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Writing Program at New College


Genre:  Genres are the familiar forms in which writing is organized. A letter is a genre, as is a poem, a personal essay, a proposal, a novel or short story, a memorandum, an editorial, etc. Emails, texts, and tweets  are among the most common electronic genres. Any form that is recognizable as a distinct and common way of organizing writing can be considered a genre. Genres have more or less predictable conventions, that is, rules or patterns of structure and style.  

Often, in the case of an academic assignment or a professional context, writers do not get to choose the genre they will work in. The overall rhetorical situation will dictate that choice. When there are options to choose from, writers need to carefully consider their choice of genre. Particular genres are suited for particular occasions. You wouldn’t write a poem, most likely, when announcing a new policy or procedure in your workplace.. 

Remember also that the rules or "conventions" of genres structure the ways readers interact with text. Readers typically know what to expect from a news story or an academic article. Thinking back to our initial definitions of rhetoric, remember that working carefully with genre conventions is an important way to connect with audiences. 

[READ MORE] What Are You Making? Genre, Format, Structure, etc.

Writing Program