowed on any written assignments for this class, either online, handwritten or computer printed, except in classroom notes, in quotes, or in situations where informal writing is customary such as in texting or e-mail communication.

  3. When referring to a person or people, use "who," not "that." For example, you might write about "a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan," but never write "a soldier that was killed in Afghanistan." Write "people who drink coffee," never "people that drink coffee." If you use "that" for a person, you are calling him or her a thing and disrespecting that person.

Other important rules:

  1. All formal writing assignments outside of class must be computer printed or submitted electronically. Handwritten work is normally acceptable only for first drafts or in-class writing exercises. Work submitted electronically must be in a format compatible with MS Word, such as .doc, .rtf, .htm, .pdf or .txt. Work submitted in .wps, .wpd, .sxf, .tex, or other non-compatible formats will normally NOT BE ACCEPTED. Work turned in on digital storage media (flash memory chips, diskettes, floppies, CD-ROM's, Zip disks, tape, etc.) will not be accepted. If needed, please use our computer lab in Education 314a . The lab is staffed with faculty or trained tutors to provide you with individual assistance. All these services are free of charge. 

  2. Quoting in your papers from text sources is strongly encouraged.  However, quotes should not exceed 400 words. Whenever you quote anything (words or information) from another source in your writing you must put the words in quotation marks, and say where the words or data came from. If you fail to do this, you may be accused of plagiarism (cheating) and may receive penalties up to and including failing the course or worse. You must clearly indicate within the text (by a citation, reference, or other method) where the information or words came from--just listing the sources at the end of the paper in a Works Cited or Bibliography list IS NOT SUFFICIENT!

  3. UTEP has a strict policy against harassment or discrimination, which will be fully enforced in this class. No racist, sexist, homophobic or other discriminatory language is allowed in class, or in any writing assignment, written communication or online posting for this class. No sexually explicit writing is allowed in this class. Never write anything in an assignment that you would not be willing to read out loud in front of the class.

  4. You have academic freedom in this class, which means that, subject to the limitations above, your work in this class will be judged on the quality of your writing, never on the opinions or standpoints that you express.

    O.W. rev 11/2005 rev 1/2017


    For educational purposes only.

Owen M. Williamson - Education Bldg 211E - phone: (915) 747 7625 - fax: (915) 747 5655
The University of Texas at El Paso - 500 W. University Ave. - El Paso, TX 79968
Important Disclaimer

Creative Commons License
Open Courseware | OCW |This work is dedicated to the Public Domain..