Nova A.
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Writing Conventions - Definition, Tips & Examples

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writing conventions

Do you find yourself struggling to ensure that your writing is flawless?

Writing isn't easy for everyone. Neglecting even the minor writing rules like spelling, grammar, or formatting can hurt your grades.

Don't worry, we've got your back. We've put together this writing conventions guide to make sure you can write without any worries. It's here to help you ace your writing, whether it's for school, work, or personal projects.

So, keep reading to polish your writing skills!

On This PageArrow Down

  • 1. What are Writing Conventions?
  • 2. Essential Writing Conventions 2023
  • 3. Writing Conventions For Specific Genres
  • 4. Writing Conventions Checklist

What are Writing Conventions?

Writing conventions are language rules that help readers to understand the text easily. These conventions are basically those elements that can help you make your writing clear and understandable. 

Conventions in writing serve as the basis for readers to understand the message. In middle school, teachers might not be very strict when it comes to writing conventions but later on, this is not the case.

Importance of Writing Conventions

If you're a high school or college student, it's crucial to learn and use these rules.

Writing conventions are essential tools because they ensure your writing communicates effectively. They provide clarity, professionalism, and understanding to your text, making it easier for readers to grasp your ideas. 

Using proper grammar, punctuation, and structure is not just a standard practice for academic and professional writing. It also ensures your writing clearly gets your point across in a logical flow, helping readers better connect with the text.

Essential Writing Conventions 2023

The main academic writing conventions include grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Each serves a different purpose and should be mastered for essay writing or any kind of research paper to be of the best quality. 

Below you can find an explanation of academic writing conventions examples and how they should be used.


Spelling mistakes are a common stumbling block in writing. These errors can make your writing appear less polished and less credible. Here are some of the most common spelling mistakes to watch out for:

  • Their/There/They're: Mixing up these homophones can lead to confusion. "Their" shows possession (e.g., It's their book), "there" indicates a location (e.g., It's over there), and "they're" is a contraction of "they are" (e.g., They're coming).
  • Your/You're: These are often confused. "Your" is possessive (e.g., Your car), while "you're" is a contraction of "you are" (e.g., You're talented).
  • Its/It's: Similar to the previous pair, "its" is possessive (e.g., The cat licked its paw), while "it's" is a contraction of "it is" or "it has" (e.g., It's raining).


Your writing will not make any sense if you have not used proper punctuation. Have a look at the following sentence as an example. 

 "I love cooking my family and my pets."

Not that easy to follow, right? It seems like the person enjoys preparing their family and pets for a meal. Whereas, looking at this punctuated sentence, it makes much more sense:

"I love cooking, my family, and my pets."

Punctuation allows us to read something the way it is meant. Punctuation helps us to know when to stop when to read when to pause, and when to start a new sentence.


Capitalization means that a new sentence starts when something has a proper name or a title. 

The rules for capitalization are straightforward and easy to grasp. These are the contexts where you should capitalize:

  • The first word of a sentence.
  • Proper nouns, which include names of people, places, countries, cities, and specific things.
  • Titles of books, movies, songs, and artistic works.
  • Days of the week and months.
  • Names of holidays.
  • Historical events.
  • Geographical regions.
  • Institutions and organizations.
  • Religions and their followers.
  • Brands and trademarks.
  • Names of languages.
  • Initials and acronyms.
  • The pronoun "I."
  • Court titles and family titles are used as names.


Grammar means how to change the word structure to come up with a coherent and understandable sentence. Keep in mind that speaking and writing are two different things when it comes to grammar. 

You should be consistent in time usage and well versed in the present perfect and past simple. Otherwise, your reader might be unsure about the time frame or sequence of events described.

Here are some key grammar conventions to keep in mind:

  • Subject-verb agreement
  • Tense consistency
  • Proper use of articles (a, an, the)
  • Avoiding sentence fragments
  • Correct use of pronouns
  • Punctuation and sentence structure
  • Avoiding run-on sentences
  • Comma usage
  • Correct use of verb forms
  • Agreement of adjectives and nouns
  • Active voice vs. Passive voice

Writing Conventions For Specific Genres

Different genres have their own set of rules and principles to follow, but there are some common features that all texts share, such as spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Below are some common genres and their conventions for your help. 

Narrative Writing Conventions

A narrative essay is a type of text that tells a story. This might be in the form of a book, movie, or TV show. A story typically has characters, speech, and a clear structure. 

Sometimes people plan their writing using a story mountain structure, which means that their narrative will have a clear introduction, build-up, climax, resolution, and ending. If you are reading a text and see these features, you can be sure that it is a narrative.

Persuasive Writing Conventions

Persuasive essays aim to change the reader's mind to agree with the author's point of view. The way to do this is by having a clear point of view in the introduction and conclusion. The text will also include facts and figures, emotive language, and rhetorical questions.

Letter Writing Conventions

When you are reading a letter, you can look for clues to help you understand what type of text it is. Letters will have an address in the top right-hand corner, as well as a date and a greeting. Letters are usually written in paragraphs, and they will usually finish with a sign-off such as “Yours Sincerely”.  

Script Writing Conventions

Script writing is the process of writing down what happens in a movie, including the movement, actions, expression, and dialogue of the characters.

There are different ways to write a story. When you write for the screen, you need to use a certain formatting style. This is so that your story can be told visually. 

Writing Conventions Checklist

To become a skillful writer, the best approach is to plan ahead and start early. For elementary students, it is important to be aware of some basic writing tips, but for higher education, it is essential to have a good grasp of these writing conventions. 

Here's a final writing convention rubric to ensure your writing maintains quality and room for improvement:

Writing Convention

Checklist Item


Spelling errors eliminated


Subject-verb agreement checked

Tense consistency maintained


Proper nouns and titles capitalized


Correct comma usage

Avoidance of run-on sentences

Sentence Structure

Complete sentences (no fragments)

Clear use of pronouns

Active voice employed (where appropriate)

Clarity and Consistency

Avoidance of ambiguity

Logical flow and organization

Consistent point of view

Formatting and Layout

Proper document structure

Correct font and spacing

Citations and References

Proper citation style (e.g., APA, MLA)

Complete bibliography or works cited page

Overall Quality

Purpose and audience considered

Editing for clarity and conciseness

Writing Conventions Recommendations

Different types of writing have different rules. For example, how you write in a text message differs from how you write an essay. And how you write an essay is different from how you write poetry.

The following are some basic English language writing convention tips that you can use for your help.

  • Do not use fragments in your writing.
  • When mentioning a person's name for the first time, always spell it out in the full form.
  • Consider punctuation marks when writing.
  • Abbreviations should be avoided.
  • Cite your sources correctly.

Now you know what the formal writing conventions in writing are. Keep in mind that the conventions checklist should be the final stage in the editing process. 

When you are done with the writing and revising process and are ready to hand in your essay, you should check your essay for writing conventions. In this way, you can avoid basic writing problems and ensure that your paper is as perfect as it can be. 

However, if you need professional help with various types of writing assignments, you can always reach out to our essay writing service. Our expert writers are qualified and experienced in academic writing, so you can count on them to deliver error-free papers every time.

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Nova A.


Nova A.

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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